Friday, January 3, 2020

Meatloaf, Mastered

I have always loved a good meatloaf. Growing up, it was one of the meals my mom made so well, and I loved when it was on the menu. 

Pork chops? Not so much. Dad liked them very well done, and it was like trying to chew the sole off the bottom of my shoe. 

But meatloaf? That was a treat! 

When I had my own apartment, I thought I could make meatloaf better by adding a bunch of random ingredients and spices into the mix. It was awful, and I called Mom to find out how she made hers. 

Through the years, I have improved the technique, and slightly edited the recipe, to come up with what I believe is the PERFECT meatloaf. 

When ground beef went on sale at my local market recently, it was the perfect time to make a big batch of meatloaf for the freezer....and lucky for you I actually wrote down the recipe! 

Here's what you'll need: 
3 large or extra large eggs
2 cups of milk
3 tsp garlic, minced
3 tsp concentrated tomato paste
3 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
2 large onions
4 1/2 lbs ground beef (I used 80% lean)
Salt and pepper to taste

Ok here we go - making the very best meatloaf! 


I started with three large eggs in the bottom of my Kitchen Aid stand mixer's bowl. If you don't have a stand mixer, you will have to use a very large mixing bowl and whisk the eggs. 


I started up the mixer on medium to whip up the eggs, then added 2 cups of fat free milk.You can use whatever milk you have, although I can't vouch for soy or almond type milks. 


While the mixer was running, I added in 3 teaspoons of concentrated tomato paste. If you don't have concentrated paste, I would double it for standard tomato paste. 

Next went salt and pepper, to taste. I went easy on the salt, heavy on the pepper. 

Into the egg/milk mixture I put three cups of seasoned breadcrumbs and mixed on low to combine. 

Let the breadcrumb mixture sit for a few minutes, to soak up all the liquid. That's what makes your meatloaf extra moist.


Next up, two large onions, finely chopped.  Don't forget to save the scraps in the freezer for your homemade broth!


I use my handy-dandy Cuisinart mini chopper to chop onions and garlic. 

Remember - work smarter, not harder. 


The onions went into the breadcrumb mixture, along with 3 teaspoons of garlic, minced. 

Let the mixer do the work, and then begin adding the ground beef a little at a time. 

My mixer couldn't quite handle the entire 4 1/2 lbs....but it managed about 4 lbs of beef, and the rest I mixed in by hand. 


When the mixer was full to overflowing, I dumped the mixture into a very large mixing bowl, and mixed in the last bit of ground beef by hand. 

I was hoping to avoid that part....but it couldn't be helped. 

On a side note, I seriously LOVE this mixing bowl. I got it during a great sale at Sur La Table a while back, and I'm obsessed. It's the perfect size for mixing, and the sides are sloped perfectly. Love, love, love!! Sur La Table doesn't have the red one any more, sadly....but here's one in another color. 


Anyway.....moving on! 

Next I covered a baking tray with foil, and laid out 4 more pieces of heavy duty foil on the counter. 


I divided the mixture up into 5 somewhat even portions, and formed them into loaves. 


Four got wrapped for the freezer, and one was going to become that night's dinner. 

I added about 3 tbs barbecue sauce to the top of the one to be baked that evening. 


I used my silicone basting brush to brush the bbq sauce evenly over the top and sides of the meatloaf. 

You can also use a clean, unused paintbrush for this purpose, as I did prior to getting my silicone basting brush. 


I love knowing I have 4 more meatloaves in the freezer, ready for a quick and easy comfort food dinner on a busy day. 

I'm only cooking for two these days, so I was able to make the loaves just the right size for two dinners and two lunches the next day. You may need to make yours a bit bigger, depending on who is gathered around your table. 


I baked the meatloaf at 350 degrees for about an hour, while I made some mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas to go with it.

Do you remember what I told you about making mashed potatoes? The magic gadget to make the most wonderful, creamiest mashed potatoes? 

A potato ricer. Yup, no peeling involved, gotta love it. 


For the gravy, I make a simple gravy as follows: 

Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add in 3 tsp Lower Sodium Better than Boiullon Beef flavor.

Simmer for a couple of minutes, add Wondra to thicken. Add a teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet for color and flavor. Do not add extra salt, but add pepper if you'd like.


And voila! The quintessential perfectly perfect meatloaf dinner. 

Heaven on a plate, right there. 

