I got a comment on Facebook after I posted The Gyro Meatloaf Recipe about scaling down the recipe. The recipe is for a 3 pound meatloaf. My short answer was of course you can scale it down, but why would you?
It takes less than one hour to make a one pound meatloaf. That is heating the oven, mixing everything together and cooking time. A two pound meatloaf still takes one hour. As does a three pound meatloaf. So I make my meatloaf using 3 pounds of meat, because my baking tray isn’t suited to cook 4 pounds of meat.
Meatloaf is perfect for leftovers and for freezing. If you could interview my refrigerator, it would tell you that over 90% of the days in the last year I’ve had a meatloaf chilling inside her. *Are refrigerators feminine?
Cost and Time
Because I live in the Pacific Northwest, I can get grass pastured ground beef for about $6/lb. Add in a little onion, garlic and spices and a three pound meatloaf comes in at about $20 in material costs. If you use conventional beef, it will cost half that. For this example, let us say that the average portion is 1/3 of a pound or 5.33 ounces. That is 35 healthy grams of protein for just $2.22 (grass pastured) or $1.11 (conventional).
What is the cooking time per meal, assuming a portion size of 1/3 pound? Since each meatloaf takes an hour, a one pound meatloaf takes 20 minutes per portion. A two pound meatloaf takes 10 minutes per portion. A three pound meatloaf takes just 6.7 minutes per portion. Time economics dictate that you should cook the larger sized meatloaf.
Eating healthy on a consistent basis is not just picking the right food, it is also about balancing time and money. The meatloaf is slam dunk winner on time, money and nutrition. And meatloaf is also portable. I often will wrap a few pieces in foil and take them with me in a little cooler.
Now I am thinking that I need to buy another Pyrex tray. Two 3 pound meatloafs knock my time per meal down to 3.3 minutes. 🙂