Healthier Meatloaf

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If someone asked me the question ‘do you like meatloaf?’ I truly would not be able to respond yes or no, it’s much more complicated than that. Generally I do not like meatloaf, and by that I mean as it is traditionally prepared. A giant chunk of mushy beef with ketchup only belongs in a burger with bacon and onions in my opinion. James, however, loves meatloaf (coincidentally his first concert ever was musician Meatloaf when he was a pre-teen, but that’s another story).  Oftentimes at restaurants he will order meatloaf if it’s on the menu, but I will only have a taste at most. The reason for my disdain towards traditional meatloaf is simple, I have been spoiled (and accustomed) by my mothers meatloaf, filled with vegetables and flavor. Like most American dishes, my mother took the basic structure and idea of the meal, and made-up what she believed was in it (or what she thought would make it taste good). Having grown up in Guatemala, my parents did not experience American cuisine until they moved to this country when they were in their mid-twenties. Therefore, my own initial exposure to American food came in whatever form my mother adapted it. As a result, I now find myself opting for my mothers version and dismissing most other forms. Luckily, James happily accepted my slightly varied meatloaf and thoroughly enjoys it each time I make it. This version is very low in fat, sodium, and you can add any variety of additional vegetables. I like to pair it with even more vegetables on the side (here I roasted squash), but you can make mashed potatoes or rice if you’re looking for something different.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 lb lean ground beef

3 cups collard greens (that is what I happened to have this time, I also like to use spinach, kale, and chard)

1/2 cup diced white onion

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 large bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 egg

1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon pepper

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INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat oven to 350F. In a saucepan, saute onions and garlic with heated olive oil until onions are translucent. In a bowl mix salt, pepper, egg, and ground beef. Chop greens into small pieces and add to ground beef along with onions, garlic, bell pepper, and bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly.

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Place mixture into a glass bread pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until meat is cooked through but still moist and juicy.

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Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with your favorite meatloaf side dish and enjoy.

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