Quest for the Perfect Meatloaf!

Thoughts on Meatloaf
    Wish I had Barry’s mother’s recipe for meatloaf. Unfortunately she is gone and her recipe box has disappeared. However, chances are that even if I did have her recipe, my rendition would never measure up to hers – just can’t capture a lifetime of memories in something as supposedly simple as meatloaf!
     Think Barry liked the thick day-after meatloaf sandwiches (slathered with butter and mayo + topped with a slice of American cheese) almost as well as he liked it hot out of the oven served with Fern’s scalloped potatoes and green salad.

Continuing Quest
     My quest has taken me through several recipes. I’ve made it with oats, soft breadcrumbs, even bugler; all were okay but not noteworthy. Most didn’t hold up to cutting (that’s an essential quality in my mind), so we just recently purchased a Perfect Meatloaf® pan. As we perused recipes and discussed ingredients for yet another experiment, Barry noted, “No parsley please. I don’t like green things in my meatloaf!” Also a ketchup-based topping is another priority and he wanted me to try using Panko rather than more traditional soft breadcrumbs.
Yeah, it cut into perfect slices!

The Verdict
Well, the meatloaf held up to slicing – one criteria met. But, how will Barry judge the taste? He said, “It’s really good. Much better than any of the rest.” I thought so too. Pretty sure it didn’t quite compare with his mother’s but (as mentioned before) how can one simple meatloaf ever capture the memories of childhood?

·      Think the reason that past meatloaves broke apart is due (at least in part) to the fact that they set in excess fat as they bake; the Perfect® pan alleviated this problem. It was a worthwhile purchase.
·      In the past, I’ve used prepared mustard in the topping. The dry mustard was better, giving it a little kick.
·      This will be our go-to meatloaf . . . and least until something better comes along.
·      Makes great day-after sandwiches! We recommend soft wheat bread spread with mayo, a thin slice of Cheddar cheese and a lettuce leaf. Oh yeah, Barry needs butter, too.

Glazed Meatloaf   
2 lb. lean ground beef (I used 85% lean)
½ cup minced onion
1 cup Panko bread crumbs (in most grocery stores these day; find them in the same section as other bread crumbs)
½ cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  1/3 cup ketchup
  2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  1 tablespoon dry mustard

1.     Preheat the oven to 355°.
2.     In a large bowl, mix the beef, onions, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined (do not overwork or it will toughen the final product). Shape the mixture into a loaf and place in the Perfect Meatloaf® pan.
The Perfect Meatloaf® pan has an insert with handles. that allows a space
(between the loaf and the bottom of the pan) where excess fat cannot accumulate.
Handles also making it easy to lift out the finished product.
(Pan are available at the Abilene Alco store.)
3.     In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Slather the glaze on top of the meat loaf.
4.     Bake glazed meatloaf for1 hour. Increase oven temperature to 400° and continue to bake for 10 more minutes to crisp up surface.
5.     Remove from oven. Grip insert of Perfect Meatloaf® pan by handles. Lift meatloaf to platter or cutting board; tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. (Standing will help keep the meatloaf from breaking apart as it is sliced.)

Menu Suggestion:  I served our meatloaf with baked potatoes (threw them in the oven to bake along with the meatloaf) and a green salad (fresh or frozen veggies would be good, too). It’s a great make ahead menu – clean and wrap the potatoes in foil earlier in the day; make the meatloaf ahead and refrigerate and then bake for the evening meal. The salad can be made during the 10 minutes that the meatloaf is resting.

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