Meatloaf…the food, not the rock n’ roll star.
Now, that we have that established, let’s talk food.
Basically, meatloaf can be a bit of a wild card. The only characteristics that define it are that it is made of ground meat and is shaped into a loaf.
Although it is usually made with ground beef, it can also be made with ground lamb, pork, veal, venison, poultry or seafood. There are a variety of vegan and vegetarian meatloaf options as well.
In addition to meat, other ingredients can be used to enhance the flavor like cheese or vegetables. These ingredients can also work to lock the moisture of the meat in as this is a dish that tends to get dry. Moisture can also be enhanced by wrapping the meat or covering it with sauce.
Meatloaf can be traced back to as early as the 5th century when it was mentioned in the Roman cookery collection ‘Apicius’. It is traditionally served in countries like Germany, Scandinavia, and Belgium and is a cousin of the Dutch meatball.
It may have come to America as scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German American immigrants in Pennsylvania since colonial times. However, meatloaf as we know it did not appear in American cookbooks until the late 19th century.
If you travel the world, you will find that meatloaf is served in several countries all of whom use a choice of ingredients that are representative of their culture.
How to Make Meatloaf
Of course, the way you make meatloaf may vary according to how you want it prepared and the ingredients you want to use, but a basic recipe will include ground beef, bread crumbs, and eggs. Additional sauces and seasonings may be used like ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, pepper, garlic and thyme leaves. Vegetables may or may not be added but an onion is typically included for taste.
Preparation involves mixing all the ingredients together and shaping them into a loaf. Then put it in the oven to bake.
Here are some additional tips to ensure your recipe is a success:
- Use High Fat Meat: Yes, we know most of us are watching our waistlines, but higher fat meat will remain juicier. If you use a leaner beef or turkey, consider adding in ground pork or veal to keep the meat moist.
- Ingredients like eggs, ketchup, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce will also help keep the meat juicy so be sure not to skimp on any of these.
- Add Sautéed Veggies: Sautéed veggies will not only give your meatloaf a health boost, but it will also add flavor, texture, and moisture. For best results, try a combination of carrots, celery, and onion. Cook them, let them cool and chop them up into the mixture.
- Avoid Overmixing: When mixing the ingredients, keep it light and loose. It might seem like it’s not compact enough, but it will firm up in the oven.
Meatloaf is known as comfort food. That’s part of the reason it makes for a great dinner after a long day of work.
It also has several health benefits. The meat is a great source of protein, iron and vitamin B12. Although it can also have a high-fat content, this can be avoided if you use leaner meats or substitute with other meats like turkey.
When veggies are added to the meat, it enhances the health benefits even more.
Meatloaf can be served with a wide variety of sides. Here are some options you may want to consider:
Salads: A salad makes for a cool and healthy side. Think of serving a spinach salad with grape tomatoes and croutons. Topping it with ranch dressing will make it appealing to kids. Coleslaw and potato salads are other great alternatives.
Starches: Mashed potatoes are commonly served with meatloaf. They are great with gravy and you can also use red potatoes to give them a slightly unique taste. If potatoes aren’t your thing, other starches like pasta or rice can work well too.
Vegetables: Veggies are another great and healthy side. Ears of corn, carrots, peas, and asparagus are ideal choices. To encourage children to eat their veggies, serve them raw with a ranch dip so they can make their meal fun.
The meatloaf recipe we have provided is pretty basic, but according to friends and family that have eaten it (and asked for it often) it is the best they have ever tasted. It has the perfect blend of spices and it isn’t hard to make.
To make the best meatloaf recipe turn into the best dinner, serve with mashed potatoes and corn for mixing with every bite! Your family is sure to love it!
If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure to check out our Chicken Potato Delight Recipe and our Coca Cola Pork Chops Recipe.Print
Best Meatloaf Recipe
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This is the best meatloaf recipe according to friends and family that have eaten it (and asked for it often). It has the perfect blend of spices and isn’t hard to make.
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix all the ingredients except the barbecue sauce together, then spread the meatloaf mixture into an ungreased loaf pan.
- Spoon barbecue sauce on the top of the meatloaf and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 1 Hour
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: how to make meatloaf, meatloaf dinner