Surprise meatloaf

The annual Spring holidays are over. Passover, Easter, and Orthodox Easter have all passed. As I write, Orthodox Christians today are celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Next weekend, Muslims will mark the end of Ramadan. These holidays are difficult for those of us in the West to keep track of because of the variety of calendars which are used to chart their occurrence. The proximity of all four this year was unusual, but then we continue to live in the most of unusual of times.

Despite the virtual flood of Passover cooking zooms introducing a growing number of foods prepared by Jews in various parts of the world, and my repertoire of tried-and-true week time Pesach foods, I prepared very few special dishes this past week. We ate well, keeping within the restrictions of the holiday, just no specific Passover delights.

A few weeks ago, I found myself with a some peeled, hard boiled eggs. I returned to an old standard recipe I call “surprise meatloaf.” Constant Companion and Daughter (and I) enjoyed this main dish two times, with a few weeks in between.

I play around with meatloaf ingredients according to what’s in the pantry. Usually, the main ingredient is ground turkey combined with a fair amount of chopped onion, chopped celery, a handful of oatmeal, a dollop of tomato paste* and herbs to add to the end result’s flavor.  The first surprise loaf followed those rough instructions.

*I stopped using ketchup long ago when I read the ingredient list and realized sugar was high on the list. I know many Italian chefs include sugar in their wonderful tomato products to cut the acidity. I prefer not to.

The second recent surprise meatloaf brought together ground turkey and ground beef with additional ingredients, including chopped mushrooms and chopped chickpeas* (you can also include chopped green peas). In place of the traditional oatmeal, sometimes I include bulgur wheat to add to the flavor.

*Instead of pulling out the food processor for chopping, my old potato masher was put to work.

The herbs I use vary according to what I grab! Oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder,*salt and pepper.

*I recommend using cumin and coriander, spices not used when I cook for Daughter who does not care for them.

And the surprise? Gently nestle the peeled, hard boiled eggs into the meatloaf once you have it in your pan.* Bake for an hour in a 350 (moderate) oven.

*A peeled slender carrot or two nestled in the meat makes another wonderful (nutritious) surprise.

Leftovers? Gently slice your leftovers and heat in a pan on the stove.

Maybe you still have hard boiled eggs left over from Easter or Passover?


  1. Hi cousin,
    This may sound strange but it works.
    You know me, I am the anti sugar police.
    I use unsweetened apple butter or all fruit jam in my sauces with tomato sauce or tomato puree in dishes that call for a sweet tomato sauce.
    It really works.

    Happy cooking!



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