Once upon a time, I was flipping through my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and stumbled upon a recipe for meat loaf. Not only is it one recipe, but on the facing page there is another ten varieties to change it up a little with the glaze. This has become an absolute favorite of the Enginerd’s for me me to cook. I know that when he shows up with fresh veggies and two pounds of ground meat he’s asking for meat loaf.
The thing that is so friendly about this recipe is that you can truly tweak it to what is available.
Two pounds of ground meat. Want lean? Use turkey. Want excitement? Mix it! Some turkey with some beef or some pork with some beef. Want standard? Use ground beef. I will tell you that I prefer not along the lines of the 95/5 variety. As with meat loaf the meat goes in raw, and drainage is not exactly an easy option. Whatever your preference, it works.
Then you need veggies. The standard is carrots, mushrooms, and onions. But again, it is easy to switch it up. I like raw regular orange carrots, sliced baby Bella portebella mushrooms, and frozen diced onions. But pretty much I can picture anything chopped small hidden within to work in the recipe.
Sometimes I get out the cuisinarte and truly chop it up small. Other times I chuck the mushrooms simply sliced and baby carrots in (like tonight).
A large glass bowl and something to stir with is a must. Two large eggs, beat ’em up. Add then bread crumbs, any variety but I like panko. Squeeze in the ketchup good and hard and then a little squeeze of Dijon mustard. Add to that über sprinkles of Worcestershire sauce and a scoop of minced garlic and you’re started.
Add the veggies to the mix and stir it up. Then add in the two pounds of raw meat. From there I either get in with my fingers and smoosh it all around until fairly evenly mixed. Or I just chop it with a spoon until I’m satisfied.
I then put the mix in two eye-ball even Pyrex loaf pans. Into the oven for 80 minutes. Or as my oven prefers, 1 hour:20 minutes. When the time is nearing, I pull it out and put on the glaze of choice.
Tonight, we went old fashioned with the cookbook original. 1/2 cups of ketchup, a gentle squeeze of Dijon mustard, and a packed 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Frankly, we vary it between light or dark brown sugar as both works. It is honestly more of a whatever I grab from my bakers pantry first.
Drizzle on the glaze that I mixed in a glass 2-C measuring cup and bake a few minutes longer. Usually, about 15-20 more. ThenI pull it out, let it sit and then those that depend on me for sustienance wander in drawn by the smell. It the Enginerd is outside, I turn on the kitchen vent fan and he gets the fragrance in the air and comes in. It is better than a dinner bell and works every time.