Meat Loaf – Finalmente!

Meatloaf sliced

Here it is, the very much delayed meatloaf recipe. Taa-daa!

My love affair with meatloaf goes back more decades than I care to say. I was a boy and didn’t think much about this dish, wondering why we weren’t having hamburgers instead. Then I tasted Zia’s meatloaf. She and Mom were great cooks but Zia’s meatloaf was heaven-sent. I was perennially trying to steal away from our dinner table so that I could have a taste of her meatloaf when she was serving it. Mom caught on quickly enough but rather than get annoyed, she tried to make a better meatloaf. Although hers did, in fact, improve, Zia’s remained the best in my book.

Now move ahead many years. Zia and I have decided to create this blog and we’re making a preliminary list of recipes to include for our family. Well, very early in the process, I added her meatloaf to the list. You can imagine my horror when she confessed that she no longer had the recipe nor could she remember it. All she knew was that she added oats (see above) and nothing else. At that point, I resigned myself to eating mediocre meatloaf for the rest of my days. And let me tell you. I was responsible for many a mediocre meatloaf in those days. (It also drove home the point that these recipes needed to be put to paper and preserved.)

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meatloaf-4

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About 2 years later, I came upon a post by my now good blogging friend, Tanya. (You may know her as Chica Andaluza. If you don’t, get over to her site for some tasty dishes and to learn of life on her beautiful Mountain in Spain.) She’d shared a recipe for ketchup, and, once I made it, I was instantly converted. I no longer buy ketchup and use this homemade version exclusively. It’s also a permanent member of my Christmas gift baskets, the recipients of which — friends and family —  cannot get enough.

At some point — I don’t remember exactly when — I was preparing what would become another mediocre meatloaf when I experienced a true epiphany. Why not use the homemade ketchup? It was a life changing moment … well, meatloaf changing. My meatloaf reached a new level of excellence and, best of all, consistency. No need to worry about which and how much spice to use. The ketchup had everything I would have added. Best of all, during her last visit here, I prepared a meatloaf dinner for Zia and she declared that mine reminded her of her long forgotten recipe. She could not have pleased me more. That’s the day I decided to share the recipe — it’s also the last time I served sliced meatloaf for dinner.

You see, I’m a mid-western boy and we love our meat and gravy sandwiches. It was a special treat on a cold winter’s evening when Mom placed before me a plate containing a meat sandwich and mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. Oh, boy! Over the years, even when serving a mediocre loaf, I dreamt of the next day’s smothered sandwich. Once that craving was satisfied, there would be meatloaf sammiches. These would be gravy-free but would instead contain lettuce, a slice of tomato, and a bit of horseradish sauce. I mentioned it to Zia and learnt that she, too, loved both sandwich and sammich. I’ve not served sliced meatloaf since. Make note of this post’s opening photo. It is the last of its kind in my home.

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This is a very easy recipe to follow but it does result in plenty of meatloaf. I usually fill 2 small foil loaf pans first, and then use the rest of the meat mixture to create a larger loaf. I rarely place this loaf in a pan, preferring to create a free-form loaf by hand. The smaller loaves will eventually find a home in the freezer and, I must say, I get a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that I’ve got a meatloaf in the freezer. I feel the same about its neighbor in there, the tray of lasagna. This brings up another issue …and an invite. If ever you hear of a major power outage lasting for days/weeks in Chicago, rent a car, catch a train, hop a bus, take a flight, pirate a ship, or do whatever you need to get here. My guests and I will be eating mighty fine for the duration — or at least until everything melts.

