Simple Savory Meatloaf

People can have widely differing opinions about any given kind of food. A good example of this would be chocolate – most people I know absolutely love chocolate.  Chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, hot chocolate with marshmallows, chocolate ice cream — heck, I would be happy just to live on that dark “gold” if health and girth would allow. I mean what’s not to love about chocolate?

But, believe it or not there are people who truly abhor chocolate!  As a woman on the far side of menopause, this is a concept I just can’t comprehend.  I’m convinced it must be some sort of deviant genetic phenomenon that has stolen the appreciation of chocolate from these poor unsuspecting souls. Although, I guess it could be seen as a blessing or sorts, I suppose?

There are other foods that seem to persistently stick around in spite of a sizeable percentage of people who would rather eat glass than partake of them.  An example might be…oh, I don’t know…anchovies.  Or sardines straight from the can (there was a boy in my 8th grade school bus who ate that reviled snack – in the bus – on a regular basis). Yet, anchovy pizza and, gag, oily sardines still remain in relative demand.  Different strokes, right?

But what about the traditional, well-loved dishes that have graced family tables throughout the generations – often made from family recipes handed down from one generation to the next?  These can be some of the simplest, yet best meals –  the memory makers.  However, there always seems to be at least one family member who is the rebel (without a cause) who refuses to enjoy or appreciate the dish most everyone else loves.  If the one in my family is reading this, you know who you are ;). 

A dish in this last category that sometimes meets with rejection for being too bland, too dry, too hard, too soft, too…whatever…is meatloaf.  But, when it’s good, it’s really very good!  When I was growing up, I was that kid who didn’t like meatloaf.  And then it happened – all of a sudden mom’s meatloaf changed and became one of my favorites, and I never really knew why.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like to cook until my 30’s, and mom had passed by then so I never got to find out what made the difference.

Thankfully though, after several years of trial and error, I finally found the perfect recipe.  I’d tried recipes containing countless combinations of interesting ingredients – believe it or not, even meatloaf can be made complicated.  Trust me.  The recipe that has become our family favorite was found in an old Southern Living cookbook, and has stood the test of time.  It’s moist, flavorful and versatile.  It can be made in a traditional loaf pan or as a free-form loaf; with topping or without.  And, the list of ingredients is simple.  So simple, in fact, that the first time I made it I expected it to turn out rather boring.  The result was a delightful surprise!

Suggested sides are sneaky-mashed-potatoes and simple-garlic-green-beans.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do – here it is:

 Simple Savory Meatloaf

½ c. soft bread crumbs (homemade – run one piece of bread through a chopper/food processor)
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped green pepper
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 large clove img_20160830_210805garlic, minced
1 small can mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 egg, beaten (optional, I do not use)
1 ½ lb. lean ground beef (or combination ground beef and ground pork)

Optional topping:
½ cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. water

  • Preheat oven to 3500
  • Combine first 8-9 ingredients in a large bowl
  • Add ground meat, stirring until well blended (best to use hands)
  • Place meat mixture into a greased standard sized loaf pan OR shape into an 8” x 4” free form loaf on a greased rack of a broiler pan
  • Bake at 3500 for 30 minutes.
  • Combine ketchup and water, spoon over loaf
  • Bake 45 minutes more or until done *

* If you do not prefer topping, just bake at 3500 for a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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