I always hear horror stories about kids growing up being forced to eat their Moms' meatloaf, like eating meatloaf was some kind of punishment.
Clearly, their moms weren't doing it right.
My Mama made great meatloaf, and my boys (all three of them!) love meatloaf and gobble it up whenever I make it.
Maybe that's just because I'm such an excellent cook. Or it might be because meatloaf at our house always comes with a side of mashed potatoes, and who doesn't love mashed potatoes?
Anyway, this is just one of many meatloaf variations I make, but it's my favorite.
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 lb. ground beef
2/3 cup dried bread crumbs
2 carrots, peeled
1 stalk celery
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1-2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
For the sauce:
1 small can of tomato sauce plus an equal amount of barbecue sauce
WHAT YOU DO:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, blend the onion, carrot and celery until it is a thick puree. This is also an opportunity for you to use up any other wilted leftover veggies that are lurking around in your fridge. In this particular batch, I also threw in half a yellow pepper and some questionable squash chunks. Pureeing the veggies this way and adding them to the meatloaf does a couple things - it adds some much needed vitamins and nutrients to your dinner, plus it makes your meatloaf oh so very very tender. Trust me on this.
In a large bowl, mix the veggie puree, ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, grill seasoning, parsley and cajun seasoning* just until combined. Overmixing will make the meatloaf tough. Divide it into two equal parts, then form them into roughly loaf shapes. Place them on a shallow pan and bake for approximately an hour. I like my meatloaf done. Well done. You don't have to cook it that long if you don't want to.
While the meatloaf is cooking, mix the tomato sauce and barbecue sauce together. Baste onto the meatloaf for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
Serve with mashed potatoes, of course.
Also, this makes the BEST grilled meatloaf sandwiches the next day, so if you're feeling crazy, or hungry, double the recipe.
*There are tons of different brands of cajun seasoning available. If you don't have any on hand, you can substitute equal parts chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and a dash or two of cayenne.