When I was growing up I wasn’t much into meatloaf. The only meatloaf I ever tried was the every day meatloaf with ketchup spread across the top and I was never really a big fan of ketchup as a child.
As an adult, I find myself on the opposite end of the meatloaf love-hate spectrum. I love it. Every recipe I try I love. And I want to keep trying more and more meatloaf recipes.
Funny story behind why I chose this meatloaf recipe to make tonight. My dog will not eat much of anything besides meatloaf. He’s 16 and his kidneys are failing him. He’s become infinitely picky with what he eats in the last few weeks. He won’t eat bacon or chicken strips so you can bet dog food is out. Last weekend I made Herbed Meatloaf and set it next to Nathan on the couch. His little head perked up and suddenly he was very interested in whatever it was I had set down next to him. (He’s blind.) I knew by his reaction that if I let him eat some meatloaf he would most likely like it, but I was wrong. Off base. He LOVED it. He ate it all week and by the next weekend 3 pounds of meatloaf was almost gone. Faced with the reality that I wasn’t sure what else to feed him besides meatloaf, I decided to find another recipe to use with the other 3 pounds of hamburger meat I had in the freezer reserved for Nathan.
I envisioned a meatloaf made with ketchup because I wanted to make a meatloaf I wouldn’t be tempted to eat. This meatloaf was intended purely for Nathan. So I googled “classic + meatloaf” and found a pretty good looking recipe at simplyrecipes.com. It was described as “Best. Ever.” which didn’t say a whole to me. I had already made up my mind that it was only going to be OK because it was made with ketchup. But I adore Simply Recipes so I decided the recipe would be pretty good even if it had ketchup in it and on it.
It’s a bit labor intensive to make because you have to mince all these vegetables. After that, you’re basically just mixing stuff together with your hand. I dressed the meatloaf up a bit by adding some bacon but really only because I had a massive amount of bacon in the fridge and wanted to use up some of it. The bacon lent a nice smoky flavor to the meat.
When I was slicing the meatloaf to take pictures I snuck a small piece and determined that the description of “Best. Ever.” was completely accurate. Literally I think this is the best meatloaf anyone could ever make. Ever. It was moist. And perfect. And totally good for you because it has vegetables in it. (Right?) Also, I used whole wheat bread for my bread crumbs to increase the overall health factor. Which told me that it was perfectly OK to have a large piece of meatloaf, which I did.
- 4 T. olive oil
- 2 c. onion, minced
- 2 celery ribs, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and minced
- 1 c. finely chopped green onion, including the green parts
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ T. salt
- ½ T. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ⅓ c. ketchup, divided 2/3 and 2/3
- 3 pounds of ground beef (chuck)
- 1 ½ pounds of spicy ground pork sausage or Italian sausage
- ¾ lb bacon, par-cooked
- 2 c. fresh bread crumbs
- 4 large eggs, beaten slightly
- ⅔ c. minced fresh parsley leaves
- Heat oil in a large, thick-bottomed skillet, on medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrot, green onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover the pan and cook until the carrots are tender, continuing to stir the mixture, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, minced bacon and two-thirds cup of ketchup. Stir and cook for another minute or so then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl add the ground beef, sausage, eggs, breadcrumbs, vegetable mixture and parsley. Thoroughly wash your hands. Use your hands to mix together the mixture until everything is evenly distributed.
- Place the meatloaf mixture into two loaf pans (5×9-inch) and press to make compact in the pan. Or form a free-standing loaf on a rimmed baking pan. Cover the meatloaf or loaves with the rest of the ketchup. (This loaf is then topped with additional bread crumbs and some parsley leaves.)
- Bake for 1 hour at 350°F, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf reads 155°F. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to gently lift the meatloaf out of the loaf pan to a serving plate and cut into thick slices to serve.
I actually like to allow my meatloaf to cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting and then I will reheat the meatloaf in the oven or in a pan. I find that cutting warm meatloaf is similar to cutting into warm banana bread; they both crumble.
I would suggest using a meat thermometer if you have one. My oven comes with an option where you can plug a thermometer straight into the inside of the oven, set the temperature of the oven and the desired temperature of the meat and let the oven do the rest. I’ve used this feature twice in the last week, and I have to say it makes my life so much easier.
I would hands down recommend this recipe to anyone who likes meatloaf. It feeds a crowd and, thus, would be perfect for a family dinner.