In which a recipe is more like … guidelines (Meatloaf the First)

I do actually reuse recipes – not everything I make is new to me. It’s just … infrequent.

Case in point, this recipe is one I managed to snag from my friend, Rob, in college, before he left for graduate school back in 2005. As he put it, its less a recipe and more a guideline on ratios – every member of his family a) makes this meatloaf and b) does it a bit differently. With that in mind, I rather mind less that I completely misremembered what the [expletive] it was while staring at the meat case in Wegmans.

Bit of back story – Adam does contract work, so some months we have two paychecks coming in and some months we don’t. For that reason we tend to do things like buy a bulk sized amount of meat/protein and stick it in the freezer. Also, because I’m a wee bit neurotic (lay-person’s sense of that term, not medical) about not spending money and less packaging please (combo of cheapness and wannabe environmentally friendly). So, we buy some cheap cuts (i.e. the things we don’t feel bad about degrading in quality in the freezer), separate them out into family sized portions (about 1 pound), and freeze. See what I mean about wannabe? I buy less packaged stuff and then put it all in ziploc bags. Which we don’t reuse because they’ve touched raw meat. Warg. Anyone know a dishwasher safe way to do this? Rigid containers don’t work for us… Can’t squeeze air out of them.

So, there I am in Wegmans, staring at the meat case full of various cuts of meat – which I totally cannot relate to actual parts of a cow and/or tenderness. I mean, I get that fillet mingon is a) the good stuff and b) really, really expensive. And stew beef is tougher and less expensive. But those are just a few of the one’s I’ve learned by rote. ::sighs:: More things to keep studying. Any rate, this week I just cannot seem to find any cuts for less than $6 a pound. Weeee. And then I find the ground beef. 90/10. $4/lb. Okay, I can work with this.

Ground beef was the basic go-to meat in my parents house, but since I started teaching myself to cook, it hasn’t really come up in recipes – one of those things I’d have to seek out. I don’t know if it’s just the 2000s after decades of ground being an American standard or something, but yeah, other than hamburgers and meatloaf, I don’t really know what to do with ground beef. Wait, there’s spaghetti sauce. And I think one of my stir-fry recipes uses it… Any way, my point stands – when I saw ground beef and figured it was coming home with me, my mind went to meatloaf. Now I’ve got three meatloaf recipes in ze entrée binder – Rob’s, a death by cheese, and a southwest-inspired version. Those last two are semi-complicated in the ingredient list but I keep the basic proportion of Rob’s in my head – it’s simple enough. Two pounds ground beef, one pound …. something else. [Expletive]. Apparently I can’t remember anything. So I bought a pound of ground veal. It’s ground, it’ll go in meatloaf just fine, right?

Note, I wasn’t planning on making meatloaf that night. In fact, wasn’t even planning on it that coming week. I’d already made my meal plan, I was just buying meat for, like, the month. But I might as well get the other meat I know I need for a now-planned recipe at the same time, right?

Having checked the recipe? Spicy sausage. The recipe called for spicy sausage.

Use that guys. It’s much better in this recipe than ground veal. Veal is a bit of a lean meat, and combined with 90/10 ground beef, this meatloaf would have been better with more fat. Oh well, we still devoured the entire long loaf pan within 4 days.

Rob’s Family Meatloaf

the right way
serves 8

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb spicy ground sausage – protein type in the sausage doesn’t matter, use pork, beef, chicken, whatever you like
  • 1 cup your favorite type of breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp basil, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, or to taste
  • whatever spices/herbs you like – experiment!
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Mix all the ingredients together. Once well mixed, transfer to a loaf pan and smooth to roughly level loaf.
  3. Bake for one hour.

Alternatively, peel and quarter the onion. Do not mix into the meat. Place peeled off pieces of the onion on top of the loaf in the pan, until no more easily fit and then bake.

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2 thoughts on “In which a recipe is more like … guidelines (Meatloaf the First)

  1. Pingback: French “Canadian” Tourtière | LauraLovingLife
  2. Pingback: Bulk Cooking–Part 2 | Night Owl Kitchen

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