Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Many years I do the traditional “romance” dinners; steak, lobster, appetizers, decadent chocolate desserts. This year, I decided to change it up a bit and make a gift to my husband from my heart. Something that would, hopefully, resemble his Grandma’s meatloaf.
For many people meatloaf would not sound like much of a gift. There are two reasons this was a true gift for my husband. The first reason is that I am not a fan of meatloaf. I am not a fan of meat in general so turning meat into a loaf does not make me like it more. The second is that my husband has always been kind about my meatloaf, but he has never liked it.
I have always made meatloaf similar to my mother’s meatloaf; ground beef, tomato sauce, cracker crumbs, egg. Over the years I have attempted to make a better meatloaf, still it always seems to fall short of what he wants in a meatloaf.
When I have asked in the past what his ultimate meatloaf would be, he says “my grandma’s”. I have repeatedly asked him what it tasted like, smelled like, what the texture was like. I would have called his Grandma to ask her, unfortunately she is suffering from age-related dementia and is not able to share her recipe.
Instead, I did some research. I looked up about 15 recipes for meatloaf and using all of the information he had given me about his Grandma’s meatloaf I discovered what makes a better meatloaf and changed my meatloaf forever.
The first hint that I got to my success was when I called The Hubs in for dinner and he said, “It smells like my Grandma’s house”. I’m sure he tried the homemade mashed potatoes and the broccoli with cheese sauce before he tried the meatloaf. Maybe he didn’t want to disappoint me, or be disappointed himself. Finally, he tried the meatloaf. “This is it”, he said. “This is my Grandma’s meatloaf.” He later asked me if I had gotten her to tell me her recipe. I explained the process I had gone through to create his Valentine.
It is not gourmet, or fancy, or even complicated. What it is; good old-fashioned classic goodness. Grandma’s meatloaf recipe is certainly not going to stay in the special meals and holidays folder, it’s making its way into the rotation for any occasion.
You should fit this into your rotation, too!
Oh, and the secret to good meatloaf? The secret is fresh bread, sauteed vegetables, and milk.
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- ¼ cup chili sauce
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- ½ green pepper (chopped fine)
- ½ medium onion (chopped fine)
- ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms (diced and divided)
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth
- Meatloaf juices (reserved)
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 Tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon Turmeric
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add ½ Tablespoon olive oil to a saute pan, heat.
- Sauté onion and green pepper, and ¼ of mushrooms until soft.
- In a small bowl whisk egg and milk.
- In a large bowl add ground beef, bread crumbs and chili sauce, egg mixture, and sautéed onion and green pepper. Mix with hands until thoroughly combined.
- Shape into a loaf and bake in a 9X13 pan (I prefer glass) for one hour, until cooked through (to 160 degrees internal temperature).
- Remove meatolaf from oven, drain drippings into saute pan. Add remaining mushrooms to pan of drippings. Cook and stir until tender. Add broth, simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occassionally. Combine water and cornstarch in a small cup; stir into broth. Cook and stir continuously for 1 minute, or until thickened.
- Remove meatloaf onto a platter, carefully, and cover with mushroom sauce.