We all know about meatloaf. It was a way to stretch a small amount of meat into a full meal by adding breadcrumbs, an egg, sometimes milk, and maybe some vegetables. There are hundreds of recipes. But here is ours. This main dish has lots of room for variations and favorite ingredients.
You will need a pan to put the meatloaf in for cooking. Many recipes call for a loaf pan, such as one would use to bake bread. But prefer something a bit bigger and more open, but deep enough to keep any grease from spilling all over the over. You can even use a rimmed cookie sheet. We like an 8-by-4 inch pan lined with aluminum foil to make clean-up easy.
You’ll also need a large mixing bowl and a small bowl to lightly beat an egg with a fork or small whisk. Use the same small bowl to soak breadcrumbs in the milk.
- 1-1/12 pounds of ground beef. We recommend an 80-20 mix for the best flavor. Too little fat in the meat will make the loaf dry. Too much fat will make the meatloaf sitting in a puddle of grease. You can also use what some call a “meatloaf mix” of ground beef, ground pork and usually veal or ground turkey.
- 1 teaspoon of salt and an equal amount of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup breadcrumbs. We like to use Panko. You can also just tear up a couple slices of bread. Whatever you do, do not use the stuff that comes in a canister and looks like sawdust. You know why it looks like that? Because manufacturers are allowed by law to include cellulose, or sawdust, in the mix, up to 50%. Also, the larger breadcrumbs will react better with the milk, as you’ll see when we get to the instructions.
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/3 cup thick steak sauce, like Heinz 57 or A-1
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, about half to two-thirds of a pepper. Save the rest to top a salad.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
- In a small bowl, mix milk with breadcrumbs and allow the bread to soak up the milk.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine meat, salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons of steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion, green pepper and milk-soaked breadcrumbs. Mix with hands until evenly distributed. Also, add any additional spices and herbs to the mix according to your tastes.
- Line the pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Mix remaining steak sauce with ketchup and set aside.
- Transfer the meat mixture to the pan and shape into a loaf. Pour or brush ketchup-steak sauce mixture over the meatloaf.
- Bake in preheated oven for about one hour or until done. Allow it to stand at least five minutes before slicing and serving.
For side dishes, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf and glazed sauteed vegetables and a green salad. This makes about six to eight servings. And cold meatloaf makes a great sandwich.