The most important thing you can do to restore a broken metabolism is dramatically limit your sugar consumption.

The second most important thing you can do is increase your consumption of quality animal protein and animal fat.  While this post contains a recipe, it’s about more than how to make meatloaf.  Making meatloaf isn’t very hard.

What is hard is keeping meat available for quick consumption.  The problem with deciding to eat a lot more meat is that you must precede that decision with a resolve to cook more meat.  Grabbing hunks of raw burger from the fridge may have a desirable effect of appetite suppression, but I don’t recommend it for general health.

The best way to eat more meat is to buy more meat.  The cheapest way to buy more meat is to do it by the animal.  I have four freezers in my garage.  Yes, four.  This  year we’ve taken down a whole cow (1000 lbs), 2 pigs, and about 50 lbs of wild salmon.  That meat plus some U-pick berries fills our freezer capacity while leaving a little room for a Costco run.

Beware.  Once you start buying meat by the animal–especially when you start valuing knowing something about how that animal was raised–you will find yourself very resistant to buying commercially raised meats.  This is very good for your long-term health, but meat quality is a subject for another post.

I have a 7 cu ft chest freezer that I use solely for ground beef and pork.  It’s about all a chest freezer is good for.  If you are going to buy your first freezer, don’t buy a chest freezer.  They are very cumbersome unless you have a lot of one particular thing to store, like logs of beef and pork.

If your freezer looks like this, you will enjoy this post.

Now that you have a freezer full of meat, you need to know what to do with it.  When you take down a whole cow, you end up with maybe a hundred or more of those 2 lbs logs of beef.  It is very easy to get tired of ground beef, especially in the winter when you don’t fee like firing up the grill.

The answer is meatloaf.  You can make a lot of it at one time.  It stores pretty well.  It is a meal all buy itself.  There are virtually unlimited modifications you can make to minimize boredom.  It reheats easily and tastily in the microwave.

Unfortunately, many people think of meatloaf as that thing you ate when you were a kid and your friend invited you over to their trailer for dinner.  And if there wasn’t enough enough ketchup in the meatloaf, there was always abundant sugary tomato pornography to slather on top of the meat/corn flake monstrosity.  Some poor souls can only think of this.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, I believe that meat loaf can be quite a game-changer for the low-sugar dieter.

Today we redeem the mighty loaf with this recipe for Mexican meatloaf.  It has basically zero sugar and very few carbs.  Topped with a generous dollop of sour cream, it’s a perfectly quick “leftovers-for-lunch” meal that will keep you satisfied until dinner.

Most of the ingredients are things you probably have in the fridge and cabinet already.

You’ll notice that I buy spices in bulk.  I buy cumin, chili powder, and onion powder online by the bag and dump the bags into these drink mix containers.  These spices pack a lot of flavor.  When you take the sugar out of your diet, you start to find other ways to make food  more palatable.  Spices accomplish this wonderfully.

I have a mix of 2 lbs of beef and 2 lbs of ground pork.  You could probably do fine with just beef, but I really like the taste of my pigs so I went with the mix.

You’ll put all the meat into your mixer bowl along with 4-5 eggs.

I like to put all my spices into a little bowl and then mix them together prior to dumping them into the meat.  It may be a bit OCD to do this, but the onion powder is pretty fine and tends to clump together.  I don’t want to eat a bite full of onion powder.  Nor do I want to eat even one bite with insufficient onion powder.

Could we press fresh garlic into the mix?  Sure.  Could we dice a red onion and use that in lieu of powdered and dried onion?  Of course we could.  It may even be better.  But sometimes “good enough” is good enough and we do need to remember that we are making meat loaf here.  We’ll spend extra time later where it really matters.

Dump in the spice mix while the meat and eggs are mixing.

Now find some salsa.  It’s going to need to be chunky.  Or some of it should be.  I would have used only this pico de gallo from Costco, but it’s so good that my wife had used some for nachos the day before so I had to use some of this salsa verde too.  I didn’t measure the amount but it was probably about 2 cups.  Just make sure you don’t add too much liquid to the mix.  Stick to the chunky kinds.  When I do this with just the pico I use two cups with the juice strained out.

Now comes the starch.  Does meatloaf even need starch?  I don’t know honestly.  It seems to me that if you have eggs in there you could probably get away with no starch.  I’ve heard before that the starch is about stretching the meat; feeding more people with less money.  While I’m all for frugality, I’d rather see my family filled up with quality proteins and fats than cheap starches.  If we’re going to use a filler, let’s at least get something out of it.    I’ve used oatmeal before.  You can’t taste it or see it.  I’ve used shredded potatoes.  Might as well have been oatmeal.   Not what I’m looking for at all.

I’m hesitant to forgo the starch because I want to soak up all these quality fats from pastured animals, but I would prefer something that enhances the flavor of the recipe.  It was this line of thinking that brought me to what became my favorite part of this meatloaf.

