Whenever my freezer looks this bare I normally head straight to Costco and my local Co-op grocery store to restock, but not today. Today I am beginning a personal challenge, to see how long I can go with what I have on hand in my kitchen. Tonight I made meatloaf. Remember when meatloaf was what was for dinner when Mom needed to clean out the fridge? Tonight I gave it a try and it was fabulous! Now remember to use what you have on hand so if you don't have one of my ingredients try something else. Be creative....it's meatloaf after all.
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef/turkey/chicken
1 cup TVP
(ok I know I may need to elaborate here. Textured Vegetable Protein is made from soy and I buy it at a health food store. I know many vegetarians are going to scoff me for using this but it's really quite wonderful when mixed with meat. Just one cup will almost double the amount of meat you have. And it's like tofu in the sense that it takes on whatever flavor it's with. Plus it looks like ground meat so no one will know it's even in there. Trust me give it a try.)
1 2-ounce envelope of onion or vegetable soup mix
(If you don't have either try mixing up your own batch with a few bouillon cubes and garlic powder and some dried onion flakes)
Black pepper and salt, to your liking
1 cup of shredded cheese (any kind will do)
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or a many shakes of the dried stuff
1 1/2 cups of dried breadcrumbs
(this is where real creative kitchen skills will flourish, I always use the end of a bag of cereal. You know what I'm talking about, no one eats the last cup because no one wants all those crumbs in their cereal. Other ideas: stale crackers, the end of the bag of goldfish crackers, chips. The possibilities are endless! Just make sure you crunch whatever it is you are using so that the pieces are really small.)
1/3 cup of water
random add ins: this is where you will scour your fridge and see what is lurking around ready to go bad. I found an almost empty salsa jar, 1 teaspoon of ground flax seed, 1/2 empty jar of baby food spinach, a very small amount of peas that wouldn't even constitute as a serving.
Optional Toppings: barbeque sauce, enchilada sauce, ketchup mixed with a bit of spicy brown mustard.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine everything except the water. Add the water slowly...mix while you add small amounts because if you are using liquid type add ins like baby food you will need less water.
Transfer the meat mixture to a baking dish and form it into a 9 inch loaf. Bake until cooked through, about 40 mins. If using a topping remove the meatloaf after 25 mins and pour the sauce over the top. Return to the oven for about 15 mins more.