Comfort Food: Meatloaf

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Comfort food is the food that makes us feel good – satisfied, calm, cared for and carefree. It’s food that fills us up emotionally and physically. … Finding comfort in food is a basic human experience.  – – Ellie Krieger

Each person had what they consider comfort food – good food that brings comfort when eaten; food which may remind of a good time in our life or a special person, such as a grandmother or mother, who cooked the food.  For our family, the grandchildren remember breakfast comfort food at my grandmother’s house – white toast with butter & her homemade strawberry jelly and bacon.  It may not be the best food for you.  🙂

I’m starting this feature with a simple recipe that I turn to often – Meatloaf.   It can be put together the night before a dinner party & cooked just before serving or it can be a great weeknight dinner for the family.  Below is the base recipe I use & I follow-up with substitutions and some delicious additions.  This is a great versatile recipe with unlimited options.

 

1 1/2 pounds ground meat (I use beef mostly, sometimes turkey)

2 eggs

1 onion, diced small

1 cup oatmeal

1/3 cup tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.  Using hands seems to mix the best – wear gloves – it is pretty messy.

Shape into a mound and place in your pan.  I use a 9 inch x 13 inch Pyrex baking dish.  You could also use a loaf pan.

Bake 30-45 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Substitutions for oatmeal:

  • Crushed up Crackers (we’ve used saltines, but butter flavored crackers would also be great)
  • Potato chips (note:  Flavored or unflavored – I’ve not been able to tell the difference once cooked in)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Instant Potato Flakes

Substitutions for tomato sauce:

  • Ketchup

Additions – vegetables:

  • Shredded carrots
  • Shredded squash (zucchini, yellow crook neck)
  • Finely diced sweet peppers

Other spice options to add:

  • Thyme
  • Poultry seasoning (if using turkey)
  • Sage
  • Chili powder (for a spicy twist)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Liquid Smoke

 

Meatloaf is great served with potatoes, salad, rolls and whatever other vegetable side dish you cook (green beans are delicious).

 

Enjoy!

 

Do you have any unique ingredients you use in your meatloaf?  Comment & let me know.

 

 

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