Make Maple-Syrup Glazed Meatloaf with egg white, bell pepper and frozen onion. thinkstock.com

By Linda Gassenheimer, Tribune News Service

This is the perfect time of year for meatloaf and potatoes. My secret for making a quick meatloaf is to bake it on a baking sheet, which allows hot air to circulate all around the meat for quick cooking.

To speed the baking of the sweet potatoes, I microwave them for 5 minutes and then finish baking them in the oven on the same baking sheet as the meatloaf.

Serve washed, ready-to-eat lettuce with shredded carrots and dressing to complete the meal.

Helpful Hints:

_ Look for 95 percent lean ground beef at the supermarket.

_ Fresh onion and green pepper can be used in the meatloaf. Dice and microwave them for a couple of minutes.

Countdown:

_ Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

_ Start meatloaf.

_ Make potatoes.

Shopping List:

To buy: 1 pound extra lean ground beef, 1 small bottle maple syrup, 2 sweet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), 1 bunch chives, 1 bottle ground sage, 1 container plain bread crumbs, 1 package frozen chopped onion and 1 package frozen chopped green bell pepper.

Staples: vegetable oil spray, egg, butter, salt and black peppercorns.

MAPLE SYRUP-GLAZED MEATLOAF

Vegetable oil spray

1/2 cup chopped frozen onion

1/2 cup chopped frozen green bell pepper

1 pound extra lean ground beef

2 teaspoons ground sage

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

3 tablespoons maple syrup, divided use

1 egg white

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place onion and green bell pepper in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 1 minute on high to defrost. Add beef to bowl. Add sage and bread crumbs. Mix all ingredients together. Add 2 tablespoons maple syrup, egg white and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Shape meat into 2 loaves, about 4 inches by 6 inches. Make sure oven is at 400 degrees and bake meat loaves 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup over top. Return to oven for 3 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 400 calories (26 percent from fat), 11.5 g fat (4.1 g saturated, 4.9 g monounsaturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 40.2 g protein, 32.5 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 245 mg sodium.

BAKED SWEET POTATOES

2 sweet potatoes (about 8 ounces each)

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup snipped chives

Wash potatoes and do not peel. Pierce them with fork to let the steam escape while cooking. Microwave 5 minutes. Place in oven with meat loaf for 5 minutes. Remove and cut a line down the center of each potato. Gently squeeze the ends to open. Add the butter and top with the chives.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 248 calories (21 percent from fat), 5.9 g fat (3.6 g saturated, 1.7 g monounsaturated), 16 mg cholesterol, 3.8 g protein, 46.0 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 183 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author, most recently, of “Simply Smoothies: Fresh & Fast Diabetes-Friendly Snacks & Complete Meals” and “Fast and Flavorful: Great Diabetes Meals from Market to Table” and “The Flavors of the Florida Keys.” Her website is dinnerinminutes.com. Follow her on Twitter @lgassenheimer.

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