Although I enjoy a good meatloaf from time to time, I’ve got to admit that my kids do not…never have, never will. Course, now that they have all flown the nest…I do occasionally find myself satisfying a yen for a good ole homemade meatloaf.
Back when I had my food shop, Country Cuisine, meatloaf day was a sell out. Although we baked them early in the day meaning them to be for take home dinners, by lunch time we would sell out. As soon as clients walked into the shop and caught a whiff of the aroma of baking meatloaf, everyone wanted a meatloaf sandwich. I was often surprised by how popular this dish was, and admit that we rarely had any left for the meatloaf dinners that we had planned!
Meatloaf is a recipe that I consider a basic foundation, meant to be embellished on a whim depending upon what’s leftover or what your tastebuds are craving. Sometimes it takes on the specter of an Italian meatloaf, sometimes there is a definite Mexican flair to the seasonings, and often there is just a basic, no nonsense, downhome, comfort-food Americana taste.
The binder is important, as you want the loaf to remain a loaf and not fall apart. If I have stale bread, I use that. If not, I often use Quick Oats instead, which is a taste I grew up on. Sometimes I have half a green pepper that I chop and toss in, sometimes I add shredded cheddar cheese for a change. No matter what it’s ingredients, ketchup is always my choice of condiments to accompany my meatloaf.
Leftover meatloaf is even better than the freshly baked version. A meatloaf sandwich or a grilled slice for a quick meal the next day is really why meatloaf is made.
- 2 lbs 85/15 ground beef
- 1 large onion minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs or oatmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon favorite mustard
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, just until combined. Do not over mix, as this toughens the meat. Shape into a loaf, free form on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment. You can coat the top with ketchup if you wish. I don’t, preferring the crunchiness of a baked crust…and serving my ketchup on the side.
Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.