Life-changing meatloaf with sweet butternut squash

Ok, maybe it won’t change your life, but it WILL change the way you think about meatloaf…

This recipe is derived from the Food Network’s Mix and Match Meatloaf, http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/mix-and-match-meatloaf.html.

I love this recipe because it’s incredibly flexible. I made two meatloaves today, using these of the optional ingredients in both:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 c. crushed crackers (put them in a zipper-style bag and hit them with a rolling pin)
  • 1 c. frozen, chopped roasted red peppers/shredded zucchini, drained
  • 1/2 c. prunes (don’t be scared, DO IT!)

For the vegetable choice, I used 1 c. chopped, frozen red pepper in one and 1 c. shredded and squeeze-dried zucchini in the other. I did find the zucchini recipe to be too wet, even though I squeezed it dry. I likely wouldn’t use the zucchini again.

I used 1/4 of a large onion in each, chopped vs. grated (my eyes can’t take it), and chose the classic glaze for the zucchini recipe, and the garlic herb for the red pepper recipe.

Here it is visually:

Crush buttery crackers for your binder – my favorite!

Squeezing the zucchini dry.

image3

It’s handy to put the ingredients for each meatloaf in a quart-size mason jar to reduce mess and add all mix ins to the ground beef.

Shape the loaf!

image4

Mix the glaze while your meatloaf cooks half way, pull the meatloaf out, then spread the glaze on the meatloaf with a pastry brush – use it all, it’s delicious!

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Here’s the end product. The ketchup is a little crispy around the edges, but it’s truly not burned! You can shape your loaf any way you want. You could even try a heart when cooking for those you love!

I paired this with roasted butternut squash, baked at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes:

  • 1 butternut squash, cubed
  • drizzle olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp. dried cranberries
  • a small amount of rosemary – about 1 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dry
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