I don't know when I first started making meatloaf for Matt - or when I started venturing further and further away from my mother's recipe. All I know is Matt loves my meatloaf, the leftovers are awesome, and even my father-in-law has been known to chow one of our special meatloaf sandwiches. If that isn't ever recipe endorsement, I don't know what is.
So even though you may already have a meatloaf recipe that works for you, I will throw my own variation out there into the world of meatloaf mayhem, perchance that someone else will be tempted.
(makes 4 big servings - usually gets eaten half for dinner and half as leftovers)
1 lb ground beef (your choice - I usually use 80% lean, but 90% lean works, too)
...those are the only two ingredients that are measurable -the rest are "guesstimates"
approx 1/4 c (or more) pasta sauce of your choice (I prefer "four cheese" or "tomato garlic")
approx 1/4 c Italian seasoned bread crumbs
approx 1/8 c wheat germ
approx 1/8 c grated Parmesan cheese
approx 2 tbs coarsley chopped chive or garlic chives
1/2 small cooking onion, chopped
coarse ground pepper (coarser the better)
- Prepare a baking dish. I use a glass dish lined with foil, but you can use dish of your choice. It is best to prepare the dish first because you will be mixing this with your hands (works the best for this type of mixture -wear gloves if you like)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Place the ground beef into a large mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle the meat with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Add the egg, pasta sauce, chives and onion.
- At this point, I begin mixing everything together with my right hand, and have all the other ingredients opened and ready to add in with my left hand - that way only one hand gets all goopy.
- Your mixture is at it's wettest now - you will be adding the dry ingredients in as you mix, trying to bring it to the consistency you want.
- Add in fairly equal amounts of the cheese and wheat germ, then begin to add the seasoned bread crumbs, mixing as you go along. You may have to add more if your meat is particularly "wet". If you add too much dry ingredients, your mix will get crumbly and you will need to add more sauce. You want it so that it is sticky enough to hold together but firm enough to hold a loaf shape. (I know - really scientific here)
- Shape into a loaf and place into the pan. I tend to make my loaf squarish and flatten the top slightly -this shape works well later with the shape bread we usually get for our sandwiches.
- Now grab that coarse ground pepper -mine happens to be straight from the grinder - and cover the entire outside of the loaf with cracked black pepper. And I do mean cover!!!
- Bake for one hour - let rest 15 minutes - then serve.
Our standard go-to is cous-cous, frozen corn and perhaps a salad for the first go-round, although Matt whipped up a tasty side dish the night I took these photos that he will share with you soon.
Leftovers (and we DO plan on these)
Due to the long cooking time, meatloaf is usually planned for a non-working day, although we have been know to bake one late at night after our normal dinner and pop it right into the fridge for "planned leftovers."
But for the standard leftovers, our preference around here is sandwiches - crusty bread, provolone cheese, baby spinach and reheated meatloaf slices. Mmmm...
You can freeze this, too - after baking - if it gets that far.