Like pasta salad, meatloaf is an unfairly maligned dish. Yeah, it’s pretty boring, if you make it 1950s suburban style. But it’s also really simple to make, and like most simple recipes, you can, uh, kick it up a notch into something awesome with just a little bit of creativity. Cooking for men can be all about creativity!
Remember: the easiest way to make any food a little more awesome is to vary up the spices a bit. In this recipe, we’re adding cumin and chili powder — which, if you have been following our cooking for men suggestions and read our article on stocking your pantry, you’ve already got in your kitchen — as well as a mild poblano pepper and salsa to give meatloaf a new lease on culinary life.
Of course, while it is cooking for men, keep in mind that you’re basically just eating solid meat here; do your colon a favor and pair this with a spinach salad or gazpacho soup. Tasty is important, but so is healthy, right?
- 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef (you want the kind that consists of 20% or less fat)
- 1 egg
- 1 small onion
- 1 fresh poblano pepper
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 jar salsa
- grated cheddar cheese
- sour cream
You’re going to use a loaf pan to bake this; if you don’t have one already, you can buy a perfectly sufficient aluminum foil single-use one at the grocery store when you get the rest of the ingredients.
Start by de-seeding your poblano pepper by cutting off the top (where the stem is) with a kitchen knife and cutting out the seeds from the inside. Then dice the pepper and the onion into 1/4″ chunks.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab a big mixing bowl and throw all the ingredients except for the salsa into it, including the chopped onion and peppers and, yes, the egg. Now: squish it all together with your hands until everything’s totally well-mixed together. Hopefully you aren’t too OCD about slimy stuff, but trust me, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Take your big ball of meat and egg and spices and veggies and shove it into the pan. Flatten it down, making sure it totally fills the bottom of the pan, like you’re about to make a loaf of bread.
There should be room at the top of the pan still, which you are going to use to cover your meatloaf with the salsa. You can use a spoon or a spatula to spread it evenly over the top — think of how normal meatloaf has ketchup on it. At this point, if you want to, you can put a layer of grated cheese, which isn’t necessary but also tastes pretty awesome.
Put it in your oven, on the middle rack, and bake it for an hour. You’ll probably want to use a thermometer to make sure it’s cooked all the way through — nothing sucks worse than meatloaf tartare.
When it’s done, you can garnish it with sour cream, nacho-style, and serve it in slices, or even on a sandwich or in a tortilla with avocado slices if you want to get fancy.
Cooking for Men Means Variations
If you dig Tex-Mex meatloaf, you can also try experimenting with adapting it to fuse with other types of cuisine. For example: instead of using cumin and chili powder and Worcestershire, try using soy sauce and ginger and garlic, and topping it with black bean sauce, and you’ve got Asian meatloaf! You can also make a pretty decent vegan version by using lentils or ground beef substitute and replacing the egg with uncooked oatmeal and the Worcestershire (which contains a bit of anchovy) with soy sauce.
Get creative! See what you can come up with. And if you find something awesome for cooking with men, share it with us in the comments!
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