Friday, July 11, 2014

Picnic in the Park: Meatloaf

Picnic in the Park: Meatloaf... For those of you that live in a cold weather thriving metropolis you know how precious your outdoor summer time is. Dining al fresco isn't something we can enjoy all year round, and outdoor patios, balconies large enough for a table and chairs, and beaches aren't always at your disposal so sometimes you have to improvise. Last night was one of those nights, and we ventured about 5 blocks from our place to enjoy an early dinner in the park - picnic style.

I had already planned to make meatloaf, mushrooms, broccoli, and corn on Thursday earlier this week - then when we thought of the picnic idea I started thinking about the logistics (the engineer in me) - how to carry it, how to serve it, how to EAT it. I resolved to cook everything and even cut things up beforehand, put them in 3 separate tupper ware, and bring sturdy paper plates, napkins, as well as some regular silverware and serving spoons.

The Meal:
I use the same technique as these turkey meatballs - the secret is whisking 1 egg in a large bowl and adding about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs then let it stand for a few minutes until it becomes a paste. After that mix in your meat and whatever seasoning and voila - your loaf is ready to be baked! Last night I also slathered a bit of BBQ sauce on top before popping my 1.5lbs of ground chuck in the oven at 375 for about 35 minutes.

whisk 1 egg

add breadcrumbs - I use panko

mix into a paste

meatloaf pre bake

While that was cooking I steamed up two lovely corns on the cob and carefully sliced off the kernels. My roomie doesn't like eating it off the cob so on his behalf I did a little dirty work before to make it easier at the picnic (actually not much work involved in slicing corn off the cob :-)). Also for the corn instead of grilling or boiling it, I wrapped each cleaned cob in a damp paper towel, placed them on a plate and popped them in the microwave for 4-5 minutes.Perfectly steamed.

corn wrapped in damp paper towels to steam

Next I sauteed a bunch of broccoli florets in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. I got them nice and charred on some edges then steamed them through. YUM.

Lastly, I sauteed a bunch of sliced baby bella's in olive oil, salt, and pepper over high heat until they were dark golden and tender.

The broccoli was scooped into a large glass tupperware and the corn followed suit in a smaller plastic one. For the main dish I cut the meatloaf into slices and loaded it into my largest glass tupperware, then topped it off with the sauteed mushrooms. I packed the tupperware in a plastic grocery bag, the silverware and napkins in a ziplock. Then I put it all in my lovely new Trader Joe's bag, handed the quilt to the big man and headed out for our picnic!

It was a delightful night and we look forward to doing it again soon! How do you eat home cooked meals outside in a big city?? Would love ideas!

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