Weeknight Dinner: Don’t Fear the Meatloaf

So, the other day I was speaking with Mr. Grumpy (which means I was talking, and he was inserting grunts here and there to make it SEEM like he was listening) about how everyone hates meatloaf. To my surprise, Mr. G came out of his trance and proclaimed that he, the man who likes nothing and thinks everything is just ok, likes meatloaf. In fact, he claimed he liked it… a lot. 

Now, I know what you're thinking. Seriously…. MEATLOAF, Cari? Yeah man. I'm totally serious. When you find something that Mr. G likes, you make it goshdarnit. And you make it fast before he decides he doesn't like it anymore. Which is exactly what I did. 


The first time I experienced meatloaf was nothing out of the norm – in the kitchen with my mom. My sister Erin took a hiatus from meatloaf when she found out mom put mustard in it (in fact, I recall she went SCREAMING out of the room in terror when she found out, and I was left to split the loaf with Suzie Q and DS. Which is probably why I am the fat sister). Anyway, I didn't have the recipe here in the CLE for my Momma's amazingly delicious meatloaf, so I emailed Suzie Q and asked her to send it to me. Send it, she did – without any measurements (she does this ALL THE TIME when sharing recipes. I think she does it on purpose so no one's dinners are as yummy as hers, but that's really hard to prove). So, tonight, I improvised a little. And I made the meanest, most delicious meatloaf. Don't fear it, people. Get in that kitchen, roll up your sleeves and let's get cooking.

What You'll Need (don't worry, I'm measuring it out for you. Ahem…MOM):

  • 1 lb ground beef (you want one that's 80-20, or 90-10 because you don't want it drying out in the oven)
  • 1 lb zesty hot sausage (Bob Evans)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup cubed bread (ok, Suzie Q said to use bread crumbs. I cubed that Light Oatmeal bread that you all know I'm obsessed with… This is because Mr. Grumpy neglects to put items back where they belong. Therefore, when I walk around the kitchen determining what we're out of for our grocery list, I think we're out of bread and buy a whole new loaf. So, I really needed to get rid of some slices before we're growing things in the cabinet… He also leaves cabinet doors open, and I tend to run into those at night when I get up to get a glass of water. It's a very dangerous environment – both physically and mentally.)
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 package of Ranch dressing packet (the kind that comes in a paper bag)
  • 1 tbsp onion flakes (in your spice aisle, also known as chopped onions if you're buying McCormick)
  • A sprinkling of red pepper flakes (because I'm like my Uncle Scottie, I like it SPICY! I'll teach you how to make his Gould Ginny Grinders sometime. You'll need chapstick. So, I added a teaspoon, and then added a dash for luck…)
  • "A couple of glugs of Worcestershire sauce" – sorry this is the only thing I didn't measure. I did 5 glugs, as Suzie Q calls them
  • 2 tbsp mustard (this is where Erin would stop and say… HELL NO! Keep going Erin. Mom lied to you when she told you she stopped using mustard in her meatloaf. She lied so you would eat it. And you liked it goshdarnit.)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup (I used spiced ketchup, but regular Heinz is all good), plus 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cups of milk (yes, really)
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce

First, preheat your oven to 350. I forgot this part… It took exactly 10 minutes to heat up. Yes. Really. 

Next, mix the two meats together using a fork in a large mixing bowl. This is just to mix the two together, and break up the meat a bit into one hodge podge of meatiness. Next, whisk your egg, and add it into the bowl with the meat. Then, add in bread chunks, salt, pepper, Ranch dressing packet, onion flakes, red pepper flakes, glugs of Worcestershire, 2 tbsp ketchup, mustard and the milk (YES. I am SERIOUS about the MILK. Suzie Q explained that the milk makes it stay juicy in the oven. And she was right. Again.).

Now, this is the fun part. Roll up your sleeves. Take off your bracelets (or rings if you have any. I do not at the moment…). And dig those hands in there to mix it all together (gross, did you wash your hands first???). Mix with your hands until the meat hunk is all mixed  in with the spices and the mushy milk and the ketchup and mustard. Then, wash your hands again, please. You are really messy.

Now, take two loaf pans (you can actually cook this in one loaf pan, or Suzie Q makes hers in a 9X13 cake pan) and grease it with some butter. Separate the meat into the two loaf pans, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. In the meantime, mix the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup (again, I used spiced ketchup) with the chili sauce. When the 45 minutes is up, take the loaves out of the oven. There will be some grease at the bottom of the pan – so pour the majority of it into a can or cup (Mr. G gets really grumpy when I dump it down the drain.). Cover the loaves with the chili-ketchup sauce, and bake for 12 more minutes.

We served our 'loaf with an italian salad – but you could just be really fatty like I was as a child* and just eat it with a side of Kraft mac 'n' cheese…

*Disclaimer, I am required to tell you I was NOT a fat child. Except for when I was a baby and my mom had to put sunscreen in my fat rolls… Don't judge me. I blossomed into a beautiful flower. (See below for fat roll example…)

Photo (11)

You still love me, right?



4 thoughts on “Weeknight Dinner: Don’t Fear the Meatloaf

  1. Erin Steiner says:

    OMG I remember this day!! We tracked so much mud into the tent. I see how grumpy that made u and ur fat rolls…
    Also, thx for the heads up on the mustard sitch. I will be contacting suzie q in the am to discuss this development…


  2. Cari Jeanne says:

    Big Sissy Ju: That would be MUD. Or… could it be chocolate? I wouldn’t put it past me…
    Megan: WHAT! You don’t like “hot sausage”??? (You’re welcome):)


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