I decided to make meatloaf last weekend for 2 reasons. The first was that I've had a craving for some meatloaf. The second was my excuse to actually make it- my father in law was in town and meatloaf is one of his favorite foods. I hadn't used any recipes lately and meatloaf is always a dish that I like to test out new recipes with. Its such a varied dish that can taste so differently depending on the preparation and its also one that I usually like in any way, shape or form. Meatloaf was one of the first dishes that I learned to make by using a recipe in my Betty Crocker Junior Cookbook. There was a basic recipe for Frosted Meatloaf that used ground beef, BBQ sauce, oats, and eggs for the loaf. You bake it and top with mashed potatoes and a few slices of American cheese and put it back in the oven to finish off. I used to love this and made it all the time! For some reason the idea of this repulses Shawn, so its not my go-to recipe by any standards. I do, however, always make it a goal to have leftovers and top those with mashed potatoes and cheese the next day. Forget turkey/ stuffing/ cranberry combos. This is the #1 leftover combo in my book!
For this particular recipe I wanted something simple and with "normal" ingredients because I had been attending food events all weekend and eating a plethora of exotic foods. Finding new, untried, recipes is getting tougher and tougher. A lot of the ones that I wanted to try, I've already tried! I went back to a newer book that I've been frequenting with the fun titles and found this one. I love that it includes some veggies and has a ketchup based sauce.
I preheated the oven to 375 and lined a baking dish with parchment paper, coating it with cooking spray. One of the reasons that I like to try new recipes is to gain new cooking methods. Sometimes I like them better, sometimes they're not as good as ones I've already tried. I really like my own method of cooking on a rack lined with foil that has holes cut in it to allow the fat to drain. It's already proven to be a winner but I don't know everything so I always like to go with the recommended method when making a "recipe" dish. After the pan was ready, I got started with the prepping. The instructions calls for sauteeing the veggies before adding them to the meatloaf. This is something that I've started doing for a while. I really like it. It softens the veggies and helps them blend well into the other ingredients. I sauteed the onion, garlic, and a bay leaf for about 5 minutes while I chopped up some red bell pepper and parsley. I didn't have fresh thyme, as requested, but substituted dried. If you've not done this before, it's usually about a third of the required fresh herb. I added this all to the onion mixture and sauteed for another few minutes. Discarded the bay leaf, scraped into a bowl to cool, and set aside.
In a large bowl, I combined the meat (one part beef/pork/veal, one part lean ground beef) with lightly scrambled egg, fresh breadcrumbs, ketchup, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and the onion mixture.
Confession: About a year ago I "accidentally" took a box of disposable gloves from the kitchen at work. They are absolutely awesome for things like this.
Once the meat was mixed well, I shaped it on the parchment. I had doubled the recipe, to ensure leftovers, and made 2 loaves for baking. We all love the ends of the meatloaf, so this ensures more ends for people to enjoy! I baked the meatloaf for about an hour and tested it. Still a little shy of 165, so I glazed it with a touch of ketchup and put it back in for another 15 minutes. Took it out and let it sit for about 10 minutes while I got the rest of the meal together. The "rest of the meal" was the Boston Market side dishes that I had run out to get during the final stages of meatloaf cooking because I didn't feel like cooking anything. Lazy mama at her best!
It sliced up well and tasted great!! The red peppers added a nice sweetness to the dish and the meatloaf was really moist. I'm glad that I made 2 loaves, because we ended up saving the second for leftovers. I had my leftover special (mmmmmm) and we had dinner another night by making meatloaf sandwiches with cheddar bread from a local bakery and some barbecue sauce.
I'll still keep browsing around with recipes- not to find the perfect one but just because I like trying different meatloafs. I mean, who doesn't love meatloaf?