Avenaceous Meatloaf

your-basic-meatloaf-web

 
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Tinky

          Knowing that this blog and I are currently celebrating National Oatmeal Month, my college roommate Amy MacDonald recently sent me Wordsmith.org’s word of the day for January 5. The word was AVENACEOUS. It means relating to or like oats.

           Amy, known to her college friends as “Our Amy” (we like to take credit for her), is one of my favorite people in the world. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s musical. And she’s as practical and loving as they come. She has a terrific family, from matriarch Kathleen and the seven(!) MacDonald siblings down to her own kids, Caitlin and William. Until recently I was under the impression that Caitlin and William were still extremely young. Last time I saw them they were sipping drinks of such an intense blue that only children under ten could digest them–or would want to try. According to Amy’s most recent missive, however, they have somehow become teenagers.

Our Amy (wearing Kathleen's glamorous earrings)

Our Amy (glamorous earrings courtesy of Kathleen)

          Obviously, Amy and I don’t get together as often as we’d like. Unfortunately (from my point of view), she lives in California. Whenever we do, we talk for hours, just as though we were still sitting on our beds at Mount Holyoke. Even when we’re apart, we think of each other often. I’m convinced that no one else would have found the term avenaceous for me. If you’d like to see Wordsmith’s full tribute to this highly appropriate word, look at http://wordsmith.org/words/avenaceous.html.

          I was going to call the dish below “Your Basic Meatloaf with Oatmeal,” but I think the new name is much classier. Classy or not, this comfort food is a staple in my home in winter. My mother Jan never uses breadcrumbs to fill out her loaf. Oats are much tastier and more nutritious as well. If you’re feeding small children, chop the onion and bell pepper into very small pieces to disguise them a bit. Adults seem to like larger chunks.

          To keep from chilling your hands, take the ground meat out of the refrigerator about an hour before you’re ready to put your loaf together. Enjoy your avenaceous meal!

Avenaceous Meatloaf

Ingredients:

2 pounds good-quality ground beef (or a combination of beef with pork—or beef, pork, and veal!)

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium or 1/2 large bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

lots of freshly ground pepper

1 or 2 eggs

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats plus a bit more if needed

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions:

          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. (Your clean hands are the best tools for putting them all together.)  Blend in 1 egg and the 1/2 cup oatmeal. If it’s hard to get everything to bind together, add another egg and/or a few more oats.

          Fashion the meat mixture into a rough log, and place it in a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard, and spread them over the meatloaf.

          Bake the loaf from 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serves 8.meatloaf-ingredients-web1

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