“Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington,” season 3, episode 2
When choosing a recipe for the first ever Cooking The Simpsons, I decided to start with one of my (many) favorite episodes that has a memorable dish that also seemed, well, doable. You have to warm up to the truly weird ones.
From the season 3 episode “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington,” Little Meatloaf Men are, simply put, meatloaf in the shape of gingerbread men with vegetable eyes and mouth. With nothing more to go on than the title and image, I felt free to create a tasty meatloaf recipe with classic flavors. We all know that Marge is, by and large, a traditional gal, and while she feeds her family well, she sticks to the classics. Read the rest of the article here.
Little Meatloaf Men
special equipment: gingerbread man cookie cutter
1 lb 80/20 ground beef
½ medium onion, grated or small diced (about ½ cup)
½ green bell pepper, small diced (about ½ cup. Reserve a small chunk for decorating)
1 large garlic clove (or 2 small cloves), minced
1 heaping cup small diced mushrooms (cremini or button)
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup finely grated parmesan
2 T ketchup
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook 2-3 more minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook 3-4 minutes more, until vegetables are cooked through and onion is translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, ketchup, mustard, and worcestershire.
- Add the beef, panko, parmesan, salt and pepper, and cooked vegetables. Mix until well combined but do not overwork the mixture, or you’ll end up with tough meatloaf dudes.
- Lightly spray the inside and outside of your gingerbread man cookie cutter.
- Place cookie cutter on the lined baking sheet where you want to place your first man. Use a spoon or your hands to fill with the meatloaf mixture, making sure you don’t move around the cutter too much. Pack tightly, and be sure to get into all of the appendages.
- To remove the cookie cutter, use one hand to lightly press the mixture down while lifting the cookie cutter up (see photo below). Keep an eye on the arms and legs. Repeat this process until you’re out of meatloaf mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.
- Let cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Optional: once cool enough that they won’t break apart, you can move them to a paper-towel lined plated to soak up a bit of the grease.
- Once on a serving plate, cut little mouths out of your excess bell pepper, and little eyes out of the jarred pimentos. Decorate and serve.
Notes: Be sure to chop the veggies small—it’ll help your meatloaf men keep their shape. Don’t overmix and don’t over bake. Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, these will only take about 20 minutes to cook (I had a small/standard sized gingerbread man cookie cutter packed to the top, and mine cooked up perfectly in 20 minutes flat).