My Lunch Can Beat Up Your Lunch!

Bento Recipe: Meatloaf


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Meatloaf. A loaf of meat and additives slathered with ketchup. Good old all-American food!

What you'll need:

    1 pound of lean ground beef, the leaner the better
    3/4 cup of breadcrumbs
    1 egg
    1/2 an onion
    Other vegetables you want to add - I like carrot and broccoli stems.
    1 tsp salt

First off, the reason you want lean beef is twofold. One, lean beef is healthier because it has less fat, and thus is lower in calories. (When I went to the market I saw that 96% lean meat had 150 calories per 4-ounce serving. 75% had double the calories. Guess which one I dropped back into the cooler?) Two, the greasier your meatloaf, the more fallaparty it will be. Yes, "fallaparty" is a word. I declare it to be so.

Anyway! After consultation with my mother, who supplied me with a few tips and tricks, I may now reveal how I make meatloaf. First get out all your ingredients. Let the egg sit at room temperature while you prep the stuff: dice the onion very fine, grate the vegetable matter so it'll merge with the meat rather than forming chunks within it, and mix these with the meat, breadcrumbs, a few tablespoons of ketchup, and salt. Preheat the oven to 350. Separate the egg - crack it into your hand, let the white goo run through your fingers into a cup, then set the yolk aside in another cup or a plate or something. Get a whisk or eggbeater or other such device and beat the white.  Beat it until it's fluffy like meringue. I used a small whisk, and found it easiest to spin it between my hands like a Boy Scout using a hand drill to make a fire. Mix the fluffy white and the yolk into the meat mixture.

Now get your loaf pan and bread. Cut the bread so it covers the bottom of the pan, take the bread out and toast it, then put it back in the bottom of the pan. Put the meat mixture on that, and smooth down the top. Cover it with a thin layer of ketchup,evened out with the back of a spoon. By this time the oven should be preheated, so sling it in there and bake it for 45 minutes.

After you take it out, work around the side of the pan with a spatula to free the meatloaf, place a plate on top of the loaf, and turn it all over so the loaf falls upside-down onto the plate. Remove the loaf pan and peel off the toast, which will come off easily, taking with it all the grease that dripped out of the meat. Set the meatloaf rightside up again and serve.

Variations: Meatloaf is a pretty free-form dish. If you want to add something I haven't listed, or dislike ketchup or onion or whatever, or want to substitute turkey for beef, go for it. If you end up with a meatloaf that tastes good to you, you're doing it right. You can also make individual servings, handy for bento-ing, in muffin pans. For those I suggest putting in an extra egg or two to bind the "meatloaf cupcakes" together a little better.