I came up with this recipe one night when I just had a craving for meat loaf but didn't know really what went into one other than meat. I went to the store, got some stuff that I thought made sense, and I've been pretty happy with the product. I especially like making this because it doesn't require much attention once it goes into the oven, which means I can easily get other things done while it cooks.
My bill for this one was about $16.50. I had to buy meat, cheese, and eggs,
3 lbs ground beef
4 slices bread
1/4-1/3lbs cheese cut into about 1/2" pieces (I used sharp cheddar)
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp dry ground mustard
2-3 Tbsp parsley flakes
1-2 Tbsp black pepper
1/3 Cup catsup (or ketchup, whatever.)
6-7 pieces of bacon *
large mixing bowl
8x12" baking dish
2 cookie cooling racks (optional)
food processor-type gadget (optional)
First, turn the oven on to 375°. Next grind up the bread into crumbs and place in the bowl. (If you don't have a food processor or the like, just chop it up into about 1/2" or smaller bits.) Add the seasonings and parsley flakes and mix well. Next, add the beef, eggs and catsup and mix until all ingredients are evenly combined. Add the cheese and mix gently until even distributed. Form mixture into a log.
Place the cooling racks into the baking dish. They probably won't fit flat, that's fine. Just let them sit at an angle. Place the meat loaf on the racks, then wrap the loaf with the bacon.
Place on the top rack in the oven. Check after 45 minutes by cutting into the loaf to see if the meat is still red. (I don't mind my beef a little rare, but not for something that'll be in the fridge for a whole week, so I like to be sure this gets cooked thoroughly.) If still pretty rare, stick it back in the oven for about 30 more minutes and check it again. I cooked it an extra 15 minutes, which was probably too much. If I'd just let it rest after the second check it probably would have finished cooking from residual heat just fine. As it was, my meat loaf was a little dry this time.
If your budget allows, some instant mashed potatoes go really nicely with this. Just follow the directions on the packaging. I like to use garlic salt instead of regular salt for some extra flavor.
Of course, you could always heat it back up with some more instant taters. I also like to make meat loaf sandwiches.
Music for this episode was Exploration No. 4 by The Hybiscus Journals.
* Optional. If you choose to do this, you might want to lower the amounts of the various salts a bit.