I have a garden this year and I’m pretty excited about it. I had huge gardens while the kids were little and I was a stay at home mom. I love to watch plants grow and tend to them. But I wanted to garden this year specifically to flip a finger at the grocery store system that over prices sweet bell peppers and zucchini! Ridiculous!
I’ve done a good job already. I have a fenced in patch of zucchini, summer squash and pumpkin that has gone from “looking good” to “they are conquering the world”! This was taken 3 weeks ago, it’s way worse now. They have conquered the chain link fence and are running away to the neighbors!
I used my first cute little 6″ zucchini in meatloaf, of all things! Carla Hall was talking about meatloaf on The Chew the other day and said meatloaf was a good way to add shredded vegetables to our diets (particularly kids’). I took note and thawed ground beef.
Grandson Hunter, aged 12, spent the day at our house and I decided to see if I could slide zucchini into his world. I just wouldn’t mention it until afterwards. I started with 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef. I added about 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion from the garden.
I added an egg, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, salt and pepper. I shredded the 6″ zucchini and ended up with around 1/2 cup. I added it to the bowl along with 1/2 cup of panko crumbs. The zucchini was going to add a lot of wetness and the panko would combat that.
I combined the mixture with my hands, my fingers working best to make sure it was good and mixed. I scooped it into one of my long bread pans and made sure I wasn’t patting it too much to condense it down. We don’t want a brick, there should be some air space left in the meatloaf so it cooks evenly.
I let the meatloaf bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. While it baked I peeled potatoes and cooked them.
I also cleaned 10 ounces of fresh white button mushrooms and sautéed them in a little butter and oil until they were lightly browned. I added the oil to as a trick to prevent the butter from burning.
When the meatloaf had baked for 30 minutes I poured the juices from the pan carefully into my skillet of mushrooms. I added 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet as well. I added some salt, some pepper, a little sprinkle of garlic powder and a glug of Kitchen Bouquet to make it a little more brown than gray and adds a nice flavor.
When the butter was melted I added 1/4 cup flour and stirred and cooked the raw flour flavor out, similar to a roux. I slowly poured in 1 cup of chicken stock, then 2 cups of milk. I stirred the gravy until it thickened then turned the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
I’d pulled the meatloaf out of the oven and let it rest, then sliced it for serving. I’d cooked the potatoes until very fork tender then drained them. I added 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 cup milk and let them heat in the saucepan before I mashed them with my hand masher.
Ready to serve dinner! I added a scoop of mashed potatoes, some slices of meatloaf and a drizzle of mushroom gravy over the potatoes and meatloaf. I’d heated corn (Hunter’s choice of vegetable) and added it to the plates. Hunter was skeptical about gravy, he’s not a fan of it usually. He did say this gravy was pretty good and ate it.
He said he just loved the meatloaf, and didn’t blink when I casually mentioned it had zucchini in it from our garden. Score! Grandma did a good thing! Then Grandma gave him another M & M cookie. Rewards for eating vegetables are a good thing too.
I apologize for not getting any pictures of the meal put together. In its place you can take another peek at my garden. You’ll have to imagine the mushroom gravy rolling over the meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Or maybe you’ll make it yourself and then can taste it as well! It was super, super good! We fought over the leftovers.
Zucchini Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy
1 1/2 – 2 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup zucchini; shredded
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
10 ounces white button mushrooms; cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
juices from meatloaf
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Mashed potatoes or rice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix meatloaf ingredients well with your hands or a spoon and lightly pat into a loaf pan. Don’t compress the meat, we want it airy enough to cook evenly. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
Prepare mashed potatoes or rice while the meatloaf cooks.
Prepare the mushroom gravy. Sauté the mushrooms in a tablespoon each of oil and butter. Salt lightly to bring out the moisture. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add garlic powder and flour to the mushrooms and stir, cooking the raw flour flavor out. When the flour begins to brown slowly add the chicken broth, stirring until the lumps begin to disappear. Slowly stir in the milk until the gravy is smooth and thickened. Stir in the Kitchen Bouquet if desired. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the meatloaf pan’s juices when the meatloaf is done.
Serve meatloaf in slices with mashed potatoes or rice, drizzled with mushroom gravy.