Low Fat Meatloaf

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Every year I get a physical and every year my doctor tells me I need more iron.  "Eat more meat," she says.  It is true, I don't eat a lot of meat.  I'm not a vegetarian, I'm just picky.  Growing up, I knew where my meat came from.  We raised our meat.  Today, it's hard to determine the origin of meat and that doesn't settle well with me.  You are what you eat, including all the junk in processed meats like antibiotics and genetically modified grains. 

As a kid, I hated meatloaf.  I thought it was mystery meat.  It now happens to be one of my favorite things to make.  My beef comes from natural grocers or local farmers.  You can ask them to grind it for you.  This insures you don't get any extras.  For full details on what is in ground beef watch this video.  My favorite recipe comes from the 2008 Cook's Country cookbook.  There is apple cider vinegar in the glaze and that's what steals my heart.  Ok, maybe the thyme does as well.  Here is my version.

Low Fat Meatloaf
1   tsp olive oil
1   onion, chopped fine
     salt and pepper
3   garlic cloves, minced
1   tsp minced fresh thyme
1/4 cup tomato juice
1  slice hearty wheat bread torn into pieces or bread crumbs*
1  1/2 lbs. 90 percent lean ground beef
1  large egg
1  Tbs. soy sauce
1  Tbs. Dijon mustard

Glaze
1/2 cup ketchup
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs light brown sugar
*I make my own bread.  The slices that don't get eaten are processed into bread crumbs and then frozen.  It keeps them from being thrown away and it's an ingredient that is homemade versus store bought.  Frozen crumbs do not need to be thawed. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Take a wire rack that fits inside of a rimmed baking sheet and wrap it with tin foil.  Poke holes in the foil at 1/2'' intervals.  Heat the oil on medium heat and cook the onion with a 1/4 tsp. salt until softened, 8 mins.  Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, 30 secs.  Stir in tomato juice and cook until thickened, 1 min.  Cool the mixture 5 mins and then transfer to a blender or food processor.  Add bread slice or frozen bread crumbs and process until smooth.  Put the beef in a bowl, add mixture from blender and mix together.  In another bowl, whisk egg, soy sauce, mustard, parsley, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.  Add to beef and mix until evenly combined.  Mold the beef mixture into a loaf on the tin foil rake inside the baking sheet.  Bake until meatloaf registers 160 degrees, about an hour.  Remove from the oven and turn on broiler.

Combine ketchup, vinegar, and brown sugar in a saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat until thick and syrupy, about 5 mins.  Spread the glaze over the meatloaf and broil until glaze begins to bubble, about 3 mins.  Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Variation:
I shared this recipe with my parents and they loved it.  Like me, they love the vinegar glaze.  My mom came up with the brilliant idea to make individual loaves instead of one.  This guarantees a bite of glaze with every bite of meat.  What can I say, ACV makes everything taste better.