i wish i could tell you that i had very fond memories of coming home on a cool evening after playing outside for hours to the inviting aromas of freshly baked meatloaf. but the truth is, i just can’t. we were latch-key kids (remember that term?), often getting home hours before mom and fending for ourselves half the time. but before you go all feeling sorry for me and everything, i have to tell you that in reality, we did quite well for ourselves. i might not have ever learned how to bake bread, make homemade butter (we actually did this!) or make cookies if i didn’t have to. i am glad for the basic skills i acquired and wouldn’t trade them for anything.
mom did cook when she could, but meatloaf was just not in her repertoire. and that’s ok, because i believe there are much better versions of it out there these days than in the 1970’s. it is now understood, for instance, that manhandling the mixture will produce a heavier, denser loaf. and that shaping it into a loaf, rather than stuffing it into a loaf pan, produces a less greasy version than it’s outdated cousin. the use of bread quickly soaked in some milk does the trick of adding bulk and keeping it moist, instead of breadcrumbs from a can, but those’ll work, if that’s all you have.
i use 3 types of meat for my meatloaf. the ground sirloin and ground pork sausage are strictly for flavor, while the ground turkey helps keep it light:
add the veggies and other stuff and form into a long loaf and place on top of some parchment paper on a sheet pan or baking dish:
slather on the ketchup-balsamic glaze–as thick as you wanna. i actually wish that i had made twice as much to put on top. (sorry the photo’s not so great, but you get the idea):
make your mashed taters and veggie while it’s baking and you are livin’ the good life!
italian meatloaf with ketchup-balsamic glaze
1/2 pound ground turkey thighs
1/4 pound ground sirloin
1/4 pound ground pork sausage (we use one large link of homemade pepper pork sausage from our butcher-look for something interesting and flavorful!).
2-3 slices bread
1/3 cup milk
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh flat italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
a few splashes worcestershire sauce
1 teasoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
for the glaze:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
preheat oven to 350 degrees.
place bread in a small bowl and cover with milk mixture. in a large bowl, gently mix together meats by hand until fairly homogenous. add bread, tearing apart into small pieces, and soaking milk to bowl. add onion through pepper and mix by hand just until mixed, try not to over mix as this will cause meatloaf to be too dense.
form into a long loaf shape and place on ungreased parchment paper on a sheet pan or baking dish. bake for 50-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. move to a platter or cutting board (out of it’s own ‘juice’) before slicing.