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Basic Meatloaf Recipe

The Basics: Meatloaf

I've never understood why meatloaf is such a polarizing dish. The picky eaters of the world seem to have collectively clung to a terrifying school-lunch memory of meatloaf as lumpy, gray mystery matter. But this homespun American meal has worked hard to regain street cred, thanks in part to the high-end comfort-food trend that's taken off in recent years.

The beauty of meatloaf lies in its ease, affordability, and versatility. The basic formula calls for three inexpensive components: ground beef or other meat, binders such as eggs and oatmeal, and seasonings. Use this rudimentary recipe to expand your meatloaf combinations — and dinner horizons — when you read more.

Basic Meatloaf

Basic Meatloaf

Old-Fashioned Meat Loaf — aka "Basic" Meat Loaf

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Topping:
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish. Shape into a loaf.
  3. Mix ingredients for topping and spread on loaf. Bake for 1 hour.

Serves 4.


Meatloaf Variations:

  • To enhance the flavor, use a blend of beef with pork — and take it to another level by topping the loaf with slices of bacon before baking.
  • Increase the tenderness of the meatloaf by using veal, which has more gelatin than beef.
  • Slim down your recipe by adding in shredded carrots, finely chopped spinach, and subbing turkey for beef.
  • Make it gluten-free by using flax seed instead of rolled oats or breadcrumbs.

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Blanca123 Blanca123 3 years
Try cooking one slice bacon crisp.  Cook the onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/2 chopped green pepper till softened.  Add garlic and stir till fragrant.  Cool slightly before adding to the meat.  Try 1/2 cup dried or 2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs instead of the oats.  Flavoring can vary:  Italian (1 tsp Italian seasoning blend), Cajun (ditch 1 tsp of the salt for 1 Tbs of Cajun seasoning blend) or Mexican (1 Tbs chili powder plus 1/4 tsp cayenne) come to mind.  Don't forget to crumble the bacon over a sauce or add to the salad if you cover your loaf with bacon.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 5 years
i just made meatloaf on monday only made them in cupcake tins instead. so yummy!
Food Food 6 years
superfoxml, I'm glad you liked it!
superfoxml superfoxml 6 years
This recipe's good. I tried it on my husband last night, and he loved it. I usually make him 'italian meatloaf' with stovetop as the binder, egg whites, ground turkey, mozzarella, and marinara with marinara on top too. But he really liked the glaze on this one. Thanks for posting it, my hungry husband appreciated it.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I don't make it much because my husband claims he hates it. Probably because his mom's meatloaf tasted like crap. One of these days, I'm going to bust out a really good meatloaf and wow him with it. Maybe he'd like it more after that!
PrincessLtrain PrincessLtrain 6 years
My mom's meat loaf is truly the best around. She's been making it from her Betty Crocker cookbook since she was in 3rd grade. It was the first solid food my brother and I ate. It has won praises from my friends. The funny thing is, that recipe is the only one I like. All others simply pale in comparison.
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 6 years
Ooooh, yummy! Now I'm thinking meatloaf might be a perfect meal for dinner this weekend! I haven't made any in a while, but my favorite is with some sauteed minced onions and bell peppers mixed in (for the caramalized flavor). Steamed broccoli and new potatoes on the side for a perfect cozy meal!
suziryder suziryder 6 years
I love meatloaf! My mother-in-law made a meatloaf involving quick oats for Christmas, which was the first time I'd even heard of using oats in meatloaf. I was surprised that I really liked it! I'll definitely be trying this recipe. :D
Azurefire Azurefire 6 years
My mom always used crushed cheese crackers in hers, it is delicious! I make mine with extra lean ground beef, egg beaters, some crushed reduced fat cheeze-its, and some breadcrumbs and tomato sauce with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, a clove of crushed garlic and onion powder...topped with ketchup and some more cheeze-its. I also like to mix in a "secret ingrediant"....<.< >.> a little tofu. It gives it a silkier texture and helps keep it moist if you just mix in like half a package with your ground beef. I decided to try it and my husband and brother went back for seconds (and thirds) without ever noticing the tofu. Even my picky kids ask for more on meatloaf night. Oh, and since I don't put veggies in mine, I just serve some on the side.
Azurefire Azurefire 6 years
My mom always used crushed cheese crackers in hers, it is delicious! I make mine with extra lean ground beef, egg beaters, some crushed reduced fat cheeze-its, and some breadcrumbs and tomato sauce with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, a clove of crushed garlic and onion powder...topped with ketchup and some more cheeze-its. I also like to mix in a "secret ingrediant"....<.< >.> a little tofu. It gives it a silkier texture and helps keep it moist if you just mix in like half a package with your ground beef. I decided to try it and my husband and brother went back for seconds (and thirds) without ever noticing the tofu. Even my picky kids ask for more on meatloaf night. Oh, and since I don't put veggies in mine, I just serve some on the side.
PinkNC PinkNC 6 years
Looks great! I like mine with a lot of chopped tomatoes and zesty sauce poured over it.
ikimashokie ikimashokie 6 years
I didn't have meatloaf until I was 23. I refused to go anywhere near it. One day, my boyfriend says "I want meatloaf for dinner." So I tell him he can have it if he makes it, but I want nothing to do with it. But then I ate some, because I felt mean for not eating it, and it was pretty good. Now I'd like to think I can make a darn good meatloaf.
ikimashokie ikimashokie 6 years
I didn't have meatloaf until I was 23. I refused to go anywhere near it. One day, my boyfriend says "I want meatloaf for dinner." So I tell him he can have it if he makes it, but I want nothing to do with it. But then I ate some, because I felt mean for not eating it, and it was pretty good. Now I'd like to think I can make a darn good meatloaf.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 6 years
It's much better to mold your loaf yourself and put it in a metal pan. That way the whole meat loaf gets a good crust and not just the top! Alton Brown taught me this :bossy:
Jclose Jclose 6 years
try adding a box of stove top for a binder, it sounds weird but trust me youll never do it the old way again.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
That is the forking best, mamasita!
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 6 years
I LOVE meatloaf, and I ESPECIALLY love leftover meatloaf sliced thinly in sandwiches :)
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Oooooh! I love a good Loaf! I usually toss in a small bit of freshly shredded cheese(s). And of course.....BACON! :feedme:
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