And if you have 4 hours to spare…

So, in case many of you were unaware, the only cooking devices I have out here are a crock-pot and a microwave. Which is quite fine, considering I have been learning to adapt a hundred million old school favorites into nuke-able or slow cooked versions. I had a tendency to eat much differently before my arrival at Oak Hill. While in Savannah I demanded fresh vegetables, very lean cuts of meat, and did my best to avoid processed foods and sugar. Well, poverty will change your diet drastically, as will availability. I’ll only be allowed fresh vegetables once they begin growing. I simply won’t be able to purchase them. The supermarket is 20 miles away, so you have to be quite ready to eat something perishable rather quickly. You simply cannot hop down to Publix and grab your latest cravings. Last night I made meatloaf, which I’ve done before, but last night it was so perfect that I decided to share the technique.

You need a pound of ground beef that still has some fat in it. I’ve been buying the 80/20 ratio because its inexpensive, but that helps considering you want some moisture to remain.

Take the ground chuck and mix in a large bowl half a can of tomato sauce, 1 and 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (I use Vigo’s Italian Crumbs) and one egg. Toss a pinch of salt and pepper into the mix and mold into a loaf. Place in a crock-pot and cook on high for about 4 hours. The longer cooking time is recommended, but I actually do enjoy the nice browning on the sides with the high temp version. That’s it for meatloaf. But, you can’t have meatloaf without mashed potatoes right? Using a large microwave safe bowl (I use a 4 quart corningware dish with a lid), and enough water to cover some cut up potatoes, nuke on high for about 15 minutes (or fork tender), drain in a colander, return to the bowl and starting whipping in a frenzy all the lovely things you like to have in your mashed potatoes. The meal is very economical, for its enough food for me to eat for 3 days. Not a bad at all, if you’ve got 4 hours to spare around the house where you could be doing other things. For instance, I was busy knitting up my next piece. A little sweater for a boy.

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