I’m one of those mums who usually cooks one meal for toddler and another for us. It’s not that I think the little guy shouldn’t eat what we do – he often does, and is a fan of random things like blue cheese – it’s more that I find 5pm too early for me to eat and I’m not organised enough to have our evening meal ready by then. Plus, I quite like to bulk cook and freeze so I always know I’ve got something at hand to satisfy a grizzly two-year-old after a busy day playing.
His current favourite is that old staple – meat loaf. Not being a consumer of red meat, I’d never cooked meat loaf before bubs arrived. Now I find myself comparing mince in the supermarket and wondering if I should buy one of those old fashioned contraptions that Mum used to wind onto the bench for mincing her own meat.
The good thing about meatloaf is you can load it full of just about anything, which helps get the veges in. The other good thing is that husbands tend to like it too – very good for those nights when cooking seems just too hard.
Start off by turning your oven to 180C.
Take 500g good quality beef or lamb mince (sometimes I use a combo) and put into a bowl. Then grate what you have at hand – a medium potato or kumara (if using potato, squeeze out the moisture before adding to the bowl) and carrot. I throw in a finely chopped small red onion or shallot, some chopped parsley, grated cheese, a grind of black pepper and a teaspoon of paprika. (If you’re a bit short on meat, you can always use some breadcrumbs or oats to bulk it out.)
Grate some additional cheese and set aside (about 50g or so).
Bake for about 25 minutes then sprinkle with the extra cheese. Bake for another 20-30 minutes.
Take out of the oven and cool a little in the tin before removing. It’s at this point I’ll concede that this is not the most aesthetically appealing thing that will come from your oven. (Actually, the image of the loaf in the tin looked so bad I couldn’t face posting it. Thus the platter.)
From there, chop and serve. You may want to add a salad or veges to accompany it. It is what it is, simple, tasty and not unhealthy. Most importantly, it’s fit for purpose – who am I to fight that?
Go on, for old time’s sake give it a go! You never know, you might even enjoy it.