Smokey Bacon Meatloaf

I finally got tired of my trips to the salad bar (pretty much the only thing I've been eating lately are homemade salad or salads made from the bar at my local grocery store!) and made a real meal the other night! I have been avoiding trying to heat my oven a lot, which would make my apartment uncomfortably warm, thus forcing my AC to work even harder. Also, I have been busy with work and I don't want to take the time to clean up my kitchen after eating. Well, there is nothing like a home-cooked meal when you are stressed, so I finally broke down and made a real meal. A spicy, smokey meatloaf with the ever-delicious bacon! This is definitely not your standard, dried-out meatloaf! Not only is this meal comforting, cooking for me is such a great stress reliever, so there were multiple benefits to preparing this! On the side was just buttered, steamed broccoli.

Smokey Bacon Meatloaf
Printable Recipe

4 slices nitrite-free bacon, chopped
2/3 cup finely chopped onion, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 1/4 lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tsp paprika, regular or smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder, such as ancho chili powder or any other sweet and smokey chili powder blend
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Add the chopped bacon to a small saucepan and cook the bacon until it is opaque and has just begun to brown and has rendered fat. Using a slotted spoon, extract the bacon pieces and add them to a medium bowl. Keep the saucepan warm to make the sauce later.
3. Mix the cooked bacon, when cool enough to handles, with the beef, half the onion, the bell pepper, egg, almond meal, paprika, chili powder, oregano, cumin and black pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend until just mixed; do not over-mix of the meat will be tough.
4. Press the meat mixture into a loaf pan. You can also shape the mixture into a loaf shape on a rimmed sheet pan or glass baking pan. You can line the pan with parchment or parchment-lined foil for easier cleanup and to help remove the meatloaf.
5. Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes.
6. While the meatloaf is baking, start the sauce. In the saucepan with the reserved bacon drippings over medium heat, add the remaining onion and cook until lightly brown, about 5 min. Add the tomatoes and water and lower heat to simmer for the remaining time the meatloaf cooks.
7. After the meatloaf has cooked 45 min, add the syrup and vinegar to the sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper, and spoon it over the meat. Return the meatloaf to the oven for 5 min for the sauce to set and for the meat to cook all the way through.
8. Allow the meatloaf to rest a full 10 min before attempting to remove it from the pan or to cut it. Serve slices of meatloaf with the pan drippings at the bottom.


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