And four more in the freezer, ready to whip up at a moment's notice. 

Simple, homemade, comfort food. Budget friendly, and oh so delicious. 

What could be better than that? 


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30 comments:

  1. That looks yummy!! I love a good meatloaf. Im going tti try this next week! Thanks for the tip, I hadn't thought of making extra for the freezer. Ur Awesome!@

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    1. I always make at least three, Donna....let's face it, meatloaf is a bit of work, best to make it worth it!

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  2. Yours sounds great! I make mine with ketchup instead of paste, but basically the rest is the same. We usually serve ours with baked potato and green beans.

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    1. Simple is best when it comes to meatloaf, Penny - clearly we have similar cooking styles!! :)

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  3. That's how my mom makes hers, too, only she adds fresh parsley and doesn't baste with sauce. I'll have to try that! I always mix mine with my hands, though - echoes of my Nonna! ;) And I love leftover meatloaf sandwiches too

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    1. I used to mix with my hands, but I really hate the feel of the meat getting under my nails! The first time I tried using my mixer for the task I was hooked!!

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  4. We love meatloaf, too. I've never used milk in mine, I'll give your recipe a try next time! I do agree with seasoned breadcrumbs - I use an Italian seasoned breadcrumb. -Jenn

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    1. Same!! I love the way it smells when it's mixed in with the meat, too!

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  5. I use Katharine Hepburns Fenwick Meatloaf recipe, also a good one. You are so efficient with make ahead meal planning - this is something I've never been particularly good at and it's common sense.

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    1. Oooh I'll have to look that one up! I'm always interested in how other people make their meatloaf. I forget whose recipe I read that mentioned the milk and the soaking of the breadcrumbs....I know some people saute the onions and garlic before mixing them in, and I tried that once but feel it's an unnecessary step. Meal planning definitely makes work nights a heck of a lot easier, that's for sure! So if I can whip up a big batch of something on a weekend, and add it to the stash in the freezer, that works really well for my busy work week.

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  6. So similar to my recipe, now I just need to get busy and make some. Looks so delicious.

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    1. Make sure you make an extra one for the freezer, Marty!

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  7. Meatloaf is my comfort food and this looks delish. Thanks for sharing. Love that red bowl too.

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    1. Me, too, PJ, and it's one of Sweetie's favorite meals, so I make it fairly often in winter.

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  8. Deb this looks so good. My fave meal. Meatloaf, peas and mash potatoes. Yum! Great winter meal.
    I love meatloaf cold for a sandwich too. Happy New Year.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. I haven't had a meatloaf sandwich in eons, Kris - I'm going to have to give it another try!

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  9. I loved meatloaf sandwiches like Penny does! This looks delightfully good and I wish I had four in my freezer.
    Brenda

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    1. It's not difficult to make, Brenda - I'm sure you could manage it quite easily!

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  10. Debbie, I haven't had meatloaf in eons! I think I made it so often when my kids were growing up that I just got tired of it. 😊 They loved it, especially with mashed potatoes and leftovers for sandwiches was a must! You've inspired me and I want to thank you!

    xo
    Pat

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    1. Well I hope that you once again discover your love for meatloaf, Pat!

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  11. We like meatloaf here too and I use my Mom's recipe. Copying your gravy recipe. Thanks. Nancy

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    1. I guess when it comes to meatloaf moms truly know best, don't they Nancy?

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  12. Yummy! I love meatloaf, and use a recipe that was my mom' standard - very similar. Love it cold too! Cracker Barrel makes a good meatloaf. :)

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    1. I've only been to Cracker Barrel once in my life, and I loved it Rita! I have no clue what I ate, but it was good....and that shop with the rocking chairs, love it!

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  13. Yum! Meatloaf is one of my favorites, especially in winter (to the dismay of my vegetarian and vegan kids!).

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    1. That's rough, Kim. My older daughter was a gluten free vegan for a while, that made it tough to cook for her. Now she just sticks to gluten free and not much dairy - much easier!

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  14. Debbie, We love meatloaf, seriously a great comfort food. I use the recipe where oats are added in place of breadcrumbs, but I really love your idea of make more than one at a time. Duh, why haven't I done that before.

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    1. It's somehow such a comfort to me to know that I have spare meatloaves in the freezer! I'm almost wishing I left one out for tonight's dinner....but I have another plan!

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