Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Meatloaf

Henry David Thoreau said “Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”  Rich or poor, we all experience life through food we share and as they say the breaking of bread.  It is a wealthy family that sits down to the table together and shares a meal prepared with love.  As I grew up, that made my family a very wealthy family even though some of those meals were meager and inexpensive.   Mom fed 8 kids and was able to fill us up by extending what ever she had.  We sat down and ate it together (except mom, she always stood and waited on us and ate after everyone was taken care of).

My Traditional Meatloaf

My meatloaf is different from that of my mother.  Her's was even more modest but she put tons on ketchup on top and I love that so continue to do it.  I thought I would share the simple recipe with you today.

1 ½ pound ground beef (85% lean.  You need some fat for flavor)
½ cup instant mashed potato flakes (or you can add oatmeal or bread crumbs)
½ cup of milk (I use 2% milk) or ½ tomato juice
½  cup caramelized chopped onion (I use what ever I have including red onion today)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Olive oil                                                                                                                        
1/2 small can of sliced button or portabella mushrooms
4 slices of Swiss cheese (or your favorite cheese)
1 egg
4 pre-cooked slices of bacon (Thank you Hormel for saving me the mess and time)

Caramelize your onions in oil until they are golden brown and let them cool.

If you are not lazy like me, brown your bacon on a cookie sheet but not real crispy.  Chop bacon in small pieces.  I like to use my kitchen scissors for this. 

Mix the ground beef, bacon, instant potato flakes, Worcestershire, cooled caramelized onion, garlic powder, thyme salt, pepper and egg.  Get messy and mix thoroughly with your hands.  They are the best tool for this.  

In roaster, large bread pan, or baking dish coat the bottom with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking and easier clean up.  Take half of the meat mixture and form the bottom of the meatloaf.  Put a layer of mushrooms on top of the meat loaf and then place the slices of cheese on top of the mushrooms. 

Take the last half of the meat mixture and put on top forming it around the mushrooms and cheese to keep it from seeping out when baking.  Top the meatloaf with ketchup (I like to cover mine completely), cover, and place in an oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done.  Make sure you let it rest 10 minutes after taking it out of the oven before serving so it remains juicy. 

You can make little individual meatloaves in long ramekins or large muffin pans or make hamburger patties (like mushroom, Swiss burgers) on top of the stove to change things up a bit and shorten the cooking time.  You can also throw some small red potatoes and carrots in the roasting pan and have a complete meal in an hour. 

If you want to try a different flavor, change up on the spices and add sage instead of the thyme or if you want a little heat add Cheyenne pepper.  Change your cheese to something sharper like a sharp cheddar cheese or what ever you have (American cheese is fine too).

Want to make it Italian?  Add basil and oregano as spices and top with a spaghetti sauce.  Use fresh Mozzarella or provolone slices in the middle.

Want a Mexican flare?  Add salsa to the meat loaf with a little cumin and chili powder (replacing the thyme) and a Monterey Jack cheese.  Leave out the onion and milk and replace with 1 cup of salsa. 

It is your meatloaf so give it your signature.  To be honest, I usually don’t use a recipe and just make it out of my head by tossing in what ever I might have or what whim I have that day, but blogging is forcing me to write things down and that is good.  I can pass it onto my grandchildren this way. This recipe is my traditional recipe I usually make.

I added potatoes and carrots today so I coated them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper for extra flavor. 

Tomorrow, I thought I would share stuffed mushroom recipes with you. They are such a great appetizer if you like mushrooms and I love them.  

Have a super Monday and be happy.  May God bless you and your.  

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