What comes to your mind when you hear someone talk about meatloaf? For a long time the image of a frazzled looking cafeteria lady plopping a loaf of molded meat on my tray kept popping up in my weird mind. So I steered clear of it for the longest time, until I made the Better Homes and Gardens recipe one day that I was feeling brave. I felt so silly afterwards, it was delicious! Such a shame it has such an unappealing name and stigma (to me anyways..).

Since meatloaf is a big hit in my family, I have experimented with it over the years. I’ve made it like my grandma would make it, I’ve tried different recipes, and I’ve tried to figure out how to make it healthier. Taking a little from here, a little from there, I came up with something both my family is pleased with taste-wise and I am pleased with nutritionally. And no, it’s not turkey loaf. While I have nothing against turkey, my family prefers their loaf of meat in the form of beef.

So if you like beef meatloaf too, and are looking for a way to make it a little healthier, try this out. I skipped traditional breadcrumbs because unfortunately the ones in the store have a pretty scary ingredient list. Panko crumbs do much better. Beef still can be part of a healthy diet if you choose lean and eat it in moderation. It’s great for preventing iron-deficiency anemia that is common in women of childbearing years and children, and of course, it is an excellent source of protein. It also has zucchini snuck in there, great for trying to sneak more vegetables into your loved ones. Last, I cut down the sugar in the sauce found in many recipe books. It was still enjoyable and a sweet compliment. 

‘Mazing Meatloaf                                                                                                Serves about 6



Can’t have meatloaf without some homemade mashed potatoes. Just remember, 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes = 1 serving

1/2 cup onion, diced
2/3 cup Panko Japanese bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup zucchini, grated and chopped in small pieces
1 egg, beaten
2 lbs lean ground beef (I used 96% lean)

Sauce (optional) :
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried mustard

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Take off your rings and mush it all up with your hands, until it is mixed well.
3) Pat meat mixture into a greased loaf pan (I used cooking spray).
4) Wash your hands well and make sure you get your rings back on.
5) Bake in preheated oven for 1 1/4 hours. In the meantime
, combine ingredients for sauce in a small bowl, mix well.
6) Remove from oven, drain off excess grease.
7) Pour sauce over top if desired, then bake an additional 10 minutes
8) Check internal temperature with a cooking thermometer, should be 165 degrees or higher when it is truly done.

Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you! Also, check out www.food4success.com for more information on my nutritional counseling and education services if you live in the area!