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meatloaf-duo

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Meatloaf Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 lb (680 g) ground beef (See Notes)
  • 1.5 lb (680 g) ground pork
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk, leaves included
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup oats (I use good old Quaker Oats for “Nothing is better for thee…”)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup homemade ketchup, divided (See déjà vu)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F (175˚ C)
  2. Chop the carrot, celery, and onion to equal size.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over med-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until soft – about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic midway through.
  4. Set aside to cool until safe to handle.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the meats, eggs, oats, sautéed vegetables, and 2/3 of the ketchup. Mix to combine but do not over-mix.  (See Notes)
  6. Use part of the meat mixture to fill 1 or 2 small loaf pan(s). The rest will be used to fill a large loaf pan or to create a free-form loaf on a foil-covered baking pan.
  7. Use the remaining 1/3 of the ketchup to lightly coat the tops of the loaves.
  8. Place the loaves in the pre-heated oven.
  9. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes. Each loaf is cooked when its internal temperature reaches 160˚ F (70˚ C).
  10. Once cooked:
    • For the larger loaf:
      • If using a loaf pan, allow to rest 10 minutes, drain the liquids from the pan, removing the meatloaf and placing on a serving platter.
      • If not using a loaf pan, allow to rest 10 minutes and place on a serving platter.
      • Serve immediately.
    • For the smaller loaves:
      • Set aside to fully cool. Completely cover with plastic wrap before tightly wrapping in aluminum foil. It can now be frozen for up to 6 months. When ready to serve, unwrap the plastic wrap, replace the foil, and thaw in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, place in a pre-heated 300˚ F (150˚ C) and cook until heated through. (See Notes)
  11. If you’re like me, forego the platter and use the liquids to prepare a gravy with cornstarch, a cup of beef stock or low sodium bouillon, and a little milk  (optional). Meanwhile, create a sandwich using 2 slices of bread  and a generous slice of meatloaf. On the same dish, serve some mashed potatoes with a well in the center. Use the hot gravy to smother the sandwich and fill the mashed potato well. Buon appetito!

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meatloaf-3

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Notes

At one time, I used equal amounts of ground veal, beef, and pork to make meatloaf. I prefer not to use veal these days unless I can be sure it’s been humanely raised.

If you do not have — or do not want to use — oats, an equal amount of bread crumbs may be substituted.

Overworking the meat mixture will result in a meatloaf that’s too dense. Mix until al of the ingredients are combined but no more than that.

You needn’t thaw the meatloaf before re-heating but I find the results much more reliable. I never seem to get the timing right and dinner is just about always delayed when I stick a frozen meatloaf into the oven. Remember: it’s already been fully cooked so there’s no worry of serving raw meat — just really cold.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

ketchup-throwback-photo

As I mentioned, the secret to this meatloaf is the ketchup, although the recipe I shared is about as close to the ketchup we all knew as kids as is salsa. Thanks to a recipe derived from one posted by the Kitchens’ good friend, Tanya, the one and only Chica Andaluza, the flavor of my meatloaf has improved greatly. The fact is that I always have a few jars in reserve and am lost without it. (Sorry, Heinz.) You can see my recipe HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Soft Shell Crab Curry Preview

Curried Soft Shell Crab

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125 thoughts on “Meat Loaf – Finalmente!

  1. I hang my head in shame… I have NEVER made a meatloaf before – I know, the horror! That is going to change ASAP! First to making our friend Tanya’s ketchup and then onto your meatloaf. Double win. Fabulous!
    Have a beautiful weekend John. Snuggles to my favourite boy Max.
    🙂 Mandy xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Mandy, do need to hang your head. Just make a meatloaf and all will be well. Just to be on the safe side, however, I’ll be sure to serve it at least once when you visit.
      Hope you and all in your world are doing well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, thanks for all your lovely words. And thank you for a fantastic recipe. It makes me smile to think of Zia having eaten it and that your meatloaf reminded her of the old, recipe. In our households we were more polpette makers and eaters, but I remember that although my mum, my godmother, and my God mother’s mum all claimed to make them the same way, they all tasted different! I am now going to make a few meatloaf for the freezer but will be sure to head your way if ever there’s a power outage 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tanya – reading your and John’s comments and teachings on side: methinks you two so displayed what the good side of social media is all about . . . what we can learn, what we can enjoy one from the other. Warmly and gently funny: zia Lea has not ‘gone away’, has she . . . . be well . . .

      Liked by 4 people

    • Once again, Tanya, our households mirror each other’s. In the two-flat, every adult fancied her/himself the premier sugo maker. Each drew from the same pantry, used the same pot and stove. Yet, all were different. I bet if it were possible to put all 7 sauces in front of me today, I could tell you who prepared each one.
      That sauce/ketchup of yours is the reason for me making meatloaf again on a regular basis. It’s the best!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Abbe. Make the ketchup first, You’re such a fine, inventive cook that I cannot wait for you to share how you’d use it. It’s not one of the “57 varieties”, that’s for sure.

