When I was a kid, my mom made meatloaf that consisted more of fillers than meat. With 10 mouths to feed, we joked freely that it was often hard to find the meat in the meatloaf. Carrots? check. Corn flakes? check. Bread crumbs? check. Oatmeal? check. Bananas? no, just seeing if you're with me. So, when I tell you that this is not my mama's meatloaf, I think she'll understand.
As a newlywed, my husband told me that he liked meatloaf, a lot. I just stared at him and could not imagine ever making it for him. Wasn't meatloaf that dry concoction that tastes a lot like carrots and not much like meat? Why would he like that? I had eaten meatloaf made by a couple of different people and still, I was not impressed. The idea of making it myself sounded absurd. Besides the fact that I didn't love eating it, meatloaf isn't fancy or pretty or glamorous, so why go to the trouble?
Then my friend mentioned that her mother in law had a fantastic meatloaf recipe that everyone in their family loved. So, I decided to give it a shot. The first time I made this recipe, well over ten years ago, my mom and a couple of my teenage brothers were visiting us. My husband told them that I was making meatloaf for dinner and one brother commented that he'd just eat some cereal later. After we stopped laughing, I told him he should try it. My brothers were bottomless pits at that time in their lives and really would have eaten anything, except meatloaf apparently.
At first bite, everyone at the table almost sighed. What? Meatloaf could be delicious? Who knew? Every person who has ever tasted this meatloaf has enjoyed it. This is one of my children's favorite meals and there are actual cheers at the table when it appears.
My brother and my husband still joke today, "There is MEAT in the meatloaf." And it is good! Flavorful, moist, and honestly delicious; if you are a meatloaf hater, this recipe just might convert you as well.
Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze
meatloaf recipe from my friend, Debbie, and glaze inspired by The Slow Roasted Italian
2 lbs ground beef, I prefer to use grass fed beef whenever possible
1 cup quick oats
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/4 cup ketchup or tomato sauce (I like this homemade ketchup best of all)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a bowl and then mix together with your hands - yes, it really is easier that way. Shape into a loaf form* and then place on a foil lined baking sheet.
Stir together the glaze ingredients and spoon over the top of the meatloaf prior to baking. Bake in a preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. I recommend using a thermometer to determine the cooking time initially. How long it needs to cook will be affected by the shape of the meatloaf.
* I like to shape mine relatively flat and oblong and it usually cooks in about 65-70 minutes. A more traditional 4x4x8 loaf will take about 90 minutes.
* This was originally written as a Guest Post for Chef Dennis at A Culinary Journey
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