Right picture: Front of the "house"
A few months ago, somebody on Reddit told me to make a Meatloaf gingerbread house. I don't remember which user made this suggestion, but all I have to say is "Thank you".
The only example of a savory gingerbread house I could find on YouTube is some video by Epic Meal Time a few years ago about a gingerbread house made entirely out of meat. I thought getting a few pieces of meatloaf and making an actual house of them would not only be frustrating, but the house probably wouldn't hold its shape together.
So I went back to my only memory of 1st grade- when we made actual(sweet) gingerbread houses using little milk cartons kids drink from in the cafeteria as the base and the glue was frosting. One of the things you could decorate the house with was some Froot Loops cereal. I kept eating the cereal and the teacher had to tell me to stop eating it several times. My 6-year old logic thought, "It's food. Why can't I eat it!?" This was back in 1996(yikes!).
So a memory that is almost two decades old helped me make this recipe, only with a much bigger base for a house.
I remember eating most of my aunt's gingerbread house by myself a few years ago. One year, I remember making my own gingerbread house at home based off a kit from this place near me called "Gingerbread University"(not an accredited university).
Today, I am in the middle of finishing off a finished gingerbread house I bought from a gourmet supermarket made entirely out of chocolate bars, Oreos, gum drops, peanut butter gingerbread men, and M&Ms. Of course, there isn't actually any gingerbread in the house; it's just a candy house. That's the correct term for it.
Gingerbread is one of the only Christmas food flavors I like, besides eggnog. Candy canes are gross to me and peppermint just tastes like toothpaste(I don't care if peppermint is edible, let's just leave that flavor for brushing teeth).
As for Christmas traditions, most of my family has Christmas dinner on the night of Christmas Eve and I don't go because I end up coming home around midnight. Instead, my dad and I usually visit my grandpa on Christmas Day for lunch and dessert. It's a change from the glutton-fest known as Thanksgiving.
I said in the video that since there's leftover meatloaf and vegetables, that can be its own dinner in itself, but for some reason my meatloaf was dry. I guess I needed more moisture in it besides the eggs and ketchup, but in any case, a dry meatloaf isn't appetizing.
You will need:
For the cooking equipment:
A lasagna pan
Nonstick cooking spray
A ceramic plate
A large bowl
For the meatloaf:
2/3 tbsp. of onion powder
2 beaten and whisked eggs
1/2 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of ketchup
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of paprika
1 tbsp. of real bacon bits
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 cup of crumbled up gingerbread cookies(about 4 cookies)
2-3 tbsp. of breadcrumbs
1 pound of 93% ground beef
For the house:
An empty 1-gallon milk carton
2 1/2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes(see helpful link)
1 cup of mixed vegetables
3 slices of cooked bacon
2 gingerbread men
For the meatloaf:
1. Put all the meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Mix the ingredients up so that all the ingredients are distributed evenly among the mixture.
3. Spray a lasagna pan with nonstick cooking spray.
4. Form 2 loaves from the meatloaf mixture.
5. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 60-65 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the house:
Note: You should decorate the house and prepare the ingredients for the house while the meatloaf is cooking.
1. Put some plastic gloves on for sanitary reasons.
2. Place some cooled mashed sweet potatoes on the ceramic plate. Flatten the potatoes out using the back of a spoon.
3. Put the milk carton on top of the mashed sweet potatoes so that the carton doesn't move around as you are decorating the house.
4. Cover the carton up with the mashed sweet potatoes. Make sure the mashed sweet potatoes are cool enough to the touch so that you won't burn your hands.
5. Ultimately, the house is yours so you can decorate it however you want but I placed some mixed vegetables(carrots, corn, peas, green beans) onto the mashed sweet potatoes as decorations. I also use some slices of bacon and some French-fried onions to represent some of the doors and windows of the house.
6. When the meatloaf is done cooking, let it rest for 10-15 minutes before breaking it apart.
7. Once you can break apart the meatloaf without burning your hands, place the pieces of meatloaf onto the mashed sweet potatoes and try to cover up the mashed sweet potatoes with the meatloaf pieces.
8. Top the roof with breadcrumbs, cinnamon, and BBQ sauce.
9. Place the 2 gingerbread men in front of the house. These are the edible "residents"!
10. Bon appetit!
Note 1: Milk cartons aren't microwavable and this house can serve at least three people, so to heat up any leftover food on the house, remove the food from the house and just microwave the food. I know it kept me really full and I only ate 1/3 of it!
Note 2: You're probably only going to end up covering the house with 4 ounces of the meatloaf and you might have some leftover vegetables, so I suggest you have the remaining food as a meal.