Meatloaf has been called boring or bland by some, but this classic catch-all dish remains a comfort food that Americans crave! It doesn’t have to be bland or a resting place for “mystery meat”. A great meatloaf recipe is full of flavor, tantalizing the appetite while keeping your tummy full and satisfied.
Meatloaf is a great go-to meal for many families because it is easy to make for any skill level and does not require any special equipment. There are even crockpot recipes for meatloaf if you want to enjoy this delicious dish but need it to be ready when you get home at the end of the day.
Many believe that meatloaf began its career as an American comfort classic during the Depression era of the 1930’s. Money was scarce and families often had to go without enough food to eat.
In order to stretch their meat and use up their stale bread, families would turn the bread into crumbs and add it to ground meat. This mixture would then be formed into a loaf and baked. This delicious Depression-era dish soon became a family favorite and established its place as a classic American comfort-food.
Meatloaf Making Tips:
Know your family and make enough meatloaf to keep them satisfied. This might mean making an extra-large meatloaf or two meatloaves.
To make a gluten-free meatloaf, use gluten-free oats, bread, or crackers as the binding agent and be sure that any of the flavorings you include in your meatloaf are also gluten-free.
Do you really like the flavor of a meatloaf recipe, but prefer a different meat than the recipe calls for? No problem, simply swap out the same amount of meat you want to use for the meat called for in the recipe.
If your meatloaf recipe calls for mixed meat, buy small portions of each type of meat and mix it yourself or buy a meatloaf mix from your butcher.
Be aware of the fat content of the ground meat you use. If there is too much fat, your meatloaf will end up very greasy and will not hold together. If there is too little fat, your meatloaf will end up dry.
Have bought ground meat for a recipe of mixed meat meatloaf, but will not be making it right away? Mix the meat according to the recipe proportions. Then, freeze it in a airtight plastic storage container.
Love your meatloaf recipe? Use it as the base for hamburgers or meatballs. The opposite is true as well, if you have a meatball recipe that you love, it is easy to turn it into meatloaf. Simply mix the ingredients and then form it into a loaf instead of balls. Place in a baking dish and bake 375 degrees F for about an hour.
Mix your meatloaf gently with your hands, being careful not to overwork the meat so that it does not become tough.
If any of your flavoring ingredients are cooked before including them in the meatloaf mix, be sure to cool them to room temperature before adding them in.
Caramelized onions or crispy onions make a great topper for baked meatloaf.
Short on time? Form your meatloaf into patties and cook them hamburger-style in a skillet or place meatloaf patties into greased muffin tins and bake.
Do not confine your meatloaf to a loaf-pan. If your meatloaf is too large, form a loaf and put it down the center of a 9x13 glass baking dish.
Thoroughly cook your meatloaf. There is nothing quite as sad as cutting into the center of a meatloaf and finding it raw.
If you do not like the top of your meatloaf to be crusty, slather a homemade or bottled sauce on top before baking or cover it with tin foil.
Allow the baked meatloaf to rest a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the loaf.
Pair meatloaf with mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, a crisp green salad, or rolls.
Find yourself with leftover meatloaf?
Use slices of meatloaf for the filling of a delicious meatloaf sandwich.
Crumble leftover meatloaf and use it in shepherd’s pie, tacos, or chili.
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