Elevated Valentine’s Meatloaf
Need an idea for your Valentine’s dinner but no time or money for a dinner out? With a few simple tricks, you can make a Valentine Meatloaf Dinner that will be really special.
I will apologize right now for the bad pictures. Sometimes holding the camera and trying to take pictures and cook at the same time doesn’t work well.
The first thing I did was pull out a couple heart-shaped baking pans. They aren’t just for desserts, you know! Here were a couple of my pans (I also have aluminum, but I’m trying to not use aluminum).
This one would hold 2-3 pounds of meat and make one big meatloaf.
Then I had this:
These are individual ramekins. I got them at Aldi’s last year after Valentine’s Day for half price. I figured they could be used for more than just Valentine’s Day. Mini meatloaves are an awesome use of these Ramekins.
After looking at the both of these, I decided I liked the individual ramekins better. So that’s what I will be using.
First, let’s make the meat mixture.
I bought organic beef/veal mix at Woodman’s. Usually, I buy my ground beef at Aldi’s. But Adi’s didn’t have any organic, grassfed beef when I shopped there the other day. Remember that veal is light in color, even lighter than pork, so this meat will lack color. Woodman’s also had free range eggs on sale today. Then I add seasonings, onion, and 3-4 organic soda crackers. Here is a picture of the ingredients:
I’m only using one pound of meat. That will be three to four servings of meatloaf. I’ll make four servings. You can use whatever recipe you like. I will give you the recipeI used today:
To one pound of meat I added:
1/2 cup diced onion
1 organic, free range, pasture raised egg
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp herb seasoning – I used marjoram
1 small clove garlic, minced
3-4 soda crackers, crumbled (or 1-1/2 to 2 TB dry bread crumbs)
1-2 TB water (filtered is best)
Many people add celery to this. Some add green pepper. Make it your own. This is just my go-to for meatloaf.
Divide into the pre-oiled Ramekins, or in your full-size heart shaped cake pan.
Once your meat is in the mold, press it down tightly so it fills all of the mold.
So your Ramekins will look pretty, wipe the edges with a paper towel. This keeps the little bits of meat and the excess fat from oiling the mold from scorching. Not only does that not look pretty, but it’s hard to get it off the ceramic mold after baking. So, it’s best not to skip this step.
Place your ramekins on a tray. This helps both to move them in and out of the oven easily, but also if the meat is really greasy, the fat doesn’t run over onto your oven floor. I have a couple trays that I use pretty much for just this type of thing. They are OLD and have lots of burnt on grease. It doesn’t matter for this purpose.
I turned on the oven when I started filling the Ramekins. It’s not totally preheated, but that’s ok. Put these in the oven anyway. Bake at 350° for about 15-25 minutes, depending on the size of your molds and the heat of your oven. Mine took about 18 minutes.
Meanwhile… I made the Brussels sprouts. They were on sale – a peck for $2.00. So I grabbed it. I quartered about a pound’s worth and popped them in an oven-safe frying pan. I’m using my cast iron griddle.
Drizzle with a little oil. Most people use olive oil. I use avocado as I’m allergic to olive oil.
Traditionally rosemary is sprinkled over the veggies before roasting. I wouldn’t normally use rosemary when I make beef, but I’m trying to get more rosemary in my diet (good for the brain), AND I had some leftover fresh, so I added it. A sprinkle of sea salt and pepper is all you need to finish this dish. Then pop in the oven with the meatloaf.
While those two are cooking, I’m going to make some mushrooms. I like fried mushrooms. Mushrooms were on sale today when I was at the store. It was NOT a super sale, so I only bought 2#. I probably only need 1/2# for this dinner, but if I’m going to fry mushrooms and onions, I’m going to make extra and pop the rest in the freezer for other purposes. When I make extras, I only salt lightly as I don’t know how much salt other ingredients will bring to the recipe later on. You can always add salt, but you can’t take it away. So, let’s make fried mushrooms.
To my ceramic wok, I melted just over 1/2 stick of butter.
Once melted, I added 2# of sliced mushrooms and some diced onions. I also added a couple shallots. I was able to get 2# for $0.99 a couple weeks ago, so I need to use them up. Sauté on med or med-high.
This will take about 15 minutes to sauté. You will need to stir or flip along the way. About halfway through, add your salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, give your Brussel sprouts a quick stir and check your meat.
Continue to sauté the mushrooms until all the liquid is evaporated and they are cooked through.
Continue to cook the mushrooms to caramelize. Meanwhile, check the meatloaf and remove from the oven. It is ready at any temp above 155°. Mine was at 160.8°.
Allow to rest about 8 minutes to reabsorb some of the moisture. We will pour off any excess fat before serving but if you allow some to reabsorb will give you a moist meatloaf. Pouring off the fat too early will result in dry meat. We don’t want that!!
At this point, I removed from the wok all the mushrooms I won’t be using tonight. I put them on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat. This way they won’t stick. By spreading them out until they are frozen (about 90 minutes), they will be easier to grab only what I need for future recipes.
And for the thickener, I used Cornaby’s Ultra Gel. I like that it doesn’t clump like flour would and the gravy is glossy. I still make a slurry (mix with liquid until dissolved), but I wouldn’t have to. Here’s a picture of the product:
Add the slurry to the mushrooms and stir.
Bring to a boil and cook until thickened.
While that was cooking down, I cut up a few carrots for a side dish. Most people would have potatoes. I didn’t make any. Another time I will show you some really easy, but elegant potatoes.
I pulled the Brussel sprouts out at this point. They are done. I’ll let them rest a minute while I quickly cut up some carrots.
For the carrots, I pulled out my crinkle cutter that I bought from Pampered Chef like 20 years ago. It still looks like new.
For dinner, I made the plates 2 ways: one with mushrooms for mushroom lovers. I decided to leave the meat in the ramekin. It just looked better that way. If you made a bigger meatloaf, you can either plate or place in serving dishes.
I also did one with “onion jam” that I made last fall and canned.
And that’s it! Whew! Start to finish, even taking the pictures was well under an hour. The mushrooms were purchased sliced. If whole, you could slice them earlier in the day. The Brussel sprouts could have also been quartered earlier in the day.
Enjoy your meal and your Valentine’s. Even if you don’t have a “honey” to share your Valentine’s with, I hope you will make something special for yourself. A nice light wine will be a nice addition to this. Although a dessert wine, a nice port would also go well with this.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!