Flavorful Italian Meatloaf, a Classic Convection Meal
Updated: Jan 6
There is so much creativity in the food world these days, but classic dishes such as meatloaf are still extremely popular. In this post, I will outline how to prepare meatloaf in Convection together with a side of roasted vegetables and a summer fruit cobbler.
Meatloaf is an ingenious recipe developed long ago to use up scraps of less tender cuts of meat. When mixed together with some sausage meat or ground pork for a little fat and flavor and bound together with egg and breadcrumbs the mixture created a delicious meatloaf. Slices of the loaf could be enjoyed for dinner or added to sandwiches, remember in those days fast food wasn’t an option and working men relied on their wives to provide a nourishing midday meal. Every household was pretty much run as a restaurant so women had to be very creative.
Benefits of Cooking Meatloaf in Convection
Traditionally the loaf was baked in buttered wax paper or a loaf pan and the cooking time was at least 1 ½ hours. Nowadays, most recipes use lean tender cuts of ground beef or turkey and instruct to simply shape the mixture into a large sausage and bake it directly on a rimmed baking sheet; the cooking time is only approximately 30 minutes.
Preparing a meatloaf is a simple procedure, basically, you can have it mixed and ready to bake in the time it takes to heat the oven. Or, you can buy premixed meatloaf at the butchers. Allow at least 30 minutes for the cooking time and 10 minutes to rest the meatloaf before slicing.
Of course, since the oven is already on, it makes perfect sense to also roast a medley of vegetables to serve with the meatloaf. Depending on the type of vegetables you are roasting the cooking time will be 30 - 40 minutes. For best results use a moderate oven temperature of 350 degrees and either the Convection Bake or Convection Roast Mode.
I cook the meatloaf in the middle of the oven and the vegetables on a lower rack. Positioned this way the meatloaf benefits from gentle browning from the Top heating element and the vegetables get nicely caramelized from the stronger heat from the Bottom heating element. Be sure to plan the timing so the vegetables come out of the oven once the meatloaf has rested and been sliced.
Why Cook Dessert at the Same Time?
One of the benefits of Convection is the ability to cook multiple foods at one time with no transfer of flavor, so why not cook a simple dessert at the same time? Really, all you have to think about is staging and timing. Plan where to place the casserole dish, it can be baked next to the meatloaf or on a separate rack between the meatloaf and vegetables.
Fruit cobblers or crisps are easy to put together and are delicious warm with ice cream, or even for breakfast with some yogurt. Assembling the cobbler is a great job to assign to a younger family member interested in cooking or anyone who wants to hang out and talk to you while you are preparing the meal.
Can I Vary the Ingredients in the Meatloaf Recipe
Traditional recipes for meatloaf included hard-boiled eggs, ham, or salami as well as grated cheese. Basically, you can vary the recipe to your preferred taste. Meatloaf can be made with a base of finely chopped lightly sauteed vegetables for added flavor; or you can fold in some pesto; or use your favorite BBQ sauce or even some chilies and a little salsa. Just don’t let the mixture become too wet.
Stay tuned for my next post, all about slow roasting salmon and other meaty fish in Convection.
In the meantime, visit my Convection Recipe page for more recipes with detailed cooking plans for Convection Meals. Recipes are organized in categories and provide detailed instructions for success when cooking in Convection.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast