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Maple syrup glazed meatloaf

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

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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