Thursday, January 19, 2012

Comfort food on a strict diet

Peter and I are about 12 days in on the sugar handling diet.  More on this later.  Suffice it to say it is super strict and a very important step in regaining control of our health.....naturally.

One of the big challenges has been the requirement to eat every 2-3 hours, each meal (at least 6 meals per day) containing 4-6 oz of a high quality protein.  That didn't sound so daunting when we started this, but after a few days we both found it challenging to have enough food prepared in advance to be able to do this with our busy schedules.  In the beginning we were highly dependent on chicken soup and boiled eggs for the quickest meals, and standard fare for the meals where we could slow down more and really cook. 

Then it hit me:  meatloaf....and meatballs.  Both can be eaten hot or cold, and made in advance.  Both are yummy and can be served in a number of ways so they don't become boring.  Best of all, I could use some of that pork that is in my freezers.

Since the latest research, reported in October 2011 by the Weston A. Price Foundation, says the pork is best health-wise when marinated with vinegar (pork fat is fine, as in salt pork, bacon, and lard), I've been pondering how to make my favorite recipes while incorporating this important step.

After thawing a couple of boneless roasts and grinding them with my trusty KitchenAid with the meat grinder attachment, I added a few glugs of Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar.  After mixing it in thoroughly, I set it on my cold porch to marinate for the day.   I ground up a few pounds of grass-fed beef to mix with it, in a 2:1 ratio of pork to beef.  Only because my pork was pastured and very, very inexpensive and the grass-fed beef was more pricy.  You can use all beef, too.

I added finely diced onion and garlic, and some chopped dried mushrooms I wanted to use up.  A few raw eggs, salt and pepper, oregano and parsley, and it was starting to smell good, even raw.
I baked it at 350 F for just over an hour, until a meat thermometer pushed into the center of the loaf registered over 160 F. 

The rest of the mix was packed into two more loaf pans and frozen, and scooped out into meatballs and baked on a cookie sheet for about 30 minutes.

Peter is teaching tonight at the massage school and he took a bowl of the fresh tomato salsa I made this morning along with a few of the cold meatballs.  A perfect and tasty quick meal on the go.  I'm having green beans sauteed with salt pork and a few meatballs here at home.  YUM!  We already polished off the original meatloaf, it was that good.

I may have to go take those frozen meatloaves out already.......and they are probably not even frozen through yet!

Show of hands....who likes meatloaf?


  1. Yum! I love meatloaf! (and meatballs!)

  2. Heck, yeah, and I was starting to wonder if I would get to make meatloaf again. Our ground beef has been so lean, the loaf is dry and crumby. But now I have a whole lot of pork, including a lot of belly, so maybe I'll grind a bit into the loaf. Do you add extra suet or lard to your meatloaf? My other challenge is a loaf that will stay together, without breadcrumbs.

  3. Yes, do! It is quite good this way. I left a nice rind of fat on most of my roasts so there was plenty of fat in the ground pork, and with the 2:1 ratio of pork to beef, it was wonderfully moist. And yes, it was a bit crumbly, so just be careful when dishing it up. It was a bit firmer the next day. The meatballs weren't so crumbly, though, even thought it was the same recipe. Probably because of the browned crust that forms on the outside...kinda holds them together like a skin. So good! We polished off the meatballs today and took one of the raw loaves out of the freezer already. It is that good!

  4. Me! I have ground pork and hamburg, and have heard about using both for meatloaf, but have never done it. I use the ends of millet/rice bread made into bread crumbs and a couple of our eggs. Some times chopped onion mixed in with celery salt (our own), pepper, parsley and oregano. Sometimes I put 1/2 of the mix in, layer thick slices of cheese and top with the other half.

    I picked up a little convection oven on Freecycle a few years ago and it will cook a meatloaf in 30 mins. We got rid of our microwave when I received the convection oven and never looked back. I also have a gas stove for cooking.

  5. Yum, I like the cheese idea. Now that we have our bacon, I'll make the next one with bacon slices on top. I'd never used pork, either....but of course now I'm flooded with pork! I do prefer using some kind of grain product as a binder, and this one was a bit crumbly. But it worked!

  6. I meant to ask, did you do your own bacon or send it out? We've done our own for the last 2 years. But it didn't take weeks, nor was it smoked, as we put a roof on the house so the solar PV panels could be installed instead of building a smoker, as had been planned. Next year...

  7. We sent it out, but I'm determined to do it myself next year. We saved a couple of jowls. I brined and froze them. We hope to get a simple smoker built this year and do our own smoking. I may even just make a cardboard smoker so I can practice before the weather warms up in spring. If I do, of course I'll write about it here.

    It is just one step further from making the salt pork....just the smoking step. One teensy step....