"Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf," Randy says forlornly.
"All right," shouts Mr. Parker. "I'll get that kid to eat. Where's my screwdriver and my plumber's helper? I'll open up his mouth and I'll shove it in."
Ralphie just shrugs his shoulders and dives right in.
That scene in A Christmas Story (one of my top 5 Christmas movies) is a classic. They are having meatloaf for dinner and Randy - the younger, fussier brother - whines about it.
Last night I served meatloaf. It is my favorite recipe adapted from the Southern Living Homestyle Cooking cookbook called Horseradish Meatloaf.
I know what you are thinking. Ewwww to the horseradish. Don't be such a whiner. I grew up with a great appreciation for horseradish. My dad was a connoisseur. Especially when mixed with ketchup on his polska kielbasa. ;-)
For those that think they don't like the flavor, I usually don't tell them this has horseradish in it until they taste it and exclaim it as delicious. Then I come clean and they are always surprised. But the horseradish is the secret ingredient and does, indeed, make this flavor out of this world!
The only thing I dislike about making meatloaf (besides getting my hands all mushy) is the fact that it takes so long to bake. Even in the mini loaf pans that I buy in bulk.
But when I saw this picture from Pinterest...
...I knew that would be the solution! Cooks up way faster and perfect portion sizes, too!
I whipped up the ingredients and popped the balls in the muffin tins. From this one batch I got 22 tins full.
They cooked in about 30 minutes. I will never make meatloaf in a loaf pan again.
And while that was cooking I threw in some carrots to roast in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper, balsamic vinegar and honey. They were okay, except I put on too much vinegar and not nearly enough honey. I usually steam some baby carrots and then add them to a sauce pan with melted butter, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt and pepper. I call them candy carrots and it is the only way I will eat them next to raw. Next time I will try doing that in the oven instead!
You have to have mashed potatoes with meatloaf. It is a law, right? I know that I could wash and peel and poke and cut and boil and then mash, but I don't have that kind of time. Nor patience. So I bought two packages from my pal Bob Evans of already whipped mashed potatoes in both plain butter and garlic and then mixed the two. Voila! Dinner is served!
2 pounds ground beef (I use 85% lean)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 C. oatmeal (but next time I am going to try dry bread crumbs instead)
1/2 C. ketchup
1 T. horseradish (or more if you are like me!)
1/4 C. milk (but a dash of worcestshire sauce might be a good alternative)
1/2 onion, finely minced (I didn't mince fine enough. Next time it might be 1 t. onion powder instead.)
2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 C. finely diced cheese (try crumbled Cotswald Cheddar for great flavor. I used a basil asiago that we happened to have which was also good.)
1/2 C. ketchup
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. horseradish
2 t. spicy brown or dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix all meatloaf ingredients together well (Although messy, it’s easiest to do this with your hands). Roll the meat mixture into a large balls and press into a greased muffin tin.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. (I actually don't measure. I just go by feeling on this). Spoon half of the sauce mixture on top of the meatloaf. Place meatloaf in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.
4. Spoon remaining sauce over the top and return to the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for an additional 5 minutes before serving.
A few fun facts about meatloaf:
- Meatloaf traces its origins back to German traditions, but just about every country has a variety from Austria, Finland, Macedonia and even Vietnam.
- During the Great Depression, meatloaf was a way to stretch a food budget using inexpensive meats and other leftover ingredients along with spices and cereal grains to bind it together and make it go farther.
- Meatloaf is interchangeable with meatballs and is traditionally served with some sort of sauce over the top. Either a tomato based sauce, a simple gravy or even barbecue sauce is popular.
- Some people 'frost' their meatloaf with mashed potatoes, drizzling with butter and browning in the oven. Now that would make the muffin tin idea really work!
- Meatloaf is typically served warm as a main dish, but a lot of people like to eat it cold the next day as a sandwich meat and many diners and restaurants today are finding the charm of this humble comfort food.
What is your favorite meatloaf memory? Is there anything different or surprising that you like to include in your recipe? Do tell!