Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thai Meatloaf

Sorry peeps - not feeling super creative with the title tonight. Our very busy but very excellent weekend has left me a little worn down.

Anywho, tonight was a big night of firsts in our house - the baby ate a mushed up banana (i.e., real food) for the first time, and I cooked with ground pork for the first time. Frankly, I didn't even know this existed. And, since this recipe comes from Clean Eating magazine, I assume it is not the world's nastiest ingredient.

Thai Meatloaf with Crispy-Baked Noodles
Source: Clean Eating, March 2011

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 whole-wheat pita (7-inches in diameter) (skip - see note below)
  • 4 oz whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (used refrigerated minced garlic)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3/4 lb lean ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 10 stems fresh cilantro, minced, plus more for garnish (um, no. Used some from a bottle)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into thin circles
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and sliced into thin circles
  • Lightly mist a 9x5 glass loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. Cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside. Adjust oven racks so there is a bout 4 inches of space between top and bottom racks. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Rip pita into bite-sized pieces and place them into the bowl of a food processor. Process for about one minute or until pita pieces have become medium-fine bread crumbs. Set aside. NOTE: I have a food processor I don't know how to use (don't judge - I am going to figure it out someday). Therefore, I substituted 1 c. matzo meal (no-sodium breadcrumb-like deal) for this ingredient.
  • Prepare spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well and toss with 1 tsp oil. Lay pasta out onto prepared baking sheet , spreading individual noodles out as much as possible so there are no noodle nests or lumps. Set aside.
  • Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick pan on medium heat for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, yellow onion, pork, egg, ginger, soy sauce, 2 tbsp water and cilantro; mix well. Add 1 c. reserved bread crumbs and mix again. Gently fold in mushrooms. Mold mixture into the shape of the loaf pan, then place in pan.
  • Place loaf on top rack and baking sheet with noodles on lower rack of oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of meatloaf comes out clean and meat feels firm when pressed; do not overbake. If noodles are not crispy when pressed, bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Pull apart noodles, creating 4 portions. Divide meatloaf into 4 equal servings. Serve meatloaf alongside noodles, scattering carrot and green onion over top of noodles before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro.
Yield: 4 servings (6oz meatloaf, 1 oz pasta)
Per serving: Calories: 347; Total fat: 7g (sat fat: 2g, mono 2.5g, poly 1g); carbs: 36g; fiber: 6g; sugars: 4g; protein: 35g; sodium: 253mg; cholesterol: 120mg

First, let me comment on the preparation.
  • Trying to spread out individual noodles is not going to happen in my house. I tried, did about 12 noodles and lost patience. So, my noodles were nesty and lumpy going into the oven.
  • I think that a lot of these steps can be combined - for example, when the spaghetti is cooking, make the pork mixture and mushrooms. No need to wait/set aside.
  • The loaf took a lot longer to cook than 25 minutes - closer to 40 for it to be cooked all the way through.
Now for the taste:
Mixed reviews on this one - the hubs said he was a "big fan," the kid said it was just OK. I have to go with the kid on this one - the taste of the loaf was just OK, and the crispy noodles were kind of hard to eat. The added sliced carrots and green onion didn't really add much to the overall flavor.

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