Comfort food as diet food

I’ve spent most of my career as a personal chef helping people stay on diets.  Most often we fail at dieting not only because of what we eat, but how we prepare our food.  By making a few simple changes in how we prepare even our most favorite foods, we can eat healthier and lose weight.

I made two simple changes to this classic meatloaf recipe that make it a healthier meal: I substituted ground turkey for the traditional ground pork, and I cooked it, not in the typical loaf pan, which, because of its shape and sheer weight of the ingredients, makes it nearly impossible for the fats to escape but in a muffin tin. In a muffin tin, more of the fat bubbles up and out of the pan…and away from your waistline.

New Family Meatloaf

Serves 4

2 green onions, chopped fine

1/2 cup celery chopped fine

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped fine

1T garlic, minced 

1 1/2t salt

1t cumin

1/2t black pepper

pinch nutmeg

2 bay leaves

1/2C ketchup

1/2C milk

1 pound ground beef, extra lean

1 pound ground turkey

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2t Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2t Tabasco sauce

Preheat your oven to 350.
Melt 2t butter in a medium skillet. Add the green onions, pepper, celery and garlic; cook until softened. Stir in salt, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaves. Cook for one minute. Stir in ketchup and milk. Simmer for about 2 minutes; cool, remove bay leaves.

In a large bowl, combine beef and turkey, eggs, Worcestershire and Tabasco. Add the veg mixture to the meat, combine by hand.

Spray a muffin tin with Pam . Divide the mix into the muffin tin. Place tin on cookie sheet.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temp reaches about 160. Cool for 5 minutes, then drain off the collected fat. Use a large kitchen spoon or tongs to remove the meatloaf.  Serve.

To compensate for the “flavor” of the fat lost when I replaced the pork with turkey, I spiked things up a bit with the Tabasco…not enough to make it hot, just enough to give it some depth. But the real star here is the muffin tin. By making the switch, you lower the fat content, prepared a more evenly cooked meal, and cut your cooking time by about 50%.

Next time you’re about to try a new diet, try a new way of thinking about your food instead. I’m thinking you’ll be pleased with the results.

Muffin tin, courtesy: partridgeshadleigh.co.uk

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. All rights reserved, (c) 2011.

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