Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What's in a name? - Yummy Meat Loaf

Meat loaf just sounds gross. I hated it growing up. One bad experience with stuffed bell peppers in fifth grade scarred me for life so I have always hated anything with ground beef and peppers. Most loafs tend to be dry, have green bell peppers or other large veggies, are tasteless or are just plain old weird. At one point in my life the thought of them really could bring me to tears. I remember traveling to see a family friend and they served meatloaf with big spicy chunks of peppers and onions for dinner one night. I had a stare down with it at the table but coming from a "clean plate club" family, it won. And I felt terrible that night.
When I was pregnant I suddenly craved meatloaf. I called my sister, who was also pregnant at the time to tell her I was craving meatloaf and she laughed since she had just finished making one for her dinner that night. I tried a Paula Dean recipe and loved it. I have since made many in those short five years and have come to love it's hearty and salty but sweet taste. If made right, meatloaf is a lovely dish that is moist and flavorful. I like it because I can tuck a bunch of veggies inside of it and my whole family will eat it. My husband always asks, "what did you put in here" when I ask him if he likes it, then smirk. This is a great way to use up some veggies that are hanging around. I happened to have a left over veggie tray so I put it to use. This is sort of a plain meatloaf 101 so feel free and add whatever else you would like seasoning wise. Hopefully, this will help change your outlook on the dish.

1 Lb ground beef (I use sirloin)
1 egg
1/2 cup crushed cracker crumbs
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp salt
1.4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp steak sauce
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 of a small onion sliced, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup celery (place all in a food processor and pulse until they are finely diced.
In a small saucepan, pour 2 Tbs of olive oil and pour in the diced onion, carrots and celery. Saute for 8 minutes until mixtures is tender and onions are translucent.

1/2 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

In a large bowl combine the meat and the remaning ingredients, including the sauted veggies.Gently mix it all together. Meat loaf is like pancake batter, a few lumps are okay. Just make sure it is mixed but don't kill it. 
Line a cookie sheet with foil. Next, like a cookie cooling rack with foil and poke holes through the center section of it with a knife. Place the cooling rack on the cookie sheet. This will allow for any fat to drip out of the meat while cooking and will not dirty up your pans.
Pour out your meat loaf mixture onto the foil covered cooling rack. Form a meat loaf measuring around 1 1/2 inches high and around 5 inches wide. Combine the glaze ingredients together then spread it on top of the meatloaf. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 and bake for 20 more.

Enjoy Y'all!

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