The concept of low carb meatloaf has been prevailing since a long time and people seem to commonly call it a “comfort food.” There are numerous variations that every one tends to make when preparing meatloaf and they personalize it according to their own tastes. There are some basic techniques for making meatloaf; the low carb meatloaf has its own distinct additions. The four basic ingredients that add up to make meatloaf include the meat itself (without which it would not be called meatloaf), seasonings, the filling inside and the topping sauce. There are a wide variety of options available through which meatloaf can be prepared according to your own taste.
It is interesting to notice that each one of the components of low carb meatloaf can be personalized and varied so as to suit your taste buds.
There is a variety of ground meat to choose from when it comes to selecting the meat. Although the conventional forms of meat loaf involve the use of ground meat, but you can extend your options by using turkey, bacon, veal or pork. The readymade low carb meatloaf packets that might be available in super markets usually have a combination of all types of meat. For the low carb meatloaf, it is essential to keep in mind that low fat meat is used, so that it does not produce too much grease. Some recipes have also added the use of sausages which adds a different flavor to the meatloaf; however they do usually remove the skin before using the sausages. A standardized size of the meat loaf pan requires approximately 1 ½ to 2 ½ lbs of meat.
The seasonings are where the widest variety and option is available because the spices and blending of flavors can be made according to your tastes. Seasoning may be done with an Italian, American, Mexican touch or may even be made in a very simplistic way to keep the spices low and mild. The flavor additions may include curry sauces, wine or a wide variety of other kinds of sauces available, such as Worcestershire sauce and ketchup (which is usually not a favorable option for low carb meatloaf due to the amount of sugar that ketchup contain). The most famous seasoning is garlic which adds quite a distinct flavor to the meatloaf and can also be used for the preparation of low carb meatloaf.
Using just ground meat might make the meat very dense in nature and add a lot of moisture to the meatloaf. To avoid this, the meat might be filled with oatmeal or bread so that they can absorb that extra moisture and leave the meat less dense. The fillings may also include vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, spinach or even peppers that have the ability to absorb the juice and also give in a spicy flavor. Some people might also like a sweet tinge in the filling which is why they might prefer apple sauce or chopped fruits which add in a sweet flavor. The blend of the two combinations will give a sweet and savory taste which is unique in its own way.
When preparing a low carb meat loaf, the fillings that add starch to the meat are highly discouraged, specifically bread crumbs. Meat can, however, be left at room temperature for a while so that the juice dries out a bit, or just place it in a baking sheet which will prevent the meat having too much moisture. There are also a lot of available options for low carb meat loaf fillings, which include:
- Low carb bread crumbs,
- Oatmeal, but only after taking under consideration the kind of carb allowance
- Onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and other kinds of dried vegetables
- Thickened thin sauces which may contain low sugar
- Frozen green vegetables which are leafy. Fresh ones may also be used.
Combining the Loaf
Apart from the filling made for the meatloaf, egg is used for binding it together. The filling and the loaf should be ideally mixed with the hands, but to a certain extent only. Overdoing the mixing will make the mixture very gummy and will usually melt the fat in.
Making the sauce for the topping
Although, the topping of the meat loaf is not a necessity, however it is usually preferred by most people. The most commonly used sauces are made of barbeque sauce or ketchup. Tomato paste is also quite popular among meat loaf lovers who may combine this with topped mushrooms, bacon or sausages.
Preparing the meat loaf
What is usually assumed is that meatloaf would be cooked up in loaf pans, but in order to fasten up the process, it might be a good idea to divide the whole mixture into small portions and then cook it. Sometimes this might be put in muffin pans and cooked in the muffin cups. This process would take approximately 15 to 20 minutes if cooked at a temperature of 350 F; this would generate a smooth texture.
Tips for enhancing your low carb meatloaf
- Run your meat in the grinder around twice or thrice to make it smooth and firm in texture.
The better grade of meat you use, the less fatty it will be and will produce minimum level of grease which is exceptionally favorable for the low carb meatloaf. The meatloaf will turn out to have a much richer flavor and will be very moist in nature as well.
The most common grade chosen is that of ground chuck.
The bread crumbs should be done just perfectly because cooking them for a longer period of time will end up making them very moist and soggy. For low carb meatloaf, bread crumbs should be kept to a minimum or avoided completely.
For a low carb meatloaf, it is preferable to have turkey toppings or be mindful about the fat content that comes along with the toppings. The use of bacon and pork might add too much salt which proves to be harmful for diet conscious people.
To let the meatloaf set in and be firm in shape, it is best to let it cool for about twenty minutes before serving it out. This will also enable it to be cut easily
Tomato sauce proves to be a useful option for adding in a bit of moisture in the mixture.
There is a certain extent to which the mixture should be mixed in, just enough that the ingredients blend in well or else the texture is completely ruined.
Salad oil and white bread are sometimes used to replace the bread crumbs.
Be extra careful with the amount of proportions you add in to the mixture, be it meat, bread crumbs, sauces or fillings.
When opting for making the meatloaf in small servings such as the muffin pans, they should be greased carefully and be cooked for not more than fifteen to twenty minutes.
The standard size of cooking a meatloaf is in a 4×4 loaf pan for about one or one and a half hour at 350F.
The best option is to use ½ cup filling for every pound of meat, which will maintain the balance in the mixture. Also bread crumbs, bran, carrots, potatoes, spinach and such vegetables tend to give a very appropriate combination.
Some people tend to use grated cheese to top the meat loaf before it is kept in for baking. The cheese melts on top of the loaf and gives a richer taste.
For added flavor, beer, vegetable juices, fruits and wine may be used in order to enhance the flavor and give it a tangy or sweet combination.
The bread crumbs that have a softer texture tend to produce a juicier meat loaf and to give it more moisture, the bread crumbs may be dipped into milk before they are mashed in.
Grated carrots, potatoes and such vegetables can be combined with about 1/4th pound of meat so that the meat content is balanced with the other flavors.
Cold water can be used to rub the loaf on top in order to retain its stiffness and keep it from breaking apart or getting cracks.
The ideal internal temperature that the meatloaf is supposed to have is about 185 F since meat and pork takes time to be tender on the inside.
Therefore, low carb meatloaf also has its own variations that one can take under consideration and be conscious about what is put in. Meat loaf is loved by all kinds of people. They often admire the kind of meatloaf they are used to eating at home, but it is interesting to see how people can easily vary the ingredients to suit their own tastes. Although it is the same thing, the taste differs mainly in terms of the spices used, toppings, sauces and the kind of combinations made such as savory, with vegetables or fruits.