Meatloaf is a favorite in this house. I think I've made all kinds of meatloaves over the years. I have to say, I rarely use a recipe anymore...and because of it, my meatloaves vary from time to time. I tend to stick to one kind of meat in my loaves, cuz that's how I like to roll. I've made meatloaves with turkey and beef, and occasionally, I will add a bit of pork in via bulk sausage, but I think I like the single meat meatloaf best. I realize home style means different things to different people. To me, it means a recipe that seems like it has been around for decades. Something that is made with simple and honest ingredients. Something your mom or grandma used to make on a regular basis when you were little. I think this meatloaf tastes like that.
Last month, for my AR Allstars assignments, we were given coupons to purchase some new Birdseye® products called Recipe Ready®. I used the free product to make two dishes with recipes we were required to use, but I also picked up a third bag and paid for it on my own. The third bag I picked up was the Green Pepper and Onion Blend. I picked it up with the intention to use it in a meatloaf. Frozen, pre-cut vegetables are the PERFECT ingredient to put into meatloaf. Frozen vegetables, for the most part, tend to soften up once they are frozen, making it the perfect addition to things like meatloaf for flavor and moisture. Of course, you can use fresh peppers and onions, but you need to not only take the time to clean and dice, but also to precook them so they aren't hard pieces in the finished meatloaf...because in my experience, the vegetables never get soft enough if they go in raw.
Here is a pic of the product I used. These are presently available at Wal-mart for purchase.
Using this product in the meatloaf recipe below eliminates the need to clean and chop and also pre-cook, which makes putting together this meatloaf a snap. The peppers and onions cook down nice and soft, giving the meatloaf flavor but no "crunch". And moist? Yup, this loaf is nice and moist even when you use a lean ground meat, such as sirloin.
With a side of mashed potatoes and a nice big smothering of mushroom gravy...it's comfort food you will be wanting again and again.
Easy Home Style Meatloaf
An MKA original recipe
Servings - 10 Serving Size - 1/10th of recipe Points Plus per Serving - 5 Points+
Calories - 200.1, Total Fat - 7.7g, Carb. - 9.6g, Protein - 21.9g, Fiber - 1g
2 lbs. lean ground beef (93% lean)
3 slices of reduced calorie whole wheat bread
1 cup Birdseye® Recipe Ready® chopped green peppers and onions*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup 1% milk
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to your liking
few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
for the topping:
1/4 cup ketchup
few dashes of hot sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lift the top off of a broiler pan and line the bottom of the pan with foil. (for easy clean up) Replace grated top, and spray with cooking spray. (if using the lean ground beef, there will be little drippings, but this way of cooking it, assures no fat stays around the meat loaf. I stole this tip from Pioneer Woman, and have been using it ever since I discovered it!)
2. In food processor, grind up the bread to make bread crumbs. You can also just tear the bread into small pieces. This works fine. Using a food processor makes the bread crumbs smaller and more even, giving the meatloaf a more homogenous appearance. I prefer to put them in the food processor. Pour the bread crumbs into a large mixing bowl.
3. On top of the bread crumbs, add the milk and let it soak in for a few minutes.
4. Add the ground beef, frozen vegetables* (if using fresh vegetables, be sure to saute them and allow them to cool before adding to the meat) , garlic, 1/2 cup ketchup, eggs, thyme and salt and pepper and hot sauce, if using to the milk/bread crumbs mixture. Mix just until combined. (I use my hands) DO NOT OVER MIX. (over mixing makes a tough meatloaf)
5. Form into loaf on prepared broiler pan. Combine the 1/4 cup ketchup and hot sauce. Spread on top and sides of meatloaf. ( I don't mind doing this at the beginning, some may want to wait to do this topping step when the meatloaf is almost done. Your choice.)
6. Bake in 350 degree F oven for about an hour and 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Allow the meatloaf to "rest" loosely covered in foil for about 10-15 minutes before slicing it.
Like I mentioned meatloaf is a staple in my house. Everyone in my family enjoys it. You can even prepare this meatloaf ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator over night. Take it out of the fridge about a half hour before baking it and than just bake it the next day. Meatloaf also freezes very well once it's cooked. If you aren't a fan of thyme, swap it out for marjoram. I happen to like thyme and peppers together.
I really love that meatloaf is one of those things you can really "make your own." So many possibilities. By using lean ground beef, you can keep the calories in check. By adding the fresh bread and milk along with the frozen vegetables you can keep it moist. No one likes a dry meatloaf.
How about you? Are you a meatloaf fan? Is there anything special you put in your meatloaf to make it "your own"?