Meatloaf and mashed potatoes has got to be high on the lists of many when it comes to comfort foods.
As a kid, I wasn't a huge fan of meatloaf and I think it was because I didn't love the way my mom made it. I'm pretty sure she just formed the ground beef into a loaf and poured some ketchup or bbq sauce on it and threw it in the oven. Blech! (Good thing my mom doesn't read my blog)
I have experimented A LOT with meatloaf trying to come up with the perfect mix of ingredients to get the flavor and texture I like. Much like my hamburgers, I want the meat in my meatloaf to taste good by itself. The sauce on the meatloaf is equally important. I like a sweet, ketchup-y based sauce not spaghetti sauce.
So....after many attempts, here is the recipe I use. My family loves my meatloaf. I like to serve it with mashed potatoes (of course) and a veggie.
Ok, let's talk cooking vessels for a moment. Many people cook their meatloaf in a loaf pan for obvious reasons. It gives you that loaf shape. I never use a loaf pan for meatloaf because the thought of it sitting in all that grease does not make me happy. Same reason I don't cook mine in any other shallow pan where the meat is sitting on the bottom. Swimming in grease. Yuck! I have this really nifty "Meatloaf Pan". Yep. That's exactly what it's called. I'm not usually a fan of kitchen equipment that only serves one purpose, but this one is worth it! Plus, technically you could take the insert out and bake bread in the pan! This loaf pan has an insert with holes so you place your meatloaf on the insert and all of the grease and fat drops to the bottom of the pan as it cooks leaving the meatloaf with a delicious, crusty exterior! Genius! Oh and the whole thing is non-stick too which means it's very easy to clean! I know these aren't too difficult to find but if you don't have one and don't want to buy one, I would recommend using a broiler pan instead. Same effect.
All you do is mix up your meatloaf ingredients, form it into a loaf and put it into the pan. Then mix up your sauce and pour some over the top. I always put some of the sauce aside before doing this so I can add more to mine when it's done. Did I mention how yummy this sauce is?
And here it is!
Meatloaf is a great make ahead meal also. Sometimes I'll make my meatloaf (uncooked), wrap it up in plastic wrap, then mix up all the sauce ingredients and put that in a small ziplock baggie, then put the sauce and the meatloaf together in a gallon size ziplock and put it in the fridge. Then when I get home from work all I have to do is put it into the pan. It's so quick and easy! You have to add about 15 minutes to the cooking time if you do this though since it's starting out so cold.
I hope you give this recipe a try and I hope your family loves it as much as mine does!
1/2 Cup bread crumbs
2 tbs. ketchup
1 tbs. dried minced onion
1 tbs. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. ground beef
For the Sauce:
1/4 Cup ketchup
1/4 Cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cider vinegar
Mix together the first seven ingredients. Add ground beef and mix to combine. Form into a loaf and place in pan. Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the top of the meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.