Growing up, Dad used to make a killer meatloaf. I found his recipe, if you can call it that, several years ago. The paper it’s noted on has yellowed over time, and there are a few mustard and ketchup smatterings here and there. The text is Dad’s own script – chunky printing in all caps – which is extra special because there aren’t many documents left with his handwritten word on them. Just this, and a few birthday cards.
Oh, and there aren’t any measurements, just ingredients listed.
The weather was shit last week and I had a serious hankerin’ for spicy comfort food. And while I love Dad’s traditional meatloaf with a side of mashed potatoes and creamed corn, I was in the mood for something, dare I say, healthier?
Off I go to the grocery store with a vague list in my head of what I need to replicate a recipe from one of my classes at Schoolhaus. It’s a turkey meatloaf topped off with chiles en adobo. Of course, when I get to the Mexican aisle, the microscopic spot on the top shelf where the chiles usually are, is completely bare.
While cursing the grocery store under my breath, my mind wandered to Dad’s recipe tucked away in a cookbook at home. For a fleeting moment, I contemplated getting ground beef instead of turkey and making his meatloaf instead. After all, I have everything for it at home.
Or just get McDonald’s. Yeah, let’s just do the drive-thru.
Then I thought to myself “girl, snap out of it! You already have the turkey in the damn basket. Don’t let your ‘hanger’ get the best of you. Who cares if they don’t have that one ingredient. Just figure it out when you get home.”
And so, I left with ground turkey, whole wheat vegetable crackers to make breadcrumbs (and to eat with cheese and pickles at a later date), and pain au chocolat because, balance – amiright?
The thing about meatloaf, is that you can load it up with all sorts of veggies to stretch it further, and to make it more filling. Not only that, but adding veggies with help create a tender and juicy meatloaf, instead of heavy, dry brick of meat. That fateful rainy evening, I chocked my turkey meatloaf to the brim with red bell pepper and green lentils.
In lieu of chiles en adobo, I slathered the top with a zesty tomato based chili sauce, smoky paprika and cumin. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to basic ketchup on meatloaf again. And neither should you! Spicy is the only way to go.
And I’ll tell you what, it’s the best damn meatloaf outside my Dad’s recipe that I’ve ever had. Yes, maybe I’m tootin’ my own horn, but I’m allowed to do that from time to time. After all, this is my blog.