March 25, 2010

Veggie Girl Versus the Meat Monster

A few weeks ago, I posted about my diva's decision to be a vegetarian. And then, her decision not to be a vegetarian.

Except, as it happens, she is still a vegetarian. Most of the time. Well, really, while the sun's up. She is a vegetarian every day for breakfast. She is a vegetarian every day for lunch.

It's dinner that gets her.

Pretty much every night that my kids are with me, we have a home-cooked, please-pass-the-potatoes, family-style dinner. Big bowls and platters and a basket of bread from the bakery. Thing is, I can't really make it meat-free. My Aspie craves protein like most folks crave water (or, in my case, chocolate). So meat's on the table. Period.

Veggie Girl's dilemma? She likes meat. She really really likes meat.

She also really wants to be a vegetarian. So she tries. Every night at dinner she fills her plate with bread and veggies and happy side dishes. She adds on veggie burgers and cheese and hard-boiled eggs. She eats. She goes back for seconds.

And that's when she finds that she can't really resist the chicken.

Tonight I served meatloaf. It's a funky little meatloaf fully of carrots and onions and whole wheat bread, and I'm perpetually shocked that my kids love it. But they do. And that includes my Veggie Girl.

Veggie Girl: "What are you making?"
Me: "Meatloaf."
VG: "I like meatloaf. What's it made of?"
Me: "Cow."
"Oh. That's red meat." she says. She thinks. "You know, I only eat red meat."
Me: "Don't you like chicken, too?"
VG: "Right. I only eat red meat and chicken. ... And fish."

She's still a vegetarian. Or so she tells me. She's just a vegetarian who eats meat.

And hey, look, a recipe! Because if this meatloaf can tempt Veggie Girl, your kids (if you've got 'em) might just like it, too.

Meat Monster Meatloaf
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens' New Cook Book (1996)

1 beaten egg
1 slice of whole wheat bread, crumbled
1/4 milk
1/2 medium onion, chopped to tiny bits in a food processor
1/4-1/2 c carrots, chopped to tiny bits in a food processor
1/2 tsp oregano
1 lb ground beef (don't go lean for meatloaf - you need that fat to compensate for the long cooking time)
2 Tbs ketchup

In a mixing bowl, combine everything, along with a bit of salt and pepper. Mix it up well. Pat mixture into a loaf pan and bake in a 350 F oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no pink remains (use a meat thermometer - it should reach 170 F). Let rest for 5 minutes, transfer to a platter, and serve. My mom always put a bit of tomato paste on the top about 5 minutes before it came out of the oven, but my kids didn't take to that part, so I leave it off.

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