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  3. I share your love of meatloaf. I make one a week this time of year, but I always make a slight variation on the theme each time. I saute my vegetables and I used to used Italian break soaked in milk, lately I’ve been using ground saltine crackers and I really like the results.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mmmmmm. Delicious! I confess I love a
    cold slice of meatloaf sandwich. Hold the gravy!
    Life does have a way of interrupting, doesn’t it?
    Will have to try Tanya’s ketchup recipe.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I always am seeking a good meatloaf recipe and, even though I am not from the Midwest, I do love a good hot meatloaf sandwich with gravy! Hope all is well – your eggplant Lasagne recipe will be posting in C&L a week from tomorrow!

    Liked by 2 people

    • For years, David, I tried and tried to make a meatloaf that was in the same ballpark as the ones Zia once served. Finally, after making my own ketchup, I succeeded. Now when I enter a diner, I can get the biscuits and gravy without feeling I’ve short-changed myself. 🙂

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  6. It’s a difficult choice to say which is more sought after for us Midwesterners — the meatloaf itself or the next day sandwiches (mashed potatoes alongside a must). The good thing is, every time we make another batch the debate has delicious, comforting rewards. 🙂
    Gotta try that ketchup!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re so right, Judy. There are no losers here, only satisfied diners. Reading through the comments, I must say I’m a bit surprised at how many fellow meatloaf lovers there are. I thought that I was one of a dying breed. How wrong can anyone be?

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  7. Meatloaf sandwiches are the best! I really like the idea of the oats — I should try that. I’m not a good meatloaf cook. My mom’s was never very good (although she did use lots of ketchup in hers) — mainly because she overcooked it and it was dry (she liked it VERY well-done). Actually some of the best meatloaf I’ve had were cooked my friends’ mothers who did an Italian style, basically cooked in tomato sauce (basically treating meatloaf like a big meat ball). Anyway, yours looks excellent. Perfect for sandwiches! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so right! I loved it when Mom set one before me with mashed potatoes and all smothered in gravy. I doubt I like it any less now. Some things never change, eh?

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    • Well, I’ve had a couple good weekends since you worte and I hope you can say the same, Gerlinde. This meatloaf is great but it’s the ketchup that makes it. Do give it a try. My friends and family all love it!

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  8. Wonderful! I love a good meatloaf. Getting my British husband to eat it is sometimes a bit tricky. It is such a quintessential American food, one we grew up with and either loved or loathed. He’s just not used to it. However, he does enjoy those cold meatloaf sandwiches the day after. Stick with the oats – they add something special.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Debi. Yeah, the sandwiches the following day are the best! I feel the same about turkey sandwiches. I guess I’ve never outgrown my favorite foods that I ate as a young boy. Then again, why would I want to, eh?

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  9. That meatloaf looks so good and the recipe for ketchup is so good! Not surprised that it’s Tanya’s. I need to make that asap. My grandma makes a really great meatloaf. Unless it’s hers I find it difficult to eat. This recipe looks close! Lovely that this was one of your original recipes in mind when you started the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt you’d be disappointed with either recipe, Amanda, but make the tomato sauce first. It is so flavorful and there are many ways to use it. You’ll see. 🙂

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  10. I LOVE meatloaf, just love it! So today I am making YOUR meatloaf for our lunch! I can hardly wait. No….wait! I need to make the ketchup first. I have given up store bought ketchup as it is mostly sugar, or some kind of sweetener. So I thank you for the tip on the ketchup also. Ketchup first then this lovely yummy meatloaf.

