I feel sorry for meatloaf. It can get such a bad wrap. I mean really… Ralphie's little brother on A Christmas Story HATED meatloaf. His poor mom had to lower him to eating like a pig to even get him to try it.
What is this aversion to this concoction of meat and gunk formed into a loaf?
I've had some REALLY BAD meatloaf in my time and I'll give my thoughts on the possible reasons why it just plain stunk. In order for meatloaf to TASTE like meatloaf you must add some flavor contributors to the mix. All too often, I have had meatloaf that isn't anything more than burger, salt and pepper, eggs to bind, and milk and either oatmeal or bread to make it moist.
Folks, PLEASE, I'm begging you, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF SEASONINGS!!! Well seasoned food is the difference between an average meal and one that makes your family beg for more.
The other factor in making a GREAT meatloaf even better is the way you cook it. I know you will think I'm crazy and that's okay. I am the Crazy Cowboy Wife! We all know that ground beef is NOT known for being lean. It has quite a bit of fat. Most people I know either put their meatloaf in a loaf pan or in a large baking dish. Essentially all of that fat just sizzles away at the loaf and is just absorbed back into the meat resulting in an incredibly greasy blob of burger.
Instead of this grease pit try something new. Put a baking rack in a 9 x 13 pan and place your formed meatloaf on the rack. Put about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan. Now, most of the fat will drip down into the water and not be digested by you. Your arteries and thighs will thank you.
"Won't it be dry and gross?", you ask. NO! Just follow this recipe and your family will be singing your praises for weeks! My mom makes the most amazing meatloaf, hands down! I have been making this recipe my whole life. I'm pretty certain it's one of the reasons Grady married me. I will assure you that I haven't had anyone disappointed in this one.
1 lb. Ground beef
1/2 chopped onion
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed fine
1/2 cup milk 1 egg 1 packet Schilling's Garlic & Herb salad dressing mix
(Or any brand of dry salad dressing mix with a garlic and herb base)
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tbsp. French style salad dressing
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
Salt & pepper to taste Ketchup for top Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients except ketchup in large bowl. Best when mixed with your bare hands. Prepare a 9 x 13 cake pan by placing a flat baking rack in the bottom. Add 2 cups of water to the bottom. You can do one of two methods for shaping the meat. You can shape the meat into one large loaf, OR, form into large balls. These should be just slightly smaller than a baseball. Place either shaped mixture on the baking rack and smear a generous amount of ketchup on top. If making one loaf bake it for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If making the individual balls bake for 45 minutes to 1hour.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know how it turns out.
Peace out, my new meatloaf loving friends.