|The car ride always knocks them out!|
So, to give Katie a bit of a break, since she makes a real dinner for all of us almost every night of the week, I offered to cook tonight. Usually, I'm the baker, but today I decided it would be nice to make a meat loaf, and a big one, which will provide for tonight's dinner as well as really good brown-bag lunches during the coming work week.
My meatloaf recipe is very basic, and more a visual memory than anything I've ever seen written down anywhere. My mom used to make a great, simple meatloaf. She used ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, minced onion, salt, pepper, ketchup, and a little mustard. I do that as well, but with seasoned bread crumbs, and the addition of steak sauce. Like my mother, I bake mine free-form, hand-molded in the pan, and lay thin rings of onion on top. Unlike my mother, I glaze the top with a mixture of ketchup and steak sauce and the onion rings go on top. (A happy memory is that my mom saved the ends for me. She knew how much I loved the end of the meatloaf.)
Another difference is that my mom mixed the whole thing up in a big bowl and shaped her meatloaf in the pan. I use my Kitchen Aid for mixing, since anyone who knows me knows how much I dislike handling raw meat of any kid (just ask my kids about me and chicken!). So, all the ingredients went into the mixing bowl, I gave it a few whirls, and all that work was done, sans hands! Still, I did dump the mixture into the roasting pan and shaped it, just like my mother would, freestyle like a long submarine! I can't help but think of my mom when I cook things she used to make, like tuna casserole, meatloaf, or even when I make a tuna sandwich. She had a way that made it seem so generous, so caring, and though she really didn't relish making dinner every night for nine people (!), we loved everything she made for us. We really did.
So, as a tribute to my mom's recipe, here's my rendition of Virginia O'Farrell's meatloaf. It's simple, delicous, and wonderful, with the bonus of sandwiches to enjoy after Sunday night's dinner. The sandwiches, if you're interested, are a stacking of thin slices of meatloaf on lightly buttered toast, with a bit of ketchup, salt and pepper. (My bit of ketchup is more like your generous serving! - what can I say, I love the stuff! Maybe the meatloaf is just an excuse for more ketchup!).
VIRGINIA O'FARRELL'S MEATLOAF
(as best I can remember, with my own touches added)
Baking or roasting pan, bottom sprayed with cooking spray
Preheated Oven - 325 degrees Fareneheit
3 lb. 85% freshly ground beef
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 sweet onion, minced
1/4 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons steak sauce (I used Stonewall Kitchens Roadhouse Steak Sauce)
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
In large mixer bowl, combine all ingredients until completely incorporated.
Dump into roasting pan, and with your hands form into a log about 4 inches wide and 3 inches high.
Neatly shape the ends and top surface to close up any gaps.
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons steak sauce
With a spoon, spread glaze over top of meatloaf.
Slice more of the onion into 3 rings. Break apart and arrange on top of glazed meatloaf.
Bake for an hour and a half or two hours until juices run clear.
Let sit, covered in foil, for about 15 minutes before slicing.
Like my mom, I'm serving mine with mashed potatoes and green beans. It's like having her here in the kitchen with me (I wish!).
(PS - this can be made into meatballs as well. I'd add a splash of milk, a good 1/4 cup or more of grated Parmesan cheese and a half teaspoon of garlic powder for meatballs. Bake or fry as you normally would.)