Tuesday, May 14, 2019

5 Ways to Use Your Leftover Meatloaf by Cleo Coyle

"Waste not!" is the ongoing philosophy of our kitchen, a product of our parents, who lived through the Great Depression. But I believe most people agree with this idea. It's not just a matter of frugality. Few of us see much sense in wasting food. Hence this post. 

Marc and I make a meatloaf about once a month, and we always have leftovers. If you find yourself in that foodie position, here are five ideas to consider trying beyond the typical meatloaf sandwich. 

And here's the first idea...



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If you grew up in an Italian-American home, the words fried pepper sandwich will not be new to you! I grew up eating them and still enjoy them, especially in the summertime. As a result...

Below is my favorite, go-to leftover meatloaf recipe, what I call a Mex-Italian Mealoaf Wrap. The Mexican influence comes with the flour tortilla. The Italian contribution comes from the colorful bell peppers cooked in olive oil long enough to bring out their sweetness.

Okay, sure, in most Italian-American kitchens, sausage and peppers begins this way, but all that fatty pork along with the huge slabs of Italian bread make a sandwich that is just too heavy for a working writer’s lunch. My substitutions of meatloaf (in place of the sausage) and a tortilla (in place of the bread) cut the calorie count without sacrificing flavor. Now let's make one...



Directions: Add a bit of olive oil to a warm pan. When oil is hot, add sliced bell peppers, stir for 8 to 10 minutes or until peppers are thoroughly cooked, wilted, and caramelized (for best flavor do not under-cook). Add slices of leftover meatloaf to the pan. Flip and turn, allowing the meat slices to break up and warm through, soaking up the pepper juices and therefore the flavor. Place your filling on a flour tortilla. Use "burrito" size for a larger wrap OR "soft taco" size for a smaller one. Roll and slice in half on the diagonal.

Oh, did I mention this wrap is absolutely delicious? Because it is! :) 


Here are four more ideas for your leftover meatloaf...

#2 - MEATLOAF SPAGHETTI SAUCE: Chop a few meatloaf slices into small pieces. Set aside. Add 2 to 3 T. of olive oil to a large skillet. Throw in a few cloves of smashed garlic. Sprinkle in Italian herb seasoning mix to infuse the oil (or separately add a generous sprinkle of oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme). Turn on the burner to medium and heat the oil for a few minutes. Add the chopped meatloaf and stir a few more minutes to infuse the pieces with the classic Italian flavors in the skillet. Remove the pieces of smashed garlic (they were only there to infuse the oil). Add your tomato sauce (homemade or from a jar). If you like, splash in a little red wine. Heat to a simmer and continue cooking and stirring for a few more minutes. If you enjoy chunky sauce, leave as is. For a smoother sauce, use your immersion blender. Now you’re ready for spaghetti!

#3 - MEATLOAF PARM: Spoon a bit of tomato sauce into an individual casserole dish. Our favorite dish for this is shown below. Place the meatloaf on top of the sauce. Add more sauce. Sprinkle on finely crushed garlic- or cheese-flavored croutons. Generously sprinkle on shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese. Add a topping of sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove foil, add another layer of mozzarella and grated Parm. Finally, place the dish under the broiler for 1 to 3 minutes (watch carefully). When cheese is melted and bubbling, serve hot!

Pictured above is our favorite oven-safe dish for making (or reheating) individual servings of things like chicken parm, stuffed shells, mac-and-cheese, and so much more.
 The Le Creuset Petite Oval Dish is a stoneware pan made to last a lifetime. It reminds Marc and I of the way a dish will be served to you, piping-hot, at an old-school Italian restaurant. 

Click to learn more or buy.

#4 - MEATLOAF SLIDERS: Cut your rectangular slices of meatloaf in half to form squares. Set aside. Sauté slices of onions in olive oil until golden and caramelized. Remove onions from pan. Warm a bit more olive oil in the pan and add the meatloaf squares, flipping to completely warm through. Melt a slice of Jarlsberg or American cheese on each meatloaf square. Serve hot on King's Hawaiian rolls (or slider buns) with a generous mound of the freshly sautéed onions.

#5 - MEATLOAF TACOS: Cut your meatloaf slices into thin rectangular strips. Heat the strips well in a microwave. Place a strip in a hard taco shell. We like to warm our shells first in the oven, on a sheet pan. After the hot mealoaf strip is in your warm taco shell, pour on a little taco sauce (either mild or habanero hot). Now add shredded Monterey Jack or Colby-Jack cheese. Finally, add your favorite toppings: shredded lettuce, salsa or chopped tomatoes, guacamole, and/or sour cream.

Have any other "leftover meatloaf" ideas to share? Let Marc and I know in the comments and...

Eat (and read) with joy! 

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author
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Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
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  1. Thanks Cleo. I don't know why I never thought of those ideas. I don't make meatloaf very often because it is so much for us. We love sausage and pepper sandwiches and have those probably once a month. Checking out your books too.

    1. Hi, Gayle - I know what you mean about a meatloaf being too much for just two people. That was our issue, until we started making the big loaf work for us in subsequent meals with ideas like the ones in the post. Sausage and peppers are delicious, aren't they? I'm big on plain old fried pepper sandwiches, too. I hope you enjoy our books, and thanks for dropping by the Kitchen today!

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  2. Terrific ideas.
    Tasty one and all.

    1. Thanks, Libby. Sometimes leftovers can be as good (or better) as the original meal. Have a delicious week!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
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    2. We hardly ever have leftover meat loaf, because we REALLY love it... but those recipes look so good, I might have to make an extra one next time! I love your graphics - especially that tacomobile. I want one!

    3. Laine - LOL on your love of that classic comfort food meatloaf. The idea of cooking up two (one for the meal and one for leftovers) is a good one. It's certainly efficient in meal-planning for a week. BTW - We've heard that solution for turkey-lovers at Thanksgiving. They enjoy making the turkey sandwiches, salads, and other dishes that are post-Thanksgiving staples for leftover turkey, but they never have enough turkey left over! Solution? Two turkeys. One for the meal and one for the rest of the week! (Cheers on my taco "to-go" graphic. Tacos are so popular these days, they should make that toy for kids.) Thanks for dropping by the Kitchen, Laine, have a delicious week!

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      “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
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