Meatloaf... the ultimate comfort food... a staple in homes all across America... and probably hundreds of versions... each cook putting his or her stamp on the recipe.
This recipe is for basic meat loaf and is my favorite... it evolved over the years from my original recipe. The original recipe was good… but I always felt I could it could be improved.... and so I tweaked and tweaked until I got it to what I wanted... combining ideas I found in cookbooks and magazines and suggestions from friends.
Here are some tips to making ... in my opinion.. a great Meatloaf..
Instead of using commercially prepared bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs…. I made my own from toast and buttery crackers (I used Ritz crackers)…
I use my beloved mini chopper to chop the toast and crackers, onion and parsley. Just pulse the chopper so the toast and cracker crumbs came out pretty fine…. like the crumbs you would buy commercially.
I like to add Worcestershire Sauce for that little bit of zing..
Sauteing the onion and garlic in a little margarine instead of putting them into the mixture raw give it a softer flavor.
You can lay a couple of slices of smoked bacon across the top.. that will add some wonderful flavor to your meatloaf.
You can also add a glaze ... it's optional... but I assure you ... very yummy!
You may also want to read my Tip about Making Meat Loaves Ahead.
Tips for cutting unnecessary fat... comfort food doesn't have to be unhealthy..
I have always used lean ground beef….
The recipe calls for 1 egg…. you can use egg substitute (Egg Beaters)…
And for the milk… I always use skim milk.
You should try it…. the result is as good as the fattier version…. no one will even know it’s good for them.
So here is my recipe for meat loaf….. I hope you try it!
Recipe: Homestyle Meatloaf
All you need:
2 pounds very lean beef
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
12 buttery crackers, crushed (I used Ritz)
4 slices white bread, toasted
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons skim milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
½ cup ketchup
All you need to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a food processor finely chop the toast…. Set aside in a bowl.
Using a food processor finely chop the buttery crackers…. Add to the toast crumbs.
Using a food processor finely chop the onion.
Mince the garlic cloves.
In a medium skillet, melt the butter or margarine.
Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.
Using a food processor finely chop fresh parsley leaves.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
Shape the meat loaf mixture into a large loaf and place into a roasting pan. Try and pat all cracks in the meat loaf until they are smooth.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
Turn the heat up to 400 degrees F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Let the meat loaf rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.
***If using the optional glaze... mix the brown sugar, yellow mustard and ketchup in a small bowl and spoon about 3/4 over the meatloaf before baking. Brush additional glaze over the meatloaf as it rests before slicing.
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