I just can't help but look at ingredients and try to find new and unexpected ways to use them.
So when I started thinking about ways to give meatloaf a healthy makeover, I wondered... Could I use kamut cereal in place of high-carb, low-nutrition breadcrumbs?
The answer turned out to be a very delicious yes!
If you've never heard of kamut, let me introduce you. Kamut is one of the so-called ancient grains that has become a popular alternative to wheat. It has 20 to 40 percent more protein, and is higher in good fats, vitamins and minerals than wheat. Plus, it can be tolerated by some with sensitivities to regular wheat.
In this recipe, kamut serves as a flavorful bulking and moistening agent to the meatloaf instead of the more traditional breadcrumbs.
But I didn't stop with kamut. I also wanted to try something a little risky with this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs favorite. I wanted to reduce the amount of meat used in order to cut fat and calories. I know... I know... It is, after all, meatloaf. Cut that and it just isn't the same, right?
Hear me out. I used chopped cremini mushrooms to replace some of the meat. Why mushrooms? They actually have a meaty flavor all their own. And trust me, no one will ever know that this recipe has less meat. You can even use more mushrooms and less meat than I did. It's a great way to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your meatloaf and s-t-r-e-t-c-h your dollars... But not your waistline.
I also tinkered with the blend of meats. I opted for lean ground turkey and lean ground beef. The result is a full-flavored, meaty meatloaf that tastes substantial and has just 2 grams of fat and 133 calories per serving. Ready for the comparison? Regular meatloaf can pack 45 grams of fat and 720 calories.
Can't find kamut cereal? You can substitute puffed brown rice cereal.
The meat mixture will be wetter than you expect when you mix it together.
Start to finish: 45 minutes (15 minutes active). Serves 4.
6 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 cup puffed kamut cereal
1/3 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons low-sugar ketchup, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces 96 percent lean ground beef
4 ounces 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast
Heat the oven to 375 F.
Place the mushrooms in a food processor, then pulse until they are finely chopped. Scrape the mushrooms into a large mixing bowl. Add the kamut and broth to the processor, then process until the kamut is coarsely crushed.
To the bowl of mushrooms, add the crushed kamut and broth, egg white, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the ketchup, the salt and pepper. Stir until well mixed. Add the ground beef and ground turkey, then use your hands to mix well.
Spread meat mixture evenly in a nonstick loaf pan. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of ketchup evenly over the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the meatloaf reaches 165 F. Remove from the oven and carefully pour off excess liquid from the pan, using a spatula to hold the meatloaf in the pan while pouring. Let the meatloaf stand for 5 minutes. Slice into 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 133 calories; 3 g fat (18 percent of total calories, 1 g saturated); 44 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 22 g protein; 1 g fiber; 269 mg sodium.