Meatloaf Meets Crock-Pot
Put these two American dinner stalwarts together, and magic can
happen—if you follow a few key steps. While 85 percent lean ground beef works perfectly for meatloaf cooked in the oven, you can get away with using an even leaner blend of beef—or ground turkey or chicken—in the slow cooker, since the steam keeps the food moist. To avoid a greasy meatloaf and a difficult removal from the Crock-Pot, make a sling out of aluminum foil. Internet tutorials abound
, but the gist is to first line the inside of the slow cooker with a foil "collar" and then press in two large sheets, perpendicular to one another, with the extra hanging over the edges. When the meatloaf is finished cooking, lift it out by holding on to the foil overhang. Grease will stay behind, and the loaf will be intact.
The Saturday Night Meatloaf
Mini loaf pans aren't just for diminutive pound cakes—you can make party-ready meatloaves in them, too, and either serve them as individual entrées or slice them for a first course or a side dish to mac 'n' cheese or another comfort food main. Any recipe works, but dice the vegetables finely. Lightly grease the molds and spoon a quarter cup of meatloaf mixture into each; bake for about 30 minutes. Or try muffin tins—extra points if you top each one with mashed potatoes.