Toddler vs. Vegetable: Meatloaf

So I’ve been talking about getting my toddler to eat vegetables but she’s also started being extremely picky about meat! As you can imagine, she eats a lot of eggs¬†and fruit. One type of meat that she LOVES and never turns away is meatloaf. Now the following concept can work with probably any meatloaf recipe and there are many styles so if you have one that you love, follow those directions and adjust as you see fit.

Two meatloafs: 1 with jalapeno for daddy and one with zucchini and onions for mommy and baby

Two meatloafs: 1 with jalapeno for daddy and one with zucchini and onions for mommy and baby

It’s strange to think about, but meatloaf is actually a great way to sneak in some veggies! Here is my basic list of ingredients:

  • Your meat! We’ve been using groundvenison lately because my grandfather likes to hunt and has gotten lucky which means our freezer has been full of deer meat but when we don’t have venison we like both ground turkey and ground beef. This is totally preference. Keep in mind that turkey and venison typically has less fat than beef so you may have to add more in or more binder to get it to bake as a loaf.
  • Bread crumbs. I use Italian but panko or other would work. I started using bread crumbs with venison to help with that binding but it’s not necessary.
  • Ketchup. Many people use a tomato sauce or tomato paste but I like the tang of ketchup. I’ve been using an all natural brand from Hunt’s lately.
  • Barbeque sauce. I like a sweet and spicy red BBQ sauce – I’m not sure how a mustard BBQ would work but might be worth trying. I tend to use more BBQ sauce than ketchup because I like the taste.
  • Eggs (1-2 depending on amount of meat)
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped vegetables. Recently I have added zucchini, yellow squash, jalapenos… jalapenos are for my husband who recently bought a jalapeno plant and loves spice. I made him a separate loaf but if your child likes spicy, share away! Other types of peppers would work really well, too.
  • Garlic and other spices
  • Bacon or bacon fat. (optional but a great way to add in some more fat and more flavor)

meatloaf with vegatables(Sorry I don’t do measurements – if you are someone who needs them find a recipe you like online and like I said above, adjust as you want!)

Basically, you chop what needs chopping and then just mix it all together in a bowl. Put in a loaf pan, casserole dish or a muffin pan and bake at about 375 until down. Usually the top and sides will begin to brown. The type of meat you used and the thickness of the loaf will directly affect how long it will need to cook.

Evie loves the muffin size because they are super easy to eat but our whole family loves this dish. This week we paired it with green beans and corn muffins. It was a hit.