Make Meatloaf: 7 Recipes for Dishing Out Comfort Food

Meatloaf is classic comfort food, but you don’t always have to prepare it in the traditional way. Adding a bit of variety will keep you interested in this classic dish, which The Atlantic says has been dated back to 1899 by The Oxford Companion to Food. That year, meatloaf made its first known appearance in a cookbook, and since then, the dinnertime staple went from a budget-friendly option to a gourmet entrée. Here are just 7 of the ways you can make meatloaf part of your dinner tonight.

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1. Diner Meatloaf Muffins

For a bite-sized meatloaf, make Cooking Light‘s meatloaf muffins. Serve the muffins as a side with dinner or turn them into “cupcakes” by piping whipped or mashed potatoes on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup, divided
  • 1½ pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
  • 1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Cooking spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool.

Combine onion mixture, ½ cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl. Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Source: iStock

2. Meat Loaf Stuffed with Prosciutto and Spinach

Mario Batali wants you to upgrade your momma’s meatloaf by adding prosciutto and Italian cheeses. Batali provided this recipe to Food & Wine for meatloaf gone gourmet; it serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, each cut lengthwise into 6 slices
  • 4 cups spinach (3 ounces), thick stems discarded
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 2½ cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 cups freshly grated pecorino cheese (6 ounces)
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 12 thin slices of prosciutto (4 ounces)
  • ½ pound caciocavallo or provolone cheese, cut into 12 ⅛-inch-thick slices
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup water

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the carrots until tender, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook just until wilted; drain well and add to the carrots. In a large bowl, combine the beef with the pork, 2 cups of the bread crumbs, the pecorino, eggs, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper; mix well with your hands.

Line a work surface with a 15-inch-long sheet of plastic wrap. In a bowl, mix the flour with the remaining ½ cup of bread crumbs. Sprinkle half of the crumb mixture all over the plastic wrap. Transfer half of the meat loaf mixture to the plastic and press it into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle about ½ inch thick. Lay half of the spinach leaves over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border on the short sides. Arrange half of the carrots over the spinach and top with half the prosciutto and sliced cheese. Starting from the long end of the plastic wrap closest to you, tightly roll up the meat loaf, tucking in the filling and using the plastic wrap to guide you; discard the plastic. Repeat with another 15-inch sheet of plastic and the remaining bread crumbs, meat mixture, spinach, carrots, prosciutto, and cheese. Drizzle each meat loaf with 2 tablespoons of oil.

Put the rosemary sprigs in the bottom of a broiler pan and pour in the red wine. Cover with the broiler pan grate. Set the meat loaves about 2 inches apart on the grate. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. Turn the broiler pan around and pour the water through the grate. Continue baking for about 35 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of each meat loaf registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transfer the meat loaves to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Discard any cheese from the bottom of the pan and strain the pan juices into a small saucepan. Boil the pan juices over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour into a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper. Using a serrated knife, slice the meat loaves 1 inch thick and serve, passing the pan juices at the table.

Source: iStock

3. Smoky Meatloaf

Eating Well employs zucchini to keep its meatloaf moist, as well as paprika to give it the full, smoky flavor the name promises. You’ll have about 6 servings from this slightly lightened-up recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 1 small)
  • ½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ cup dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1½ pounds lean (90 percent or leaner) ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup or barbecue sauce

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place zucchini, bell pepper, shallot, and water in a medium microwavable bowl, cover, and microwave on high until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Carefully uncover and drain the vegetables in a sieve, gently pressing out as much moisture as possible; spread out on a large plate to cool slightly.

Whisk egg, tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire, marjoram, salt, paprika, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the vegetables and stir to combine. Add breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Add beef and gently knead with clean hands to combine with the vegetable mixture; do not overmix.

Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape (approximately 10 by 4 inches) on the prepared baking sheet. Spread ketchup or barbecue sauce over the top of the loaf. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit, 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Source: iStock

4. Edward’s Open-Faced Meatloaf Sandwiches

Chef Edward Lee lent his name and his recipe to Southern Living so others could create the opened-faced meatloaf sandwiches he enjoyed. Thick slices of Texas toast are topped with meatloaf and cooked egg for a dinner or lunch that has just a hint of breakfast about it. It makes 8 servings.

