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Easy Meatloaf Recipes

Meatloaf Meatloaf for Dinner Photographed on Fiesta Dinnerware
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I ran across some very good hamburger priced right a few days ago. Around here, hamburger translates into either hamburgers or meatloaf. My aunt Lola Raven made the best meatloaf I ever encountered. Aunt Lola's meatloaf was not regulated to daily fare. Instead, her meatloaf was the mainstay of our Sunday afternoon picnics/fishing trips to the San Gabriel River.

Over the years, I paid attention to any information Aunt Lola gave on ingredients and techniques used in making her outstanding meatloaf. Take my hand, and I'll lead you through the steps required to make a very good copy.

Aunt Lola's Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup fine diced onion
  • 1/2 cup fine diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fine cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic minced, OR garlic powder to taste
  • 1/2 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes (reserve the other half)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix very well. You can use the dough hook on your mixer if you have one; a hand mixer will not work. You can also use your own two hands. Form into a loaf and place in a baking dish of any shape that strikes your fancy.

Bake in a 350°F preheated oven until the internal temperature is 150°F.

Spread reserved crushed tomatoes on top and return meatloaf to the oven. Cut the oven off and let the meatloaf cool slowly to serving temperature. Pour off any excess juices before serving. You can decorate the top with red, yellow and green bell pepper rings, if desired.

Traditional sides are mashed potatoes and green beans. Serves 4 to 6.

Kitchen tools you'll need
Baking Dish, Mixing Bowls
In keeping with the Texas-Mexico connection, I came up with this recipe a few years ago. It has been well accepted. It works well as a buffet dish where guests can serve themselves as much as they want and even come back for more. The green salad should contain crisp lettuce, chopped tomato and chopped avocado. No dressing is required; just make sure the salad is ice cold.

Mexican Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup fine chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 4-1/2-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 /2 cup cracker crumbs, plus more if mix is too wet.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the cracker crumbs. When it is well mixed, add enough cracker crumbs to get the loaf to hold its shape (1/2 cup or more).

Place the formed meatloaf in a well-greased loaf pan, and top with fresh tomato slices for decoration. Bake in a 325°F preheated oven until done. Internal temperature should be 150°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven, and let it set at least 15 minutes.

Carefully pour off scalding hot juices into a container. Place the meatloaf on a serving platter. De-fat the juice, and pour over the meatloaf. Decorate with sprigs of cilantro. Serve with tortillas and green salad. Will feed 4 to 6.

Kitchen tools you'll need
Loaf Pan, Mixing Bowls
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Patsy's German Meatloaf

I was searching for an authentic recipe used by the German folk here in the Texas Hill Country. My friend Patsy, who works up the street and has a long heritage in the Hills, filled me in on details. She said the Germans made their meatloaf just like everyone else, except they used half beef and half pork. And they added oatmeal in addition to cracker crumbs for binder. So I set about making an authentic German meatloaf.
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 /2 cup fine diced onion
  • 1 /2 cup oatmeal (not the instant variety)
  • 1 /2 cup fine cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper and salt to taste (Remember, the crackers are salty)
  • 1 egg, beaten
(This is a good place to talk about testing ground meat mix for seasoning. When you have the meat mixed the way you want it, pinch off a portion about the size of a golf ball. Roll the ball between your palms to compact it and then flatten it to about 3/8 of an inch. Zap it at full power in the microwave for about a minute or fry it in a nonstick skillet. You can now determine if your mix needs adjustments in the seasoning.)

The Germans make their meatloaf just like everyone else, except they use half beef and half pork.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands, or if you have a mixer with a dough hook, use that. Mix it well. Shape the loaf to whatever shape you desire and bake in preheated 325°F oven until the temperature in the center of the meatloaf is 150°F. Remove from oven, and let it rest for 15 minutes before you serve it.

I had an idea to "fancy up" my German meatloaf. First thing, I cooked it in a bundt pan. I put the meatloaf on a platter and filled the hole in the middle with sauerkraut. The extra sauerkraut went around the outside edge. Next came some slices of boiled, buttered potatoes. (Little redskin potatoes would have been better, but I had none in stock) That done, a ring of barbecue sauce was applied to the top. I was surprised at how good the meatloaf came out. I will definitely use this recipe in the future.

Kitchen tools you'll need
Bundt Pan, Mixing Bowls
Here's a little bonus tip for you. Did you ever notice that a meatball is just a small version of a meatloaf? Yep, they all start out the same. Any meatloaf recipe can be converted into a meatball recipe just by pinching off a portion and rolling in round.

Meatballs can be cooked about any way you can think of. You can steam them, bake them in he oven or fry them. You can stick them on a skewer and grill them over the coals. Your imagination is he only boundary. Soon I'm going to try breaded, deep-fried meatballs. I'll report on that for you.

Another good idea would be to cook your meatloaf in individual serving-size containers and then stow leftovers in the freezer. If you have a muffin pan, you have an ideal place to cook the small loaves.

That about does it for now. Time to put the old keyboard back in the freezer until the next wave of Traditional Texas Food hits.

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