Just before I made the big move to New Mexico, my boyfriend called me:
“I have a surprise for you. I bought a deep freezer….
…and a cow to go in it.”
As creepy as this probably sounds, that was one of the best surprises I ever could have gotten. Consuming organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef is something that is important to the both of us: in addition to the health benefits such as ensuring that we do not ingest hormones, diseased tissue, or a sick animal (umm, gross), we also are doing our part to support the small farmers of the U.S., cutting costs, AND contributing to a more sustainable environment by having a lesser carbon footprint. I call that one a win-win-win-win-win.
Christopher found this farmer through a family connection, and discovered we had the options to choose a quarter, half, or a full cow. Seeing that a quarter of a cow takes up almost a full deep freezer, we decided that that would be enough for us, especially since it is just the two of us chipping away at all that red meat. The purchase of a cow came with some preferences for what cuts we would like processed (round shank, rump roast, strip steak, ground beef, t-bone, etc.), but we also had the option to receive the bones, which we took happily off their hands. (Beef stock for days!)
All in all, the half-cow cost approximately $500 for about 200 pounds of high-quality, grass-fed, organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised beef. Roughly, this comes out to $2.50 a pound, which is a stark, affordable contrast to previously paying upwards of $8-12/pound in D.C, and $7-11/pound in the southwest. If you’re serious about the quality of your meat while staying on a budget, buying in bulk is the way to go. I never thought that half of a cow would be one of the best ever gifts from a boyfriend. Cheers, cavemen and cavewomen, cheers. Demand cows for gifts, not flowers and chocolate.
So now, I present with you with one of my newest creations, which evolved out of an attempt to eat our 50 pounds (yes, 50) of ground beef. This meatloaf is a great weeknight meal since it is incredibly easy to make, and reheats well. It is great packed as lunch, and serves as a delicious comfort food. Most meatloaf recipes use flour or breadcrumbs, but this one is safely grain-free, as it only uses eggs and almond flour to make the mixture stick together. When I first made this, I had some guests over for dinner, including a 6 year old and an 8 year old, and they happily ate this with gusto. (I can therefore say that this is kid-approved!) I really think that what makes this dish is the paleo Worcestershire sauce that I made specifically for this meatloaf, although I can imagine that natural and organic store-bought is fine, as long as it isn’t packed with chemicals. I also have made this recipe in mini bread loaf pans, which I think are whimsical, although there really doesn’t make a difference aside from baking time.
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- ½ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 4 tbsp. tomato paste, divided
- 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. ground onion powder
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 1 tbsp. ghee
- Coconut oil spray for pans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix ground beef and all ingredients except for 2 tbsp. of the tomato paste and ghee in a large bowl.
- Spray two bread loaf pans with coconut oil spray.
- Fill each bread pan with ground beef mixture, pat down into pan to make sure that the meat is even in the pan. If you are using mini pans, you will need 6.
- Mix remaining 2 tbsp. tomato pasta and ghee in a bowl. Once mixed, spread the tomato paste and ghee mixture on top of the meatloaf.
- Place meatloaf on the center rack of the oven, and bake for approximately 90 minutes. If using a mini bread pan, bake for about 40 minutes. Meatloaf is done when loaf is a dark brown on top and the sides have pulled away.