Mike (our resident carnivore) has a hard time adjusting to alternative protein sources and loves comfort food like traditional meat loaf so, I sometimes make a small batch, just for him, using mini-loaf tins, as a treat.
Simple Protein Substitutes

I used a small amount (1/2 lb) of organic, local beef for this recipe (as well as an egg) and added about 1 cup of finely cut oatmeal (any whole grain, finely cut, will work) to stretch the beef; but for those members of the family who minimize their consumption of animal proteins, you may want to try the following substitutions:

For a Vegetarian meal, follow the recipe below, instead of beef, use crumbled tofu with oats & eggs. For a Vegan meal, use crumbled tofu with oats, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil as a light binder. These alternatives are easy, tasty, and often more budget friendly than beef.


I rubbed the mini loaf pans lightly with olive oil . To stretch the beef, I combine it with about 1 cup steel rolled Irish oats~adding one egg; salt, pepper; 1 small onion (very finely chopped or grated) or substitude with 1/4 cup or so dehydrated onions; 1 small clove garlic finely minced; quarter cup tomato sauce, or catsup, or 3 or 4 TBS of tomato paste, whatever you have on hand; a dash of cumin (my dash is about 1/2 tsp); a dash of dried thyme; a dash of dried oregano; 1 TBS soy sauce. Cook in a 350% oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.


Ingredients are in the bowl, the pans oiled and ready.


Out of the oven, I carefully take it from the pans
(loosening the sides first). Then I plate it next to home-made mashed potatoes and then top it with a simple brown gravy. It'll be served with marinated Persian cucumber slices
and a side salad.
Home Made Take-Out!

Working Ahead of Need tm

Often times, while I prepare a plate for Mike's dinner, I serve up another plate or two for the freezer (using recycled take-out containers from our favorite Chinese restaurant--a frugal luxury!). This is part of my working ahead of need philosophy. This way I have only one prep and one clean up for four meals! As well , knowing there are a few pre-made dinners in the freezer for Mike, helps on those nights when Rosie and I are busy.
Oh, did I mention the money saving aspect of this simple tactic?