This recipe makes two five-pound meat loaves, complete with potato and tomato wedges and celery sticks. You can substitute any ground meat for the ground beef, or use textured vegetable protein for a vegan version. This recipe does not contain any eggs or milk if you use the gluten-free options.
1 loaf Gypsy Wilburn's Cola Quick bread
2-quart mixing bowl
8-quart mixing bowl
Sharp chef's knife
1.5 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 large garlic bulb (that's a whole bulb, not an individual clove) crushed, peeled and minced
1.5 cups chopped Bermuda or Vidalia onion
3 large ribs chopped celery
4 pounds ground beef, 80 percent lean
6 large Roma tomatoes
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
3 large ribs celery, cut into sticks
26-ounce can or jar of prepared or homemade spaghetti sauce
1 cup warm water
Four cubes Knorr caldo de res (beef bouillon)
Two 12 by 17-inch glass baking dishes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut the cola quick bread into small pieces and pulse them for one to three seconds at a time in the food processor to make coarse bread crumbs. Pour the bread crumbs into the small mixing bowl and set them aside.
Rinse the cilantro and parsley under cold water. Remove any discolored or withered leaves and stems and add them to your compost bin. Lay the cilantro and parsley with all the stems at the same end. Begin chopping at the stem end to ensure that the stem pieces stay tiny. Chop more coarsely at the leafy end. Toss all the greens into the large mixing bowl.
Peel and quarter the onions. Pulse them in the food processor for one to three seconds at a time to chop them, or slice them in half and place them on the cutting board on their flat sides. Slice each onion half into 1/8-inch thicknesses, then turn them 90 degrees and slice again to chop them. Add the chopped onion to the large mixing bowl.
Separate the garlic bulb into individual cloves. Smack each clove with the flat of your chef's knife several times to split the skins. Cut off the blunt end of each clove as close to the end as possible. Add the skins and trimmings to your compost bin.
Slice each garlic clove from tip to blunt end two or three times, depending on size and thickness, then turn the cutting board 90 degrees and mince each bulb. Scrape the minced garlic into the large mixing bowl.
Rinse the celery and cut the last 1/4-inch from the bulb end and the top of each stalk. Discard the trimmings or add them to your compost bin. Split each celery rib into sticks 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch wide, dice them and add them to the other vegetation in the mixing bowl.
Break the Knorr cubes into the warm water and allow them to dissolve. Stir the mixture and pour it over the vegetables. Substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth if making a vegan version of this recipe.
Add the ground beef and the bread crumbs to the large mixing bowl. Mix by hand until all ingredients are equally distributed. Divide the meat into two equal parts. Place half the meat into each baking dish. Pat the meat into a 2-inch-thickness, leaving at least an inch of space all the way around the loaf.
Scrub the potatoes under cold water. Cut each potato into eight wedges and place them around each meat loaf, between the meat and the sides of the baking dish. Cut two of the remaining three celery ribs into 2-inch long, 1/2-inch wide pieces and distribute them evenly among the potato wedges.
Cut each tomato into eight wedges. Place the tomato wedges on top of each meat loaf in an eye-pleasing pattern. Cut the last celery rib into 1/2-inch wide, 2-inch long sticks and add them to the pattern on top of each meat loaf.
Pour half the spaghetti sauce over the top of each meat loaf. Position the oven racks so that the bottom rack is at least three inches from the bottom heating element in the oven. Put one meat loaf on each rack. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Move the bottom meat loaf to the top rack, and the top meat loaf to the bottom and bake for another 30 minutes. Switch the meat loaves a second time and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the meat loaves to stand for 15 minutes. Slice each meat loaf in half lengthwise before cutting the loaves into 3/4-inch thick pieces. Each loaf makes about 20 servings.
Check out "Made from Scratch Monday" by Mary Hudak-Collins for more allergy-free recipes.