Like many other people, I hate to turn on the oven in the summer. I hope for lots and lots of sales on salad fixins during those 3 hot months, and I also hope to be invited to many cook outs, so I don’t have to fret over standing in front of a hot stove. Barbecueing for us is out of the question, since it’s “against the rules” for us to have a grill in our complex. We broke that rule last year, but our upstairs neighbors weren’t too happy to have smoke filling up their patio above us. We’ll try to be good this year.
Since I don’t feel like using the stove as much, I prep as much as I can to make meal time easy for me and cool enough that my family won’t be too hot to even want to eat the meal once it’s completed. In comes the freezer meatloaf. I love this trick!
Take 1 pound of ground meat and add in your basic meatloaf ingredients. Ours always has an italian flavor to it, so it includes garlic powder, tomato paste and whatever veggie purees I have saved. Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap(check to make sure the loaf pan can fit in your slow cooker), and place the meatloaf mixture into the pan. Fold over the excess plastic wrap to cover the top of the loaf. Place the loaf pan in your freezer, and freezer for about 2 hours, or until the top is hard. Pull the meatloaf out of the pan and wrap with foil. Place in a freezer bag and mark as meatloaf with the date.
Now you have a meatloaf ready to be plopped into the slow cooker on a hot day!
The best part is that you can change the flavors and use these loafs for things other than meatloaf.
Like Greek gyros? Use greek seasonings, like marjoram, corriander, garlic and a bit of mint in your meat mixture. Keep an eye out all summer for discounted pita bread. Once you’re ready for gyros, slice the frozen loaf into meat slices(you should only need to use half a loaf per meal), brown up on a hot skillet, and serve on the pita! Wanna make it even more authentic? Make some tzatziki sauce to go with it. Yum!
How to make in the slow cooker: Place 2 slices of bread on the bottom of your slow cooker. Put your freezer meatloaf on top of the bread and baste with your favorite meatloaf topping(we use ketchup usually, but tomato sauce would be yummy, or you can just top with sliced onions…yum!). Turn your slow cooker on low and cook for 9 hours. After 9 hours, place a chopstick or a piece of foil in between the lid and the slow cooker insert. Let cook for another hour. This will help you get that crunchy top on the loaf. Or, if you don’t have 10 hours, place it on high for 6, and then place the chopstick or foil for half an hour.