Best Ever Meatloaf

I do not like meatloaf. I never really have. The texture is often weird, and in my house it seemed to be a catch all for any on-the-verge-of-expired food (I’m looking at you, dad).  I mean, even the name is kinda gross to me. Meat. Loaf. Blech. The Hubs, on the other hand, loves meatloaf. He orders it at restaurants. Seriously. In the early days of our relationship, I endeavored to find a recipe I could make that I didn’t absolutely hate. Guys, I succeeded. This meatloaf is awesome. Simple, easy, comfort food. Total Americana.

Studded with melty cheddar cheese, a bit of tang from the buttermilk, the ketchup on top gets nice and caramelized, and it has really nice texture. I didn’t change anything from the original recipe, other than using store bought bread crumbs. Ain’t nobody got time to make breadcrumbs. I mean, if you don’t have bread crumbs in your pantry, but have some stale bread handy, then go for it. But I’m not buying bread just to make bread crumbs. That’s silliness.

A note on the breadcrumbs. In general, I love Panko bread crumbs. Nothing beats that crunchy texture. In this application, however, I prefer the old school kind. The crunch of Panko interferes with the texture for me. The bread crumbs and milk basically make a panade (starch + liquid), which is commonly used in sausage making to help bind the proteins and to retain moisture. Plain is what I use, although I’m sure the Italian seasoned kind would be yummy too. If you’re gluten free, you could try using rolled oats in place of the bread crumbs. Maybe pulse them a couple of times in a food processor to break them up a bit.

On a total tangent, how do you guys say “ketchup”? I say it just like it’s spelled, with an “eh” sound in the first syllable. The Hubs says it like  “catch up”. So weird, right? I love him anyways.

Aaaaaanyways…here’s the recipe. This is down home comfort food at it’s best! I like to serve with mashed potatoes and peas. Cauliflower puree and roasted green beans if I’m feeling healthy. This was a total hit with my 2 year old! She ate an entire adult portion! Leftovers (if you have any) make great sandwiches!

Secret ingredient adds flavor and moisture!
Secret ingredient adds flavor and moisture!

Best Ever Meatloaf

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs (or oats, chopped a bit, for gluten free)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup onion, 1/4 inch dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced or crushed
  • 1/4 cup parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, divided
  • 2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (sirloin if you can find it)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix first 6 ingredients (through dijon) together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add 1/4 of ketchup, and remaining ingredients, and mix gently until just combined.
  4. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray, and add beef mixture.
  5. Place pan in oven, and cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Brush remaining 1/4 cup ketchup to the top of the of the meatloaf, and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool a bit, then slice and serve! Garnish with parsley if desired, and serve with extra ketchup 🙂
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