According to my American friend Susan, the newest dinner craze in California is one of the oldest standbys — the meatloaf. This summer she has been barbecuing meatloaves but says they’re popular sliced cold in sandwiches the next day so occasionally pops one in the oven to cook alongside baked potatoes.

Meatloaves are versatile menu makers. With a little imagination, economical minced meats can be turned into attractive meals for family or friends. And they’re quick to prepare. They’re even quicker if all the ingredients are combined in the food processor. Most can also be cooked in the microwave on 50 per cent power.

Loaf pans are the usual containers of choice but mini loaves can be cooked in Texas muffin pans or the mixture can be patted into a ring mould. The loaves can be topped halfway through cooking with lightly toasted and well-seasoned croutons or mashed potato or pumpkin.

In most recipes for meatloaves, eggs are used as the binding agent. If preferred, milk powder or soy flour could be used as the binder. About 1 tablespoon of milk powder is required to bind 500 grams of meat. Sausage meat used in conjunction with minced meat also helps to hold the mixture. 


Thawed peas could replace the broccoli.

1 small head broccoli
1 large roasted red capsicum, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
600g minced chicken
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 170C. Lightly grease a 20cm x 10cm loaf pan.

Cut the broccoli into small florets. Combine all the ingredients and press gently into the loaf pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and serving.

Great served sliced between slices of ciabatta together with sliced fresh mango — then toasted. Serves 4-6.


Add chopped jalapenos, if preferred.

1kg lean minced beef
1 cup soft white breadcrumbs
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 small green capsicum, seeded and diced
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a roasting pan with baking paper.

Combine all the ingredients and shape into a 25cm x 10cm loaf and place in the pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until cooked. Great served with a tomato salsa. Serves 8.


Wrap and freeze any extras for another meal.

6-8 rashers streaky bacon
500g lean minced pork
1 apple, peeled and grated
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 6-8 large muffin pans or mini loaf pans with the bacon.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Divide equally into the prepared pans. Pat down gently. Roll any excess bacon over the tops.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until cooked. Great served with apple sauce. Makes 6-8.


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