Like many people, my memories of meatloaf go back to childhood. My mother never cooked, instead, we were blessed with a housekeeper who cooked and cleaned for us. Meatloaf was a regular dish for dinner. I must have watched Ann occasionally, since, once married, I began my meatloaf recipes rather traditionally, as I reflect back. I mixed the beef with chopped raw onion, bread cubes, an egg, salt and pepper and about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Halfway through the cooking process, while cooking the dish at 350 degrees, I often add 8 ounces of tomato sauce. I don’t add the sauce in the beginning of cooking because I don’t want the sauce to be totally absorbed into the meatloaf. That would leave me with nothing to dip the meat into when I enjoy my meal.
Over the last few decades I began to waver from my original recipe, such as adding Parmesan cheese, combining ground pork and/ or ground turkey instead of just beef. I began adding spices, like thyme and oregano too. I went radical in recent years by sauteing the onion since I’ve learned that doing that with some vegetables adds more flavor, than just tossing them raw in the mix. My radical nature extended further as sometimes I began to add sauteed carrots, celery and garlic to the mix before baking.
With t his recipe too I eliminated the tomato sauce. After 40 plus years I was changing my meatloaf recipe! For me, this felt revolutionary! No tomato sauce! But still there was ketchup, but that ingredient changed too since I added a bit of brown sugar which caramelized the topping. But I still waited to add the topping halfway through the cooking process.
Finally, another change occurred when I used fresh breadcrumbs, (nothing from a box container, which I had sometimes used), plus torn pieces of sandwich bread. I distinctly recall the housekeeper’s meatloaf had small, square pieces of bread, that you could see, once the meatloaf was cooked. I’ve liked that touch, so I’ve kept that tradition, no matter the meatloaf style. This new recipe called for and a small amount of ketchup in the mix, plus for the first time ever in a meatloaf, I added mustard!
Whatever the concoction, this meatloaf was fun to create! Try this recipe, plus too, share with my your best or most unusual meatloaf recipes, or those passed down in your family!
2 lbs. of ground beef,