Matt was recently gone for quite a while on job training. That was really hard for a number of reasons. While he was gone, I was really only cooking for Max and myself most of the time, so I didn't do much of what I consider "real" cooking at all. Max is perfectly happy with mis-matched, mostly cold dishes. One of his go-to dinners is cold peas, ramen noodles, and cubed tofu. It takes 5 minutes, is pretty cheap, and really easy. So it was easy, especially in the midst of being busy with other things, to go a week or two without cooking a complete meal. Max never complained, I wasn't even sure he noticed anything different.
Well, then Matt came home and I happily started cooking again. One of his favorite meals I make is my meatloaf. The recipe was originally my grandmother's, though my mom tweaked it, and I tweaked it more. However much it's strayed from her version it's still about the only version I like. It's moist and rich without being greasy or too sweet. It goes great with all kinds of sides; veggies, potatoes, rice, etc. Matt's favorite is mashed potatoes, so that's what I made the other night. We rounded out the meal with corn on the cob, snap peas and strawberries from my mom's garden (thanks Mom!), and yummy crusty bread.
At dinner, Max looked up and said, "Thanks for dinner, Mom. It's super yummy delicious! Can I have more of everything?" I guess he cares a bit after all, because that's not a response I ever got to those thrown-together meals. And, in fact, when I made spaghetti with peas and garlic bread and meat sauce the next night he was just as enthusiastic. I feel a little bad about slacking the past few months, but very happy to be back to cooking.
Back to the meatloaf; it's amazing. I mean, I know it's meatloaf, which doesn't always have the best rap, but it is delicious. It's easy, simple, versatile. My favorite part is actually the leftovers. Grilled meatloaf and cheese sandwiches on sourdough, or cold with mayo and onions are my favorites. So be sure to make enough for the leftovers. If I have a big group I've been known to make two, just to be sure of sandwiches. With no further ado, on to the recipe!
2 - 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 lb. sausage (I use mild Italian)
1 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes (I use Italian recipe, usually)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. This works best with your hands. Just squish and fold until it looks pretty uniform.
- Press into a loaf pan. I prefer glass, but metal works too. Drop the pan on the counter a few times to help knock out air bubbles.
- Bake for 60-90 minutes (depending on meat and pan used). It's done when the juices on the sides are clear and it's no longer pink in the middle.
- Let sit for 10-15 minutes. This is the hardest step; to not cut and serve right away - but it's so worth waiting! This rest time is what makes it so juicy and delicious when you do serve it!
Ok guys, there you have it - another family secret revealed! I'd feel a little guilty, except I've been handing it out to anyone who asked for years. I hope your family enjoys it too!