I vividly remember the first time that I helped my mom make a meatloaf. I always ate it without complaint, as her meatloaf was fantastic, but I rarely helped out more than possibly peeling an onion or maybe, if I was lucky, cracking an egg.
I wasn't one of those kids that hated meatloaf, quite the contrary, I loved the stuff! I loved it the day it was made, and I loved it smashed between two pieces of bread with ketchup, even though my classmates laughed at my "stinky lunch".
I love meatloaf so much that I made meatloaf into cupcakes and iced them with mashed potatoes, which was then served at the FoodBuzz Fest first night dinner.
(Gratuitous photo of myself, I'm having a "I don't feel cute" day and could use some reassurance!)
But back to that day that I really helped make the meatloaf. Into a big bowl went a few things I knew about: ground turkey (mom was ahead of her time!), a finely chopped onion, some seasonings, ketchup, eggs, some oatmeal… then the surprise came. My mom broke out the cuisinart and pureed about 4 carrots, and mixed them into the bowl.
Wait, carrots? In meatloaf? I swear there was another time that there were jars of baby food mixed in too… but I'm not sure.
I got the pleasure of "gushing" it with my hands. That's what we called it due to the lovely sound it made. We never used a loaf pan, just made a log on a pan and baked it until it was browned, then more ketchup went on, more baking, then dinner.
This meatloaf doesn't attempt to hide the vegetables as my mom so cleverly did, pre-Jessica Seinfeld and her not-so-original book. This one puts them right out there in delicious harmony with mozzarella cheese, garlic, and lean meat. Half the cheese is in the meatloaf. The other half is on top. The title of "Florentine" comes from the presence of spinach…and it sounds über-fancy, which is something that meatloaf rarely is.
Ingredients (8 hefty servings)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound lean ground pork
- 1 16-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 12 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Mix together all the ingredients except for the cheese.
Add in half of the grated cheese, mix well.
Form the mixture into a loaf or mini-loaves.
Bake 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear.
Top with the remaining cheese, bake until the cheese is browned, about 10 minutes.
Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.