My older son requested meatloaf for his birthday dinner. I have tried to blog about meatloaf before, but never successfully. There are reasons for this.

1. The recipe we love is so basic that I feel kind of sheepish.
2. All my fancy meatloaf experimentation has yielded non-inspirational results.
3. I don’t make meatloaf that often because it’s a lot of meat.
4. Meatloaf photos are kind of gross.

But then my son requested it and the whole family was so excited so I decided to just buck up and share the recipe because we totally love it and that ought to be enough reason, right? The only problem: I never got a photo of the finished meatloaf. By the time it finished baking, we were in festive-meal chaos mode and I forgot.

When I realized my mistake, all but one nub of loaf had already disappeared down the hatch, and then that last nub was gone, too. You’re not missing much, though. Just imagine a long log of cooked ground beef, the bottom of the baking dish covered with a film of juicy fat. Really, not impressive. But it sure is delicious!

Adapted from the Mennonite Community Cookbook, by Mary Emma Showalter.

The original recipe calls for capping the meatloaf with raw bacon pre-baking, but I skip that step. To serve the meatloaf, I remove it from the yuck-looking baking dish and place it on a clean plate. Then I slice the loaf to facilitate the serving process and to limit the kids from going hogwild.

For Birthday Boy’s dinner, I served the meat loaf with these outrageously delicious potatoes cooked in cream (as well as corn and green beans and sourdough bread and shoofly pie with ice cream): a killer combo.

1 onion, chopped
1 cup of bread crumbs
2 egg, lightly beaten
1 generous cup milk (or tomato juice)
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds ground beef

Combine everything but the ground beef and let sit for 15 minutes to soften. Add the ground beef and stir to combine (I use my hands). Put the mixture in a 9 x 13 baking dish and shape into a loaf. Do not pack the meat. Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Slice and eat. Serve with ketchup.

With the leftovers: make a sandwich of thinly sliced meatloaf, mayonnaise, spicy mustard, and lots of sweet pickles.

This same time, years previous: when your child can’t read, the quotidian (11.4.13), the nighttime barkies, piano lessons, laid flat, lemon squares, and living history.


  • Lana

    Exactly how my Mom makes it and so I do, too. Why mess with a good thing? Now that the kids are grown we actually get to eat the sandwiches.

  • Anonymous

    We do basically the same thing for our burgers, but grate the onion instead of chop it, and add a few tablespoons of Worchestershire sauce.

  • Margo

    I think you have just convinced me to make meatloaf. I make porcupine balls a lot (also from Menno Community) and I've made Middle Eastern Meatloaf from Simply in Season. But never, you know, just meatloaf.

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