Ingredients:

Meatloaf

  • 7 bacon slices, diced
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1½ cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup cola soft drink
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or 2 tablespoons cola
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Gravy

  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Other ingredients

  • 8 Texas toast slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 large eggs
  • 8 thick tomato slices
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Add onions and next 2 ingredients to hot drippings, and sauté 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Add ground chuck, next 5 ingredients, ½ cup ketchup, 1½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and cooked bacon to onion mixture in bowl, and combine mixture using hands. Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, and remaining ½ cup ketchup in a separate bowl. Transfer meat mixture to a lightly greased 9-by-5-inch loafpan. Brush top with ketchup mixture.

Bake for 80 minutes to 90 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in center registers 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour, reserving 1 cup drippings.

For the gravy, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Slowly whisk in broth and meatloaf drippings. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon lemon juice. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange Texas toast slices on a baking sheet and bake 8 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from oven.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Gently break 4 eggs into a hot skillet. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from skillet and cover with aluminum foil. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 eggs.

Cut meatloaf into 8 slices. Sprinkle tomato slices with desired amount of salt. Spread 1 side of each toast slice with 1½ teaspoons mayonnaise. Top each toast slice, mayonnaise sides up, with 1 tomato slice and 1 meatloaf slice. Gently place 1 cooked egg on each meatloaf slice. Serve with gravy; sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and freshly ground pepper.

Source: Thinkstock

5. Traditional Meatloaf

This Taste of Home recipe is keeping the ingredients and method traditional. While you’re keeping everything simple, pair your meatloaf with a classic side, like mashed potatoes. This recipe yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅔ cup 2 percent milk
  • 3 slices bread, crumbled
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ pounds ground turkey or beef
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine first eight ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf. Place in a greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard; spread over loaf. Bake 60 to 75 minutes or until no pink remains and a thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Source: iStock

6. Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

Fine Cooking recommends serving its bacon-wrapped meatloaf with a zesty mushroom gravy. Whether you make this gravy or use an alternative sauce, the bacon-wrapped meatloaf will be a hit with meat lovers. It can be made 8 hours in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to bake. The recipe serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces cremini (baby bella) or white mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped (1⅓ cups)
  • ½ cup minced yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces day-old rustic or dense white bread, torn into about ½-inch pieces (1½ cups)
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ground beef (85 percent lean)
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices center-cut bacon

Directions: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with the onion, sherry, garlic, 1½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread, milk, and egg. Stir well, lightly mashing the bread until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the beef, veal, pork, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and onion-mushroom mixture. Using a large, sturdy wooden spoon or your hands, gently mix just until all the ingredients are blended; you may need to push the meat against the side of the bowl to get the pieces to break up.

Put the meat mixture in a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf about 10 by 4 inches. Wrap the strips of bacon around the loaf crosswise, overlapping them slightly and tucking the ends securely under the loaf. Pat the loaf back into shape if necessary.

Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, 60 to 70 minutes. Take the meatloaf out of the oven and position the oven rack about 6 inches from the broiling element. Heat the broiler to high. Broil the meatloaf until the bacon is brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Let the loaf rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.

Use two flat spatulas to transfer the meatloaf to a serving platter. Slice and serve with the mushroom gravy.

Source: iStock

7. Veggie Meatloaf with Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

In this Food Network recipe, meatloaf is lacking what for many would be the main ingredient: meat. Mushrooms fill the meat void in the mini vegetarian meatloaves, which are served on beds of wilted spinach. The recipe makes 4 mini meatloaves.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, plus more for coating ramekins
  • 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound mix of portobello and cremini mushrooms, trimmed and finely chopped in a food processor
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces cheddar, grated
  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves, for serving

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter 4 (8-ounce) ramekins and lightly coat with breadcrumbs. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the warm water until soft. Remove the tomatoes and coarsely chop. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and soaking water, and add the breadcrumbs. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil, followed by the onions. Cook until brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1½ teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl to cool.

Add the breadcrumb mixture and the grated cheese to the vegetables, and mix well with your hands. Evenly distribute the mixture among the coated ramekins. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then run a knife around the edges of the ramekins. Toss the spinach in a hot skillet just until wilted and divide among 4 serving plates. Invert the meatloaf onto the spinach. Serve immediately.

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