Meat Loaf in a Flash

<i> Storer is a former food editor of the Cincinnati Post. </i>

A one-pound ground beef meat loaf cooks in the microwave oven in about 10 minutes on HIGH. The same loaf in the conventional oven would take 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees.

A loaf made of a pound of ground beef will make twice the amount needed for most couples, but many meat loaves, especially Mexican-Style Meat Loaf Wedges, are excellent to slice and serve cold. An innovative cook tells me she uses leftover meat loaf in her stuffed baked potatoes. Meat loaves offer unlimited variations, and with the microwave oven they are almost a convenience food.

For even cooking in most ovens, the meat loaf mixture should be spread in a thick patty in a glass pie plate. If you prefer to use a glass loaf dish, start the loaf cooking on HIGH for three to four minutes, then finish on a lower setting of 70% power for 10 or 12 minutes, or on 50% power for about 15 minutes. This will give an even heat distribution in the thicker mass of meat.



1 egg

1/2 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 (1 1/4- or 1 1/2-ounce) envelope taco seasoning

1 pound ground beef

1 (1- to 1 1/2-ounce) package plain or cheese-flavored tortilla chips, crushed

1/4 cup shredded Jack or Cheddar cheese

Shredded lettuce

Tomato slices

Avocado slices

Beat egg lightly in 1 1/2-quart bowl. Add tomato sauce, taco seasoning, ground beef and tortilla chips. Mix thoroughly with sturdy fork.


Turn meat mixture into 9-inch glass pie plate, pressing lightly (do not compact) into round patty about 1 inch thick, leaving 1/2 inch space between meat and sides of dish. Cover with wax paper. Microwave on HIGH 8 to 10 minutes, giving pie plate half-turn midway through cooking.

Remove dish from oven and sprinkle cheese evenly over meat. Cover tightly with foil. Let stand 5 minutes for cheese to melt.

Cut loaf in 4 or 5 wedges. Place small serving of crisp shredded lettuce and tomato and avocado slices alongside each wedge. Makes 4 to 5 servings.