There are few foods more comforting than good old-fashioned meatloaf. I’m always surprised how much my family loves this humble dish, especially the kiddies. Who knew happiness could come in such an unassuming little package?
There are several delicious reasons to make this recipe. It’s moist and tender, packed with flavor and sneaks in a serving of veggies. (Shhh, don’t tell the kiddies!) It really stretches a buck, and this same recipe makes burgers and meatballs, too. Leftovers make the most amazing grilled meatloaf sandwiches, ever. Oh! Stretchy Beef and Veggie Meatloaf, where have you been all my life?
Here are some tips for meatloaf lovers. Substitute Parmesan cheese for breadcrumbs for gluten free meatloaf. Don’t overmix, because that makes meatloaf dense, dry and tough. Since shapes of meatloaf vary widely, cooking times will vary as well, but a rule of thumb is 35 minutes per pound of meatloaf. Mini meatloaves made in a muffin tin take 20 to 30 minutes total.
This recipe makes six generous portions, but I always make a double batch. There’s never a crumb gone to waste. Serve with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots to make your own Blue Plate Special.
STRETCHY BEEF AND VEGGIE MEATLOAF
1 tablespoon butter or oil
2 carrots, shredded
2 stalks celery, finely minced
1 medium sweet onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper
For the glaze:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup mustard
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 5-x-9-inch loaf pan or 9-x-13-inch baking pan.
In a skillet on medium-high heat, saute the onion, carrot and celery in butter or oil until the onion is soft. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and stir it all around until it’s softened and smells divine.
Place the veggies in a large mixing bowl and let them cool for a minute. To the veggies, add breadcrumbs, beef, eggs, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Use your (very clean) hands to gently mush it all together.
Place the mixture into the loaf pan or shape into a loaf in the baking pan. In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Brush meatloaf with half the glaze.
Bake for 55 minutes. Remove meatloaf from the oven and spread with remaining glaze (because it’s all about the glaze). Return to the oven for 15 more minutes. Test for doneness; your meat thermometer should read 160 F. Let meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
For Burgers: Shape the meatloaf mixture into burger patties and barbecue, pan-fry or broil. Top with a slice of cheese and let that melt. Then pop it on a bun with the usual accompaniments. You’ve got yourself a scrumptious little burger.
For Meatballs: Roll heaping tablespoons of the meatloaf mix into meatballs. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155 F. Serve with pasta or make meatball subs. These also make a great snack or appetizer.
Want to know why I always make a double batch? Because I need leftovers to make irresistible grilled cheesy meatloaf sandwiches. Put a schmear of ketchup on the bottom slice of bread, top with meatloaf and cheese slices and the second slice of bread. Spread butter on the outside of both pieces of bread. Heat a skillet and cook the sandwich on both sides until golden brown and delicious. Bon appetit!
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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