Corn tortillas.  They stay mold-free in your fridge for a long time.  They are relatively low carb. They are cheaper than ramen.  They add great flavor and texture to this recipe.  I cut up 10 into dime-sized pieces and threw them into the mix.

See how cool they look in the finished product?  It’s like meatloaf enchilada, but way easier.  And meatier.

I also had some cilantro so I chopped up a bunch and threw that in.  I can’t imagine a scenario where that’s not gonna improve the flavor of the meatloaf.  I would consider it optional though.

So now I’ve got a mixer bowl full of raw meatloaf.

Time to get out your meatloaf pans.

Oh, you don’t have a meatloaf pan?  You should have one.  I picked these up at BBB.  I like this design because of the way the insert lifts out.   Since there is nothing on either side of the insert, you can easily push the meat loaf onto a serving plate.  The sides also tend to form a much better crust in this type of pan.  The main purpose of these pans is that the fat is supposed to drain into the bottom.  Don’t worry, not all the tasty, nutritious fat drains to the bottom.  A bunch of it is absorbed by your starch.  However, the loaf cooks way better when this fat is allowed to separate.   Once you use a pan like this to cook meatloaf, you’ll not only want to cook more meatloaf in the future, but you’ll wonder why you waited until now to get a pan like this.  Remember, meatloaf is part of how you’re going to solve the “I want to eat more meat” problem so it makes sense to have the right tool in your kitchen for this job.

Dump the meatloaf into the pans.  This recipe should just about fill two pans.  You can eat both of them.  Or this is a great way to bring a meal to someone who just had a baby.  Just wrap it in foil after you cook it and they can reheat it in the oven.  The pan insert allows you to easily transfer the loaf to foil without having to destroy the loaf by scooping it out.  Yes, you need to get these pans.

Not quite done yet.  They would be fine just like this.  But let’s make them irresistible.  There’s enough room left in those pans for a topping.  Can anyone think of a good topping for a Mexican dish?

I can.

How about sharp cheddar cheese, green onions, and sliced jalapeños?  This way the hotness stays on top so the kids can easily pick them off.  If your kids do this, it’s a double bonus because you get to take their cheese-encrusted jalapeños onto your plate and pretend you are doing them a favor.   I love it when a plan comes together.

You’ll want to cover them with foil while you bake them.  Unless you want to scrape all the cheesy jalapeño goodness off the foil, you’ll be smart and “tent” the foil.  Don’t ask me how I know this.

After an hour or so, remove the foil and cook for another few minutes to let the cheese get good and crispy.  I like to place them under the broiler for a few minutes and let the cheese get nice and crispy.

Not much beats broiled, crunchy sharp cheddar cheese.  You’ll want to top these with sour cream and maybe a few more green onions on top of that.  If I were a dedicated food blogger I’d have a picture of the final dish but I can’t be bothered for such niceties.

 

Here is the part you print off and stick in your recipe book.

 

Mike’s Mexican Meatloaf

2 lbs ground beef

2 lbs ground pork

2 tbs cumin, chili powder, onion powder, dried onion, garlic powder (pro tip: only one spoon needed)

4-5 eggs

2 cups pico de gallo (drained)

10 corn tortillas, cut into dime-sized pieces

shredded cheese

sliced jalapeños

Mix everything but cheese and jalapeños in a mixer.  Scoop into special meatloaf pans.  Top with cheese and jalapeños.  Cover with foil.

Cook for an hour at 350. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes.

 

5 Responses to Meatloaf Mastery

  1. elizabeth says:

    This looks great (except I’d have to skip the jalapenos!)! Thanks for sharing! I had been eagerly awaiting your next post!

    Love your blog!

  2. midori says:

    Yum! I can tell you like Mexican food? ;) I never thought of making meatloaf this way. I’ll have to give this one a try…although it looks fantastic with the cheese (and makes me miss it so much more) I’ll have to make it without. :( Thanks for sharing!

  3. Teri M. says:

    This looks good and I can totally do a huge batch and freeze some for later meals.

    I found your blog this morning via Facebook – Nick was talking about you at Crossfit last night (all good) and I wanted to find your blog as I love following fellow locals, especially crossfit loving, paleo following friends of the Rensinks (I worked with Stacy at Premier for years).

    I just started Crossfit. I’m doing the X Camp 3 nights a week. My husband Mickey has been going since January. I want to lose about 15 lbs…and it has been very difficult. I need to cut sugar….definitely my weakness.

    Love the blog! I couldn’t subscribe via RSS – I just got a bunch of code on a web page??

    • Mike says:

      Hey Teri, I remember you. Didn’t we do a survivor party or something? Not sure why the RSS feed wouldn’t work. I’m not too good at the technical stuff.

  4. Not sure why it took me so long to read this but I know my hubby would love this. I’m going to have to make this really soon. Great post! Oh, and I have to get one of those pans also. Maybe two.

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