Slow Cooker Meatloaf

by Anne Bennett on January 8, 2011

My continuing education into the possibilities of the slow cooker has rendered some hits and misses. A big miss was the whole chicken I cooked on HIGH for six hours. It was a fiasco, made all the more disappointing by the fact that it was a $13 free-range bird, which I literally cooked to pieces. Alas, a sad ending for a once-happy chicken.

A recent hit was the beef lasagna from Weight Watchers’ new PointsPlus Getting Started booklet. It was surprisingly good; after setting up for a few minutes it sliced into single servings without oozing all over the bottom of the slow cooker.

So, what about slow cooker meatloaf? I’ll admit that I was skeptical. I half-expected it to yield spongy slices that barely held together. Again, a pleasant surprise. Because the slow cooker allows for almost no evaporation, the meatloaf was very moist but not watery, and it sliced easily into firm slices.

Now listen up: this recipe isn’t going to win you any culinary awards. But, and this is a big but (no pun intended), even the most erudite cook (that’s fancy talk for food snob) craves good-tasting, hearty fare every now and then. BTW, this is probably the best that you can expect from your slow cooker.

A helpful note to readers: I hate the word tasty. I scan a lot of recipe reviews, and whenever I read one that says that a dish was “really tasty,” I immediately click away. To me, tasty means palatable but just barely. ┬áSo, you will never see a “tasty” recipe on hungry poodle.

Call me a curmudgeon cook. No, just call me a curmudgeon. I not only deserve that title, I own up to it.

Here, adapted from Cooking Light, is consummate comfort food, served up with a clear conscience. (That means it’s healthy!)

2 slices whole wheat bread
3/4 pound ground beef round
3/4 pound ground turkey (I used 90% lean, which is less expensive than turkey breast)
1 1/2 cups chopped shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup grated onion
1 t. dried Italian seasoning
1 t. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, minced

2 T. ketchup
1 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1/8 t. ground red pepper

Process bread into crumbs in a food processor or blender and place in a large bowl. Combine with the next 8 ingredients (beef through garlic) and shape into a 9 X 6-inch loaf. Place into a slow cooker.

Combine the ketchup, Dijon mustard and red pepper and spread evenly over the loaf. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours.

Note: Why no photo? It’s winter here in the Midwest, which means that it gets dark before 5 PM. I don’t take photographs of food under incandescent light. It makes the food look surreal. So, imagine if you will, a slice of meatloaf.

Yield: 6 servings

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