When Ryan & I were first married, my mom gave me the cookbook “The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook” as a gift at my bridal shower. In the front she inscribed, “Dear Erica, Remember what my mother taught me- The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… Here’s wishing you many years of happy cooking! Love, Mom” I really took this to heart and so began my quest to try out as many new recipes as possible from this cookbook and others. She forgot to mention that this is also the quickest way to gain 25 pounds in 3 months (yes, you heard me correctly). OOPS! Ryan put on a few as well, might I add, but nowhere close to my sudden “I’m happy and in love, so will quit working out and start eating” weight gain. Lucky for me, I am married to one of the best men in the world (that’s no lie), and Ryan never said one word about the extra junk in my trunk. Honestly, I think he was just happy to have someone at home cooking for him, and perhaps had newlywed blinders on.. who knows? I ended up taking the weight off, but my AMAZING, TO DIE FOR, BETTER THAN YO’ GRANNY’S meatloaf recipe stuck with me. Seriously, this recipe is the BEST, and one of Ryan and my all-time-favorites. I make it a lot for company, and most always am asked for the recipe and also told that it is better than their momma’s and grandma’s (and am also asked not to tell them that)! I figured instead of having to dig out the cookbook and try to get it to fit on the copier each time I’m asked (which has proven to be a pain), I would blog about our love affair with this recipe and therefore have an online link to send my meatloaf admirers. Without further adieu, here is the BEST MEATLOAF RECIPE EVER!
Prep: 7 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes (sometimes longer; depends on oven)
I *always* double this recipe. You will most likely eat 2 pans the first night, and nothing better than meatloaf left-overs! I have not doubled the below amounts for you, however, in case you are a light-weight. I have included some changes I have made to the recipe below as well.
2 pounds ground chuck (I use lean ground beef when it’s just for us, but keep it full fat for the company!)
3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp salt (I usually omit this, as I find that the ketchup makes it salty enough)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp mustard
The topping is delicious, but for those who find it too sweet, plain ol’ ketchup works just as well!
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl (the easiest and most therapeutic way to do this is to squish, smash, and squeeze the death out of it with your own two CLEAN hands); shape into 2 (7.5 x 4-inch) loaves. Place on a lightly greased rack in broiler pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Combine last three ingredients and spoon over meat loaf. Bake 15 minutes more until meat thermometer registers 160.**
**Please note: This is how the original recipe instructed, but I have never done it this way. I always bake the meatloaf in standard 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, lightly sprayed with Pam. I usually split the meat between 2 pans if I did not double the recipe, and 3 pans when I double it. I believe that the loaf pans are the secret to the moistness of the meatloaf, as shaping them into loaves and putting on rack would allow the juices and *gasp* fat to run out.. no fun at all!! This does, however, increase the cooking time so I recommend using a meat thermometer and taking out at the recommended 160 degrees. I usually cook them for about 45-50 minutes before putting on the topping, and then for about an additional 15 min. or until the thermometer reaches 160. Meatloaf should be VERY moist. If you find yours comes out a bit dry, reduce cooking duration.
Yield: 2 loaves or 8 servings
337 calories, 17.8 g fat, 120 mg cholesterol, and 734 g sodium per serving.