Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Family History of Meat Loaf

With all of the time I have been spending in my kitchen lately, it is slowly transitioning into the central common room of our house as opposed to the living room. Though Don doesn't have the energy to put on an apron and play iron chef during these first few weeks of the move, his curiosity about what new thing we are going to try tonight and the wafting aromas and spices that drift throughout the house have him sniffing around. Last night as he wandered into the kitchen and eyed the ground beef, onion, egg and spice mixture in the bowl on the chopping board, he raised an eyebrow and asked what it was. "I'm making Mini Meat Loaves from Cooking Light," I said without looking up. His silence and blank expression confirmed that he was not impressed. However, I had already anticipated this reaction.

It is no secret that Don is no fan of Meat Loaf. In fact he rather despises it. However, this Cooking Light recipe was unique enough to still have me curious to try it and since Don is not doing the grocery shopping, or the meal planning, or the cooking right now, I decided to screw him and make what I wanted to make! Despite his lack of enthusiasm about the meal and his doubt in its potential, he still hung out with me in the kitchen and kept me company while I cooked, and he even peeled a few potatoes and did a few dishes. We had a glass of wine, talked about our day, critiqued some of the recent recipes we had tried, and I learned all about Don's entire family history when it comes to meat loaf.

When his mom was pregnant with him, she got sick off of meatloaf. Strike number one. Don hated meatloaf growing up because meatloaf in his family consisted solely of ground beef, egg, oatmeal and ketchup. Strike number two. The worst part of meatloaf was the ketchup which was why he was not excited to see the ketchup-dijon glaze on top of the mini loaves I was preparing. Strike number three. However, he did concede that it was possible somewhere out there to make a meatloaf he might actually enjoy because one person in his life had succeeded in doing this before - his previous girlfriend Anne - an impressive feet. He did not know what she put in it, but you can bet it was more than ground beef, egg, oatmeal, and ketchup.

Despite all of the meat loaf baggage Don has been carrying around, apparently since he was in the womb, after just one bite he conceded that the recipe did not suck. He ate his whole helping and said that, though it was not as good as Anne's, he would still be happy to take the leftovers in his lunch the next day. I consider that a success.

I rather liked the mini meat loaves myself. I prefer them much more than the kind you make in a bread pan because each individual loaf has a nice crispy outer edge. It is not one of my all time favorite recipes but for how simple and quick it was to make, I would consider it a great way to use up some ground beef. Be sure to use a good quality dijon mustard like grey poupon because that seems to make or break the recipe. Also, I think that the fresh ground breadcrumbs I used as opposed to the store bought container went a long way for keeping the meat nice and moist in the center. This recipe made quite a mess out of my baking sheet so if you make this you might want to consider laying down a piece of foil first.

It's amazing how the process of cooking a meal can bring people together and bring out new stories. My family never made meat loaf growing up (that I can remember) so this is a new adventure to me. The only time I can remember ever having meat loaf was when Emily made Alton Brown's version of meat loaf for us back at the Lakeside Apartments. And I thought that was quite tasty. But this has me curious. Anyone else have any great family stories to share about their experiences with meatloaf? Lena, does this recipe count as kid friendly?

Mini Meat Loaves


1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pound ground sirloin
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine ketchup and mustard, stirring well with a whisk. Reserve 2 1/2 tablespoons ketchup mixture. Combine remaining ketchup mixture, beef, and next 6 ingredients (beef through egg) in a large bowl, stirring to combine.

Divide beef mixture into 4 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf; place loaves on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray.

Spread about 2 teaspoons reserved ketchup mixture evenly over each loaf. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until done.


4 servings (serving size: 1 loaf)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 255(28% from fat); FAT 7.9g (sat 2.8g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 27.4g; CHOLESTEROL 120mg; CALCIUM 31mg; SODIUM 944mg; FIBER 0.9g; IRON 2.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.7g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2003


Camille said...

My mom used to make meatloaf quite a bit when I was a kid and I never complained. Mom had a knack for making the most basic dishes taste amazing, probably due to her use of fresh spices from our garden.

Lena said...

Cindy, you have never had the pleasure of meeting mu ultra-picky eaters but since 50 percent of my kids actually do eat groundbeef in more than one kind of recipe this one sounds like something we should try in the Blue House. Thanks.

By the way, did you ever get around to try some Swedish pancakes? Traditionally, they should be served on Thursdays after a bowl of split pea soup.

Camille said...

Lena! Please post that sweedish pancake recipe, please?