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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grilled Zucchini Meatloaf

I'm taking a page from the South Beach cookbooks and using oatmeal as a binder in this meatloaf.  The old-fashioned oatmeal (not quick or instant) will absorb more liquid in the meatloaf, and you'll need less and get more fiber.  All good things for reducing glycemic impact.  In fact, the recipe is so low-carb, I feel at liberty to use a shmear of jalapeno jelly on top as a glaze, but feel free to skip the extra carbs/calories if you desire.

I'm experimenting with cooking this puppy on the grill (ETA: experiment was SUCCESSFUL!!), cuz it's that time of year, it keeps the kitchen cool and everything is better with a little smoky grill flavor (and I love hearing my 3yo say, "Looklooklook, Daddy cooking dinner OUTSIDE!").  I threw foil-wrapped potatoes on the grill at the same time as the meatloaf, and put sliced zucchini directly over the coals for the last 10 minutes of cooking for a complete grill meal.

This makes a LOT of meatloaf, so freeze extras ahead, cook for a crowd, give them as gifts, whatever.  With only egg in play, it's hard to scale down.  But if you REALLY wanted to, you could use 1 tbsp + 1 tsp of liquid egg substitute per loaf, or use 1 whole egg but add some more oatmeal to compensate for the extra liquid.

Frozen wine and tomato paste
I dip into my freezer stash for the tomato paste and red wine.  I freeze extra wine in ice cube trays, and leftover tomato paste in a small ziptop bag.  That way, I can cook with small amounts (as called for below) without having to crack a whole new bottle or can.

Grilled Zucchini Meatloaf
Makes 3 loaves (6 servings each)

1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 1/2 lbs. ground beef (80/20 or ground round)
1 lb. ground turkey (93/7 or extra lean)
1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 egg
6 tbsp jalapeno jelly (optional)

Whisk tomato paste into red wine until dissolved (you may need to zap the mixture in the microwave for a few seconds to help the process).  Mix meats, zucchini, spices and wine-tomato mixture well.  Mix in the oatmeal and egg.  Divide mixture into thirds and press each third into a loaf pan (use disposable aluminum pans if you plan to grill over charcoal).  Heat jalapeno jelly for 30 seconds in microwave, then brush on the tops of the meatloaves.  Fridge or freeze, wrapped tightly.

To cook, thaw.  Heat grill for indirect cooking (with charcoal off to the sides or with gas burners turned off in the middle of the grill).  Soak some wood chips beforehand to throw on the charcoal if you want some extra smokiness.  You want to get the temperature to around 325-350F if you have a grill thermometer, or "medium-hot" (you can hold your hand for 3 seconds over the flame before it feels hot). 

Put the meatloaf (and potatoes) on the side without coals or a lit burner underneath.  Cook for about an hour, maybe a little longer since grills will lose heat, until meatloaf is 160F.  (If baking in the oven, an hour at 350F should do ya).  One layer of charcoal (35-40 briquettes) should last about an hour.  You can heat more briquettes if you need to cook much longer than an hour, or finish the meatloaf in the oven if needed.

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