Undoubtedly, you are familiar with the old saying: "While the cat's away, the mice will play." That certainly has been the situation in my kitchen for the past few weeks.

In early February, I signed up for the Seventh-day Adventist Clinic's one-week food Detox program, followed by their one-week Advanced Detox program. I wanted to shed about 20 pounds of unwanted fat! Because Seventh-day Adventists are avowed vegetarians, both of these programs completely eliminate all meat, fish and poultry. Instead, participants eat prepared meals of fruits and vegetables, supplemented with packets of high-energy powder.

To be candid, it is quite a challenge! But, if I can brag a bit, it's given me a real jumpstart toward achieving my goal. In fact, in 2 1/2 weeks I've already shed 11 pounds!

But this created a bit of a void in our kitchen. My husband, Corman, and I usually alternate making dinner for our family. Since I didn't want to be tempted to veer off my diet, I asked to be relieved of kitchen duty for a couple of weeks. With a gleam in his eyes, Corman told me he wouldn't mind filing in the culinary void while I was participating in the detox programs.

Later that afternoon as I walked into the kitchen, I caught Corman whispering to our two sons and nephew. The conversation ended abruptly once I stepped into the room. I instantly became suspicious. "What's going on?" I asked. "Oh," said Corman, "we're just planning the menu for the next few days." All four of them grinned as he said this and, as I walked out of the kitchen, I caught them high-fiving out of the corner of my eye.

As I've said in the past, I don't eat red meat and I don't serve it to my family. Any recipe that calls for meat, I substitute with either poultry or fish. Although Corman doesn't share my aversion for red meat, he usually won't cook with it if I'm going to be eating with the rest of the family. But now, with me out of the picture, he felt liberated to prepare red-meat-centered dinners. The boys, who occasionally also like to eat it, willingly became co-conspirators in this kitchen coup!

That first evening of my detox program, while I had a hearty meal of water mixed with high-energy powder, the rest of my family ate steaks! I had to bite my tongue! Over the ensuing evenings, the meat kept on coming while I struggled to keep on my diet.

Adding insult to injury, last Thursday evening Corman prepared one of my favorite ground turkey recipes – ground turkey meatloaf. Of course, he decided to substitute the ground turkey with ground beef. But I feel like I got the last laugh. After everyone had eaten, I asked each person if there was much difference between the two types of meatloaf. My two sons and nephew all said no, they really couldn't taste the difference. Only Corman insisted there was a distinct difference. Since majority rules, I believe I won this battle.

Try making the following recipe a couple of times over the next few weeks. The first time use ground turkey and the second time use ground beef, then let me know the verdict!

Week 19: Meatloaf

Ingredients

Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef (lean) or ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

2 large eggs

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley

3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground paprika

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Meatloaf sauce

3/4 cup ketchup

1 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Steps

1. Spray a 9" x 5" loaf pan with vegetable oil and preheat oven to 375 degrees.**

2. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients for the meatloaf and mix well to combine.

3. Add meat to the loaf pan, gently press meat down and shape evenly and bake for 40 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together for the sauce. Spread the sauce over the meatloaf then return to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. (If you want the top browned a bit more, simply turn on the broiler for a minute or two, but watch it very carefully to prevent burning!) Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before serving.

* This recipe comes from the website "Natasha's Kitchen," although I've modified it a bit.

** In the alternative, you can line the pan with parchment paper before you fill it with the meat to allow you to lift the meatloaf out of the pan once it is done.

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