Nothing says All-American comfort food like a meat loaf. My mom likes to tell the story of the first time she made this very American dish for my dad when they were newlyweds. She wanted to show her new American husband what an excellent and sophisticated cook she was, and she was. She decided to add a French twist to the meat loaf by adding a hard boiled egg in the center of the loaf. What she didn’t realize was that she had to PEEL the egg before surrounding it in the meat! She laughs describing how my father quietly smiled as he picked egg shells out of his mouth. I know my mom won’t mind me sharing this story, because she really is a great cook. And, as I’ve shared with many of you my many mistakes, it goes to show you that you really do have to embrace those goofy cooking moments and move on. Which brings me to this week’s Barefoot Blogger’s recipe chosen by Tonya from What’s On My Plate: Ina Garten’s Individual Meat Loaves. No hard-boiled eggs required!
Now maybe it was because of this rocky start that my mother hardly cooked meat loaf, or maybe it was because she preferred to cook Persian food. In any event, my brother and I didn’t really grow up with this All-American classic dish. I personally love a good meat loaf. And this recipe was super easy, made with ingredients you probably have in your kitchen. I didn’t use what the recipe called for (81% lean ground chuck. Really, 81%???) for this taste-test, preferring to use what I more commonly buy: 90% lean ground beef. The flavor was still great. And this dish is super kid-friendly because everyone gets their own kid-sized loaves.
I wasn’t crazy about having some ketchup spread on top of each loaf. I prefer more of a tomato topping, like in Tyler Florence’s recipe for Meat Loaf with Tomato Relish. But, my kids picked out all of the juicy tomato pieces in that experiment. So Ina’s recipe is DEFINITELY kid-friendly, even for the Professor who refuses to eat ketchup. And he wasn’t told that it was ketchup on top. I give the same answer I always give when questioned about that “red stuff.”
“It’s pizza sauce,” I explain.
All three gave this recipe a BIG thumb’s up.
You give it a try and see which you prefer. There are many meat loaf recipes out there and I am ready to try them all!