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When Glen and I would start cooking, the rest of our roommates would steer clear of the kitchen! Two tasmanian devils creating a whirlwind in the tiniest of spaces. A flurry of colors and flavors; yet if you looked closely it was almost a poetic ballet. I would be chopping to the left of the stove, then stirring something hot and bubbly, then spinning around to grab something from the fridge while Glen would bob and weave around me, do a pirouette and manage to attend to his three dishes simultaneously. And together…we would make magic!!

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We would all sit here and there, some at the dining room table, some popping a squat on the floor, others perching their plates on the laps and taking a spot on one of our couches or chairs. Ah, what I wouldn’t give to have one more chance to relive a night like that again, but alas that opportunity has been snatched from me forever. You see, Glen was in Libya last week and lost his life protecting others. He was a passionate, fun loving eternally smiling good guy who made friends wherever he roamed the earth. He was my best friend.

Today, our recipe combines two things that Glen really loved! Oats and Chili. He loved oats for their low caloric, yet high fiber and protein content. Oats are FILLED with many other nutrients and you can learn more about them here. Now, as far as chili is concerned, I never admitted it to him but he made a better batch than I ever could. I think it’s because he would make it with beer! Additionally, he would always incorporate tomatoes and beans (all great sources of heart healthy superfoods).

So in combining these two favorites, I masterminded a healthy meatloaf recipe which removes breads crumbs and replaces it with oatmeal. Tada!! Wish Glen could see me now, he’d be so proud. Glen, I know you’re up there (because you are a true angel) smiling down at me. I will miss you. You will forever be in my heart. Please take a moment to honor those that put their lives at risk so that we all may continue to live a life of freedom.

As we would say before we all sat down to eat our meal together, “rub a dub dub; thanks for the grub”!

~Chef Maria Sparks


Chili Meatloaf

Prep Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hrs 40 mins

Servings: 6


  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 large onions, chopped
  • 1 sweet red peppers or 1 green peppers, chopped (or 2 cups frozen peppers)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup drained red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. In a large bowl, beat egg with a fork.
  2. Add oats, salt and pepper.
  3. Gently mix in ground beef.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a large frying pan, heat oil on medium-high heat.
  6. Add onion; cook for 5 minutes or until softened.
  7. Add sweet pepper and chili powder.
  8. Cook for another 4 minutes.
  9. Let cool slightly and then add to beef mixture.
  10. Add kidney beans and salsa.
  11. Pack into an 8 by 4 inch loaf pan.
  12. Bake in preheated 350F (180C) degree oven for 60-75 minutes.
  13. Drain off fat.
  14. Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of meatloaf and return to oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.


NOTE – if you don’t have fresh ground beef, use 2 cans of beef chili without beans. Omit the onions and chili powder.

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