Any Kitchen Will Do

Give me a kitchen and I will cook.

Veggie Meatloaf


veggie meatloaf

For the most part I don’t have to hide veggies in food to get Little B to eat them. She goes after most of them with a vengeance or by way of an earnest request. Like her all time favorite snack, frozen broccoli “trees”. Yep. Straight out of the freezer. They started out as something to gnaw on when she was teething, but survived as a favorite long after. We try to offer her vegetables every chance we get, even in restaurants, in spite of the restaurants efforts to fill her otherwise. The kid menus at most places include breaded chicken tenders, pasta, sad little mini burgers or a hot dog. Besides being loaded with carbs and often deep fried, such offerings have little nutritional value or variety to expand little palates. More often than not we end up ordering soup or a side of vegetables for her from the non-kid menu. She dives right in. A few times I have tried to order the kid food, but she finds the food as unappealing as I do. It is refreshing to go to a restaurant and actually see smaller versions of the food offered on the rest of the menu, like 1/4 rack of ribs at a barbeque joint, or a kid size version of seafood at a seafood joint. What a concept! I rant because our travels recently have taken us to new restaurants in new places, and I am reminded that sometimes it is not easy to keep Little B eating our version of healthy away from home. This recipe actually stemmed from my desire to use up the vegetable odds and ends in the fridge. It worked very well, held together like meatloaf tends to not want to do. On top of it all Little B ate it up in spite of not being one of her favorite veggies – frozen broccoli, green beans or squash.

Veggie Meatloaf

1 ½ pounds ground beef
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 stalks celery
1 carrot (or 1 ½ cups mini carrots)
1 small yellow onion
2 cups fresh spinach
4 cloves garlic
3 eggs
½ cup fresh parsley
1 Tbsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

In a blender or food processor add tomato paste, celery, carrot, onion, spinach, garlic, eggs, thyme, cumin, salt, pepper and paprika. Pulse until vegetables are very small pieces and herbs are combined. In large bowl combine beef and vegetable mixture. With your bare hands mix meat and vegetables until all the meat is coated and the vegetables are combined with the meat. Press mixture into rectangular bread pan. Bake at 350 for 45 – 55 minutes, until cooked through. Sprinkle top of loaf with cheese and place in hot oven with heat off for five to ten minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let rest for about five minutes. Slice in pan, arrange on serving tray and serve.

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