Instant Salad and Mini-Meatloaves

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Laura wrote...

Hi, Michelle: I have two time saving tips for home cooked meals during the work week.

1. Instant Salad

On Sunday I wash, tear and spin a couple heads of romaine lettuce (not cheap, but has great nutritional value, unlike iceberg lettuce). I put a slightly dampened cloth napkin in the bottom of a large plastic storage container and then put the lettuce in. Then, I peel and slice several carrots and throw them in on top of the lettuce along with washed, uncut cherry tomatoes.

Since celery doesn't keep well once it's diced, I simply wash several stems of celery, trim the ends and lay them across the top of the carrots and lettuce. Same can be done with peppers, cucumbers, etc. Each night, a fresh salad is ready with only minimal chopping if you want celery, peppers, cucs, etc.

2. Mega-Mini-Meatloaves

Sorry this isn't in better form, but it's a very loosey-goosey recipe. I buy several pounds of lean ground beef whenever it's on sale. I use one envelope of Lipton's Beefy Onion soup mix for about 6 pounds of meat. (They say use it for one or two pounds, but it's too salty for us that way!) I shred about two cups of carrots, saute a couple cups of diced celery (and sometimes more onions!) add a cup or so of rolled oats (more fiber!) and an egg or two.

Since there are only three of us (and one of us is only 5) I use mini loaf pans and really load them up so the top of the loaf is about an inch or so above the top of the pan. When putting the mixture in the pan, I start shaping the top of the loaf below the top of the pan, in order to leave some space for juices. Top off with ketchup if you like and that's that.

I then wrap each loaf in foil and pop them in the freezer. On the morning you want to have meatloaf for dinner that night, just take out the frozen loaf and set it on a baking pan in the oven. I then set our oven timer for about a half-hour before we get home. 375 degrees. Our gas oven doesn't have a pilot light, so the loaf never quite thaws out during the day (even a 12-hour day), if it's wrapped tightly in the foil.

When we get home it smells so good! All we have to do is steam a veggie or two and throw some salad in bowls and dinner is ready!

I can't wait to peruse the rest of your website... such wonderful information. Thanks so much for doing this great work!

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Hi Laura, we're glad to have you join us! Your recipe tips are fantastic, thanks so much for sharing them with us. I love the way good food makes the house smell too, that's always a special treat! :o)