    I’m glad you are feeling better!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I certainly hope you had a chance to make the ketchup and meatloaf, Linda, and have enjoyed both. I don’t buy ketchup anymore and my friends and family love it, as well. Now that I’ve turned them onto using it in meatloaf, I’m giving them 2 jars at a time rather than one. Maybe I should plant a couple more tomato plants this year? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just started my seeds for tomatoes…all open-pollinated heritage ( I have extra, would you like some seeds). I plan on more plants than normal — I am determined to make that ketchup. The store stuff is way too loaded with sugar and always makes me sick. Having a great ketchup again is my goal this fall!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sounds like a plan to me! You’re very kind to offer me some seeds but I gave up on that endeavor several years ago. My home gets too little natural light to germinate seeds and my garden far too small to justify getting grow lights, etc. I buy organic seedlings from a vendor at the farmers market and hope for the best. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  11. My mother’s meatloaf was very similar. All beef, no carrot or celery, occasionally a couple slices of bread soaked in milk instead of oatmeal and about half a jar of Homade Chili Sauce which she swore tasted just like her mother’s chili sauce (still available in stores). The next day my father would slice the cold meatloaf into quarter inch think slices, butter both sides of sliced bread with the meatloaf slices inside and grill the sandwich till the exterior was crispy. I think those grilled sandwiches were probably better than the meatloaf the day before. Sometimes I will add some sweet pickle relish to the mix or make a sweet pickle sauce for the meatloaf (or short ribs or tenderloin of pork).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sure am loving this post! I’m getting so many great ideas about making meatloaf. Using chili sauce is inspired! I am definitely going to look for yoru brand. It sounds great! I love your Dad’s method of making a meatloaf sandwich, too. Now that’s a meal!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I know it will shock and disgust you to learn that I have never been a fan of meatloaf (I know!). Perhaps because my own dear Mom’s version was dry and it always had a hard boiled egg in the middle of it (and boy did it get rubbery after being cooked once and then baked!). But I do love the gravy smothered sammiches that you are so fond of. We used get them on the way home from the cottage at some ma and pa diner usually with peas on the side, like yours. Mine was usually chicken but boy was it good. It’s the absolutely ONLY way I eat that horrible sandwich bread. I’m going to check out your ketchup recipe, I’m finding the store bought ketchup has more and more sugar flavour rather than tomato flavour. I shall also check out Chica Andalz!a

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I was one lucky boy, Eva. I had 2 great meatloaf versions to enjoy — and did I ever! And the sandwiches? Mom always made extra meatloaf so that I could enjoy a sandwich the next day. I was in heaven!
      That’s what I love about this ketchup. I control the sugar and I prefer to use spices instead of sweetening it up. Just be sure to use a splash guard for the pot. I didn’t and that first time I made ketchup left my stovetop a complete mess. Even so, the finished product was so worth it. I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it. 🙂

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  13. I haven’t had meatloaf since I left America (which is some time ago now), but I do remember it fondly, so perhaps it’s time I made my own. It looks like I’ll need to make Tanya’s ketchup first though.
    I’m waiting with baited breath for your Curried Soft Shell Crab recipe… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are going to love Tanya/s ketchup, MD. In fact, calling it ketchup is somewhat of a disservice. This is one great sauce! I sure did turn my meatload into something special. You’ll see … 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I just mentioned to Mad Dog, right above your comment, that this is more a sauce than a ketchup and I love what it does to my meatloaf. Well, it received Zia’s seal of approval and that’s about the best I could have hoped for. 🙂

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  14. I ADORE meatloaf, and must, absolutely MUST make your version, ketchup included

    come to think of it, making ketchup from scratch has been on my list of culinary projects for years!

    great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know that I’m repeating myself, Sally, but I’m really quite surprised to learn how many others love meatloaf. It’s a dirty little secret that we have all kept to ourselves. Maybe we should all get “I Love Meatloaf” t-shirts. We can hold off on the ketchup t-shirts until we get more people to start making it 😀

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      • I made it last week! Did not make the ketchup because the recipe was a bit more involved than I anticipated, so I used store bought….. will you ever forgive me?????

        It turned out delicious! Leftovers were still incredible!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You did? So glad you gave it a try, Sally , and, most of all, that you enjoyed it. I found that using the homemade ketchup eliminated the guesswork when it came to seasoning the meat mixture. That’s where my meatloaf aways went wrong. I cannot imagine you having the same problems, however. I’m sure you’re far more capable of seasoning the meat, Sally, than I am. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  15. WELL! Waiting for your meatloaf recipes seems to be well worth it! I love me a good meatloaf. This looks fabulous, and I’ll have to check out your ketchup recipe. My mom’s meatloaf always used bottled ketchup over the top of it and I KNEW there had to be something better than that! Enjoy your lifelong meatloaf sammiches smothered with gravy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, this is no ordinary ketchup No, not at all. It is much more flavorful and really does turn my meatloaf into something special. I hope you do give them both a try. I’d love to hear any suggestions you may be willing to offer.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ok John I need an explanation. What’s the difference between a sandwich and a sammitch. I’ve never been a big meatloaf fan except thinly sliced, in a sandwich with hot mustard and lettuce. I should give it another try…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Sandra. I looked up “sammich” in the Urban Dictionary. The definition is as good as I would use:

      A sammich is not just a sandwich, it is not just a meal. Sammich is a term reserved for only the holiest and mightiest of all sandwiches. A sammich is a true work of culinary art; a feast on a bun, if you will. A sammich is not made of the best ingredients; it is made of the *right* ingredients. It needs the right meats, and the right cheese(s), the right sauce, the right veggies, and the right kind of bread.

