Sunday, November 9, 2014

meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf . . .

We're getting into the season for watching A Christmas Story!  My favorite scene is where the mom keeps trying to sit down to eat while her kids and husband continually ask her to get stuff for them from the kitchen.  The narrator says, "My mom hadn't had a hot meal for herself in 15 years."  So true, so true.  I also love when Ricky, the little brother, is complaining about how much he hates meatloaf.

When we bought our half cow last spring (I still have to tell you about that, don't I?), we got a lot of ground beef.  It's sort of the nature of the thing.  Not every part of a cow is fit to be sliced up into steaks.  A lot of it is scrap and bits that need to just be all tossed together and ground up.  In our menu plans, ground beef figures prominently.  We eat it one night a week, usually on Tuesdays.  There are a lot of things you can do with ground beef!  Burgers, Korean beef, chili, hamburger corn pone (this is an amazing Southern dish I will write up soon!), meat sauce for pasta, beef tacos, BBQ beef, shepherds pie, or . . . meatloaf.

I have a few tricks I incorporate into a standard Better Homes & Gardens meatloaf recipe, so check it out:

Classic Meatloaf
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 C breadcrumbs (3/4 C if totally dry, 2 C if totally soft - see below)
1/4 C grated onion
1 T dried parsley (or 3 T fresh)
1 t salt
1/2 t dried oregano (or 1 1/2 t fresh)
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 C ketchup
1/4 C sucanat or brown sugar
2 t yellow mustard

Makes 6-8 servings.

Oven 350 F.

Start by mixing the eggs and milk in a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs.  This is a great time to use up that heel of your homemade sourdough loaf, or the cracker crumbles at the bottom of your yogurt dough cracker bag.  If your bread is very fresh and moist, aim for 2 cups of crumbs.  If your bread is stale, aim for 1 cup of crumbs.  If you are using cracker crumbs or the fine breadcrumbs you buy in a canister from the store (which I don't recommend!), do 3/4 cup.  If you are making your own, just whiz it up in the food processor.

Add the onion.  This is one of my tricks.  You never properly cook the onions in a meatloaf, and you don't want to crunch into a big chunk of onion while you're eating.  So grate them on a box grater (I have a little tiny one - isn't it cute?!), and then add the grated onion and juice to the bowl.

Add the parsley, salt, and oregano.

Mix well, then add the ground beef.  Mix it all very thoroughly with your hands.

Now, here is another one of my tricks.  Honestly, my favorite part of the meatloaf is the outer crust glazed with sweetened ketchup.  I want more surface area. I don't use a loaf pan, because it limits my crust.  I also make mine into two loaves, because one again - more surface area for glaze!  So shape your meat mixture into two equally-sized loaves on a baking sheet.

Pop it into a 350 oven for an hour or so, until they read 160 F on a thermometer.  Meanwhile, mix together the ketchup (a great time to use your own homemade ketchup!), sucanat/brown sugar, and mustard.

After the loaves are up to temperature, paint them with the ketchup glaze.  Put them back into the oven for ten more minutes, then let them rest for ten minutes before enjoying!

\[This post submitted to the Homestead Barn Hop 11/10/14, Real Food Wednesday 11/12/14, and Pennywise Platter 11/20/14.]

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