What? A five-year old loving my meatloaf? You’ve got to be kidding me! But earlier in the day (while at the meat market picking up the steaks) the little guy (almost three) said nearly the identical thing. So that makes two young’uns enjoying my meatloaf and asking me to make it again.
This cracks me up cuz nowadays most people do not like casserole-type meals, the kind where everything is mushed together to form one dish or one loaf or one anything. And kids especially don’t want their various food items to touch.
When I grew up meatloaf was an expected and enjoyed dinner entrée and for the most part I loved it but my mom did have a tendency to overcook meats sometimes. So when the meatloaf was overcooked, yuck! It became a hard lump of unrecognizable substance that even a knife had trouble penetrating.
I think that’s what most people think of the minute you mention meatloaf. No wonder they’re afraid to try it. Or they think of something smothered in a ketchup-like sauce, sweet enough for dessert. Well, my meatloaf is neither. And while I know it’s probably not very healthy, it’s definitely yummy to eat.
Just writing about it has my mouth watering so I’m going to share the recipe with you. And it really does end up looking a bit like the picture above – unadorned but delish! Try it sometime and let me know what you think. And maybe share your own recipe for your family-favorite meatloaf. Believe me, I’m no meatloaf snob. I like ‘em all – sauce covered, plain, with surprises inside (my grandmother used to line up hard boiled eggs in the middle and you got a piece of egg in every slice).
As Julia Child would say “Bon Appetit.”
(Before we get started – this is very forgiving. I began making it with 3lbs of meat because we had a family of four and enjoyed lots of leftovers. You can cut the meat down to 2 lbs. easily. Don’t go much less because then you won’t have any for sandwiches or another dinner meal later in the week.)
Mimi’s Marvelous Meatloaf
2-3 lbs. ground beef/chuck (yes, you can use a meatloaf meat mixture if you like)
1 egg beaten
Bunch of shakes of Worcestershire Sauce (can’t go wrong here-shake to taste)
½ can any brand cream of mushroom soup (can use cream of celery, cream of chicken, etc.)
Several shakes of seasoned salt
Bunch of Italian flavored breadcrumbs, not Panko
Whisk all wet ingredients together, toss in meat, mixing with hands. Add breadcrumbs by the handful, mixing well until you receive the desired consistency. I like it very moist but not wet. After all, I’m trying to get this to form a loaf. Add breadcrumbs until you can form the meat mixture into a shape that holds. Shape into a traditional loaf. (If I’ve used 3 lbs. of meat I’ll make two smaller loaves, one for the freezer.)
Place loaf in a baking dish and add ¼ to ½ cup of water. This keeps the fat drippings from spitting all over your oven. Do not cover. Just bake at 350 or 375 degrees for about an hour. If you make a thick meatloaf it will take all of the hour but if you make a flatter one it may cook in as little as 45 minutes. To test for doneness, simply cut into the middle to make sure it’s barely or no longer pink.
When done, remove from oven and transfer to a plate or cutting board. Slice as you desire and serve it up. (My lust is the ends. I try to keep them for myself.)
Enjoy it as-is though diehard meatloaf fans may insist on a drizzle of ketchup.
Freezes well cooked or uncooked. If uncooked, thaw completely then bake as above. And this makes the best sandwiches! Hope you enjoy.