Meatloaf is an American family classic and has been for years, but it also seems to be the brunt of so many jokes around the country. It can be completely delicious or completely the opposite. I have a few things that are always the same when I make meatloaf and some things that change depending on what I feel like and what I have in the fridge. As long as you get the basics of meatloaf down, it doesn't really matter what veggies you use. I learned this valuable lesson as a kid from my mother, a fantastic cook. So here we go, a primer if you will about meatloaf.
1 lb ground beef (defrosted completely if previously frozen)
1 tube lean ground pork sausage (I use the Jimmy Dean lean--it's about 3/4 of a pound per tube)
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 to 3/4 c breadcrumbs (seasoned or not, doesn't matter)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 small onion, or 1/2 medium onion, diced very fine
1/2 c each of mushrooms and bell peppers, sliced and diced fine.
also possible: grated carrot, finely chopped celery
optional: ketchup or bbq sauce (I don't like to use these, but sometimes my mom does for extra moisture and flavor
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine meats, egg, breadcrumbs, worchestershire sauce, and garlic powder and veggies together. I usually use my hands to do this, it just seems to get the job done better than anything else I've tried. Be sure to remove any jewelry from your hands and wash them well before and afterward to prevent meat germs from spreading everywhere.
Once everything is well combined and the veggies are all sticking together with the meat, you can do one of two things. My husband prefers I mold the meat into a loaf shape and bake it on a sheet pan so the grease runs off and doesn't pool on the top of the loaf pan. But you can always do what most people do, and just dump this mixture into your loaf pan and press it down. At this point, if you wanted to use the bbq sauce or ketchup you can glaze the top of the meatloaf with said sauce.
Bake this for about 45 minutes to an hour. Let rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving. This helps prevent crumbling when you slice it.
Serve with baked or mashed potatoes and your favorite veggie. My mom also likes this leftover the next day in a meatloaf sandwich. Not my personal fave, but a common one. Enjoy!
** Optional Variation** You can also make this more Italian flavored by using oregano and some tomato paste in it, and then coating with marinara sauce before baking. I've also had it with a more Asian flare with soy sauce in the meatloaf and scallions instead of regular onions and sesame oil--kind of like wonton soup. Very versatile.