      I believe that the British term “sammie” is derived from sammich. It really doesn’t matter. Just so long as I find one on my plate occasionally, you can call it “Herbie” for all I care. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. [Hope this one > over the Pond! Two previous ‘trials’!!!!] Finalmente indeed! That fishing trip seemed to take forever 🙂 ! Meatloaf is almost a national dish in my childhood Estonia: since I try to avoid salt, fat and chemical ridden deli items it is so delightful in salads, on open sandwiches and in rollups! Wish I could find my genie to come beg for a jar of your tomato sauce . . . otherwise this is down to be made tomorrow! Well, I have not used celery but always include grated beetroot, know of the beauty of oats but usually have Jewish matzo meal handy and was taught by both darling husbands to add spritzy soda water to add extra moisture. *smile*: must really find time to look for a photo of 3-year-old me standing in our kitchen with a big white pinny on and face and hair all covered with crumbs and other ingredients, handforming the loaves . . . my very favourite remembrance from a complicated time . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do hope that you can find that photo, Eha. I’d love to see it..
      I’d no idea that meatloaf had European enthusiasts, thinking it was a completely American dish. But, as I’m learning, meatloaf is prepared throughout the world. I certainly didn’t think so many would profess their love of the dish. I certainly didn’t expect this kind of response. So many love meatloaf Who knew!

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  18. Oh boy this does look good, John. My mother’s meatloaf recipe is our family standby and is frequently requested. Instead of the oats she adds cornbread stuffing, and the ketchup is tomato sauce with molasses. All other ingredients are really the same and it’s interesting how much just a few tweaks can change the outcome and make it personal to a family’s memory of comfort foods. And I definitely agree about the sandwiches! I really will try this recipe at least to include the homemade ketchup. I am intrigued. I need to follow your example and stock the freezer. too! Hope you have a good weekend, John. I hear it’s pretty cold in your neck of the woods!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Took me a while but I finally got here, Debra. Yes, it’s been cold, then warm, then cold … This is what passes for spring around here. You all sure did get the rain this winter!!! My friends in the desert are all remarking how beautiful the spring has been out there. Hope this signals the drought is easing. Heaven knows you all need some relief.
      Your Mother’s recipe sounds fantastic, Debra. Love the idea of using cornbread stuffing. I have to try that! And yes, those sandwiches are the whole reason I make meatloaf … and roast turkey … and baked ham. )Although, to be honest, I bake a ham to get the bone, too. Love split pea soup.) For my tastes, few dishes can compare with a well-made sandwich. 😀

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  19. I am a meatloaf lover too. It would be interesting to know in which countries it is regarded as a sort of “national treasure”: it is very popular in Italy, America, Germany (I think)… what about France, Spain, the Scandinavian countries? In Italy it even appears in what is considered one of THE books about Italian cooking, Artusi’ Arte di Manigar bene (end of 19th century), made with leftover meat; these days it is generally made with assorted fresh meats (beef, pork, veal) + some bread soaked in milk to keep it moist (sometimes eggs too)….I think it is always a winner and whenever I prepare it for English friends they are always SOOOO surprised how good it is;Italians just smile beamingly, as if saying: “…of course, didn’t u know? it’s heaven…”
    I think I prefer it after it has rested some time, never hot. Hazan has a good version, albeit a little tricky to look after (it is cooked on the stove and it needs careful handling)/my mum always made in the oven, without much fuss. When I had my restaurant we used to make mini-polpettoni (mini meat loaves): watch one was wrapped in parchment paper, from raw, and roasted at low temperature to keep it moist. when cold and at service time, we would brown it in butter and oil… one of the most successful dishes ever…
    nice story John (and thanks also for the ketchup’s tip and recipe) stefano

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting question! Well, I can assuredly say ‘yes’ for ALL of Scandinavia and the Baltics . . . . in my birth country of Estonia it was kind’of a weekly offering. Quite simply made, with no garlic or tomato and few herbs, it did have to have ‘the three’: beef, pork and milk veal mince in thirds. The same mixture, more or less, was made into ‘kotletid’: meat patties, quick-fried and then set in the oven for a matter of minutes . . . . as a child I loved to form those as one had to make quite high, oval, even patties and then use a blunt knife to make a cross-diagonal pattern on top to create appetite 🙂 ! Fun memories . . . and I do remember them all in Germany and Austria also . . . .

      Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t thought about the veal component, Stefano, until you mentioned it. Mom always included veal n her meatloaf. Years ago, grocer’s sold “meat loaf” packs consisting of equal portions of minced beef, veal, and pork. Those packs formed the basis for countless meatloaves across the country. It’s been some time since I’ve seen those packs. Veal consumption is somewhat frowned upon due ti the way the calves are raised. Traveling back to Michigan, I passed many dairy farms with calves being raised in those little pens.That’s when I stopped buying veal. Humanely-raised veal is becoming available and I buy it when making ravioli and the like.
      You always leave such thoughtful comments, Stefano, and I really appreciate them. Thanks!

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  20. Really good to know about this ketchup recipe. I love home-made versions, and to me they’ve all been good. Can’t wait to try this one. Not a huge meat loaf fan, but I do make them for my husband – especially if I have to leave town. He’s very capable of reheating meat loaf for dinners, especially if I slice it first.

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    • Aren’t you a good wife — and your husband one lucky fella! I’ve never tried another recipe, Mimi. I like this one so much that I’ve never considered replacing it. If it ain’t broke … 😉

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  21. I laughed when you recounted your childhood memory: why have meatloaf when you can have hamburgers instead? As a kid, that’s exactly what I thought…except when it came to my grandmother’s meatloaf. It was heavenly, and even better the next day in a sandwich as, I’ll bet, yours is too.

    Thanks for the tip re: over-mixing the meat. I think that’s where I could pick up my game a little.

    You’ve given me a great idea for a “kitchen party”. Since the homemade ketchup is needed for the meatloaf, I’ll put out an invite for a ketchup-and-meatloaf-making party, where everyone pitches in, then takes home the proceeds. It’ll be fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The way you speak of your grandmother’s meatloaf mirrors my feelings towards Zia’s meatloaf. You can imagine my horror when she admitted that she couldn’t remember the recipe!!! My heart sank!
      Your party sounds like a fun time! I’ve held pizza parties where I gave everyone small wheels of dough and they added whatever they wanted.
      When you make the ketchup, do use a splatter shield. I didn’t the first time and I bet there’s still ketchup buried deep within some crevice somewhere. What a mess!
      The length of time required to make the ketchup will depend on how thick you like it. A runny sauce can be done in an hour or so. The thicker the ketchup, the longer it will take to simmer. You cannot do it over a high flame because you might scorch it. That is so not fun!
      Good luck. I’ll be looking for that invite. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Those childhood memories are the best, John. Quaker Oats instead of breadcrumbs, sounds like it deserves a go. Not sure I have the time for home made ketchup, store bought will have to do. Thanks for the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This ketchup is really spicy, Mary. Perhaps you could try a chili sauce, as a previous commenter stated> i will definitely give it a try if I ever run out of my own ketchup. I just cannot imagine going back to store-bought — but, then again, i don’t have any little ones to feed. Believe me, if any nephews or nieces come to visit, I’ll have plenty of Heinz on-hand. 🙂

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  23. I’ve been yearning to make meatloaf – now I have a recipe to start with! Thanks for sharing! I remember my grandma’s and sadly do not have her recipe, but I remember she too used oats in her recipe. I just wish I knew what else she used?

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    • See? This is why I started documenting my family’s recipes. I just don’t like that feeling of “I only we knew how Mom made … ” I didn’t get everything recorded but I did get many of them down. 🙂

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    • You’ll always have a seat at my table, BAM. I have to tell you a little story about our green river. Before I moved here, I took a week to search for a job. Not all of our trains are underground. Some ride the rails on trestles above ground. I was on one such train as we passed over the river. I saw it was green and was appalled. I’d never seen a river so polluted and, coming from Detroit, that said a lot. It wasn’t until I had returned to my friend’s condo that evening when I learned that the green was intentional. That was in 1980 and I’ve had a chuckle every St Patrick’s Day since. 😀

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  24. My mother use to make meatloaf and gravy so just so she can make meatloaf sandwiches. 🙂 You meatloaf looks awesome. I’ve never seen oatmeal in a meatloaf recipe. What a great idea!

