What’s Your Family’s Favorite Meal?

Do you have one?  An absolute favorite that the whole family loves?  We do at our house!  It’s Meatloaf.  No, I’m not kidding!  The family favorite at my house is honestly Meatloaf!

 The tall skinny man, both ankle biters and my SIL…….this is their most requested and loved meal I make.  My SIL had some surgery a couple years ago and when I asked her what she wanted me to fix for her first non-hospital meal, it was a resounding, “MEATLOAF!!!!!” 

I first learned to make Meatloaf in my Granny’s kitchen.  My Granny was an absolutely PHENOMENAL cook!  No two ways about it.  I learned the majority of my basic cooking skills in my Granny’s kitchen.  She was of the opinion the best way to learn was by doing because that’s how she learned to cook.  So she would turn me loose in her kitchen and just let me have a go at making whatever she planned for Sunday dinner.  And Meatloaf was on the Sunday dinner menu frequently. 

Now I know Meatloaf gets a bad rap.  It just ain’t sexy food, let’s face it!  And there is some N-A-S-T-Y Meatloaf out there!  We’ve all seen it!  But Meatloaf done right is some GOOD stuff! 

 So what’s “done right,” you ask?  Well, call me a Meatloaf-snob if you wish.  But ground beef and a package of onion soup mix AIN’T “done right.”  That’s a personal observation.  If that’s how you make it and you love it that way, more power to you!  If you need to throw something at me for my voicing my opinion, throw something soft, cuz I’m soft! 

Meatloaf needs FLAVOR, friends!  Them ground up bovines need some help before they make it onto the plate!  Don’t be afraid to flavor your food up!  Onion soup mix just ain’t sufficient.  It’s my experience with that stuff that it’s basically pure salt.  If you want some onion flavor, put in an onion!

Since I’ve been doing Weight Watchers, I’ve tailored my Meatloaf recipe to be more healthy.  That’s just one of those foods I couldn’t give up to be able to eat healthy.  So I altered how I make it.

I highly recommend Laura’s Lean Beef!  I LOVE that stuff!  I use the 4% fat variety when I can find it.  Most of the time, my Kroger only has the 8% fat kind.  So I stock up when I go out of town and find it elsewhere.  I mix one pound of Laura’s Lean Beef with one pound of ground turkey breast.  NEVER just “ground turkey.”  Did you know that “ground turkey” is no more lean than ground chuck!?!?!?  Just a little head’s up there from your friendly neighborhood Weight Watchers nazi!  Make sure you get the ground turkey breast if you’re trying to keep things lean.  Otherwise, you might as well just go ahead and get the fatty ground beef!

Now if y’all expected a “real” recipe for this one, I’m afraid you’re up a creek.  Meatloaf is one of those things that I go by smell, feel and look.  I’ll share how I make it, but it’s just not a real recipe.  The main ingredient in my Meatloaf is love.  Cuz that’s how my Granny did it.  Everything that came from her kitchen started with love. 

Once you’ve got a big ole bucket of love to pour into your Meatloaf (or whatever you’re making) you’re ready to roll!

Here’s my version of Meatloaf:

*  1 pound extra lean ground beef

*  1 pound ground turkey breast

*  1 whole onion, diced

*  1 small bell pepper, diced

***  OR 1 pkg. frozen seasoning blend which is diced onion, peppers and celery with parsley thrown in

*  about 1/2 cup of Egg Beaters (I don’t measure)

*  about 1/2-1 cup Italian bread crumbs

*  LOADS of garlic (probably 4-6 cloves)

*  a good healthy squirt of Ketchup or concentrated tomato paste in the tube if I have it on hand (the tomato paste is preferable)

*  1/4 cup worcestershire sauce (totally guessing here because I just dump it in until it looks right)

*  Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning until it looks and smells right

*  Ketchup/Mustard/Brown Sugar mixture for the top or plain ketchup depending on my mood

Some “recipe,” huh?  I know!  I’ve made it so much and for so long that I couldn’t measure anything for it if I had to! 

That “Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning” is a spice blend I’ve been buying at Sam’s for years.  It’s wonderful stuff!  I use it in so many things besides spaghetti!  It MUST go in my Meatloaf or we all complain something is wrong with it!  I highly recommend it for your Meatloaf, Spaghetti, Lasagna, etc.  It’s got fabulous Italian flavors in it.

I usually mix it up and then have the tall skinny man come in and man-handle it to shape it for me.  He seems to be able to make it more compacted than I can so the onions and peppers don’t make craters in it.  When it’s finished baking, I add the ketchup/mustard/brown sugar mixture to the top or just plain old ketchup depending on what kind of mood I’m in.  That’s Meatloaf at our house.

And it’s our supper tonight.  This is truly the meal that everyone in this house could eat once a week!  But I try to keep my menus more varied than that.  And we usually have it with mashed potatoes and all the “fixins.”  But most of the “fixins” also go with the meal I have planned for tomorrow night.  So I had to punt for tonight.

We’re having:

*  Meatloaf

*  Au Gratin Potatoes (usually Mashed Potatoes)

*  Steamed Sugar Snap Peas (usually peas & carrots, plain English peas or green beans)

*  Corn on the Cob (usually good old-fashioned Southern “fried” corn)

And we usually have slaw, mac & cheese, fried okra and cornbread with our Meatloaf.  But since tomorrow night has some of those things, we’re trying to branch out tonight.

Then we adore Meatloaf Sandwiches if we happen to have any Meatloaf left over………

So that’s our very favorite meal as a family.  I know you must have a favorite meal too.  What is it?  Share with me! 

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3 Responses

  1. “ground up bovines” …now that’s a special thought there! LOL Don’t hate me…I’m just a sayin”…

  2. I think my family’s favorite has got to pasta, sauce, meatballs, sausage – with a very big salad and good Italian bread. Half Sicilian and half Polish.. a good combo.

  3. Amy, I have to be honest. Your post made me try a recipe I have been wanting to try. I copied it off of recipezaar,several months ago. (I believe that was the site.) It was Lentil Meatloaf. We, hubby and I, thought it was good. Of course, we have varying opinons. (Remember, my Mom lives with us!) LOL

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