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    • You Mother and I would have gotten along famously, MJ. Not only do I feel that way about meatloaf, but I do the same with turkey and baked ham. Oatmeal works great in meatloaf but, as I’ve learned from other comments, so does matzo meal and saltines. I think I’ll be making quite a few more meatloaves. 🙂

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  25. John, good to have a new post. And a classic dish selection at that. I think meatloaf has experienced a diminished reputation over the years – maybe it’s as simple as the name itself? Maybe as simple as some people didn’t give it their all when preparing it? When done correctly it is one of the best comfort food dishes around. Like it with mac and cheese. That being said after a meal like that I need to work it off somehow…or it will leave a lasting impression. 🙂

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    • I so agree with your observation that meatloaf’s reputation has suffered over the years. In fact, I’m pleasantly surprised at the number of commenters that profess their love for this. I also agree that it may not be waist-friendly, especially when smothered in gravy with a large dollop of mashed potatoes nearby but, then again, I’m not serving it weekly. I do, however, enjoy it once in a while and having a meatloaf-filled small loaf pan in the freezer makes me happy. 🙂

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  26. Oh John😱 your meatloaf gets my husband crazy😋he likes meat more than me, but your recipe it seems so good and attracts my curiosity to taste… I could try to cook it, but I’ m SURE that it will never be like yours😢
    Thanks John for sharing your fantastic meatloaf🌻Hug you🌞

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  27. anche io arrivo in ritardo per fare le lodi a questa magnifica ricetta che in Toscana ha perlomeno una versione ogni provincia! allcune di queste assomigliano alla tua ricetta, altre sono varie, chi lo mette in forno dopo averlo preparato, chi prima lo frigge…ma sono tutte ugualmente succulente e sostanzione, concordo con il tuo dire che uno dei segreti è un orrimo sugo, ed anche il tuo imìnnamoramento per questa ricetta così comune da noi, e molto, molto cucinata
    ti auguro un felice giorno amico John
    Annalisa

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    • You are so right, Virginia. As disappointed as I was, I know that Zia felt worse about forgetting her recipe. It really did please her to learn that mine was very close to those she prepared. Needless to say, I was thrilled!

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    • For me, it’s all about the sandwiches and I feel the same about roast turkey and baked ham. Oh, I’ll serve ’em sliced if I’ve guests but, if I’m alone, the meat goes straight into sandwiches. And, no doubt about it, a turkey or meatloaf sandwich is at its best when smothered in gravy. Pure comfort food.

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  28. OMG, John, this looks AMAZING!! I cannot wait to try this. I am a diehard meatloaf fan…have lived through a couple cultures and continents of it. The southern variety. And now the Italian…but my favorite recipe I in that old magazine FINE COOKING…which asked you to precook the onions. But I have to say, the idea of oats and carrots AND celery in a meatloaf makes me water at the mouth. And that ketchup, yes! I am going to make that. I have a hard time putting my hands on good ketchup here in Italy. Heinz is okay, but the others aren’t. And I love the idea of making instead of buying. So, thank you thank you! I better get cookin’. (Love the stories of your childhood.)

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    • What a nice comment. Thank you. Sounds like you’re somewhat of an expert when it comes to meatloaf and I’ll be anxious to hear your thoughts on this recipe. As for the ketchup, calling it that is so unfair. Tanya’s recipe is more sauce than ketchup and, once you try it, you’ll see what I mean. Using it in this meatloaf really makes the dish and I won’t make a meatloaf without it.
      If I may offer a bit of advice. Be sure to cover the “ketchup pot” with a splatter guard, especially if you want your ketchup to be thick and rich. The longer it simmers, the more it percolates and, if uncovered, the bigger the mess. I learned that lesson the hard way. It didn’t stop me from making more, however. Again, you’ll see … 😀

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  29. That meatloaf … I know what I’m making for dinner tonight! Unfortunately, I don’t have your homemade ketchup, but I will plan to make a quantity of that when tomatoes are in season. And, OMG, is there anything better than a meatloaf sandwich? We only make meatloaf for the leftovers, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mar, when you’re right, you’re right! Had meatloaf sandwiches been around 5,000 years, ago, the Greek gods would have ditched the ambrosia in favor of these sandwiches. We’d probably be living in a completely different world. 😀
      If I run out of ketchup, I’m loathe to buy it now. I’ll get a few cans of diced tomatoes — the kind that’s 100% tomato with nothing added — and make my ketchup with them. True, nothing is a s good as when the ketchup is made from freshly harvested tomatoes but this is still far better than anything you can buy at a store. I get antsy if there’s no ketchup on the shelf. Without it, I cannot make a meatloaf and that just won’t do! 🙂

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  30. I knew immediately that your title meant ‘finally’ because the word is exactly the same in French! As always – fabulous post! You’re posts are ALWAYS like a lovely visit with a good friend.
    Me – I have been posting for a bit now because, first, I had to get my house ready for sale, then had to deal with all the ‘shenanigans’ the buyers and their not-so-nice agent put me through – and now I have to ‘be outta here’ by May 5th.
    I just spent a week in Florida visiting people and visiting new towns to see if I might want to live there. Right now I’m thinking I might ‘land’ in St. Augustine. In the meantime, I’m sooo lucky that someone has offered me their condo in Naples.. where I can, in theory stay, until the ‘rental season’ returns. And there’s always our Pocono house!
    And now you know what’s going on in my life right now!! Sending you lots of cyber hugs my friend. ; o )
    (Of course, again ‘as always’ – your recipe for meatloaf, based on your beloved Zia’s recipe – looks delicious!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sure do have a full late, Cecile. Sounds like you’ve got it under control, though — at least far better than I would in your situation. Truth is, I’ve been thinking of moving, too. No, not anytime soon but there is a move on the horizon. I love this building, my tenant family, and the neighborhood but there’s a great deal of upkeep. I’d rather walk away before it gets to be too much for me to handle. I’ve got years yet but, as you know better than anyone, it’s never too early to start planning.
      So good to hear from you. Enjoy your time in Naples and have fun checking out St Augustine. No matter where you “lad”, I’m sure you’ll be very happy there.
      Bonne chance! 🙂

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      • I sooo agree with you about the upkeep. I just DO NOT want to do this anymore. I want to do other things with my time – and my money!! Plus travel – and, hopefully, at one time, come to your area of Chicago and ‘hang with my good buddy’!! ; o ) And thanks for wishing my ‘Bonne Chance’!!

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    • Decades?!?!?! Oh, Colline. You poor woman! If you lived on this side of the border, I’d tell you to get to a diner immediately. I’m not so sure that meatloaf is as readily available in your area as it is here. Decades, huh? How very tragic. 😀

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  31. Looks like tomato ketchup is the ‘secret’ ingredient for a lot of ‘meh’ dishes 🙂 It makes the roast chicken marination very much ‘amore’ 🙂 Your are welcome to see for yourself on my blog what I’m talking about 🙂
    Nice to know and learn about your meatloaf rendition with nice nice pictures. Love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Nusrat. Ketchup is the secret ingredient. I just returned from your site and your chicken dish sounds delicious. Looks like I need to make more ketchup. 🙂
      I hope you’re having a good week.

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  32. I realise I have been away too long, lots have been happening here. My mother made meat loaf which we ate in every way imaginable, hot, cold luke warm I loved it then forgot about it until now. My mother’s recipe gone forever. I shall be giving yours a try – I have a feeling I will need to wait a little bit so I can also make the tomato ketchup.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve not been around much either, Maria, but hope that will change now …
      Yes, the ketchup is the key to this recipe. It’s not terribly sweet like most manufactured brands. Someone in a comment mentioned using a chili sauce. I may give that a try, especially if I need meatloaf and have run out of my ketchup. We’ll see …
      Good to see you again, Maria. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you John. As you know I now have your book so have been busy dipping into it. Thank you for the recommendation of the ketchup recipe I shall be making it as soon as we are in tomato season. Hoping to see more of each other!!

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  33. I haven’t made meatloaf in years and you have just reminded me how of how wonderful this dish is to cook and enjoy. I love the inclusion of rolled oats for a healthy and binding addition and thanks John, you have just offered me a dish to cook tonight 😀

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  34. I’m sure this recipe is very good and I know that because you used beef and pork! Pork gives so much flavor. Yum! I love the recipe I use though with diced tomatoes. It is similar to yours because I also put in oats.

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