If I’m being totally honest, meat loaf was on my top 5 least favorite foods growing up. It was right up there with Split Pea Soup. But when your dad is a cattle rancher, you wake up wondering, “What’s my mom going to cook with ground beef today?” And quite often at the end of the day I found a slice of meatloaf waiting for me on my plate. No offense, Mom. It wasn’t you, it was me.
Fast forward to my life as a young wife and mother who’s in-laws raise beef. I found myself waking up wondering, “What am I going to cook with my ground beef today?” It didn’t take long for me to understand why my mom cooked meatloaf so often. 1- It was fast & easy 2- It freezes great & 3- You always have the ingredients on hand.
I found a good recipe and over the years I’ve tweaked it to be my family’s favorite Sunday dinner. It’s so simple that I’m not going to walk you through each step but I’m going to tell you a few things that might be slightly different than the norm.
First of all, What? Ritz Crackers? This happened by mistake. I was making meatloaf one day and realized I was out of Saltine crackers but I had Ritz Crackers so I used them instead. I couldn’t believe how much better tasting it made the meatloaf. I’ve used them ever since. Except for the time I was out of Ritz and used Goldfish crackers. Not a good substitute.
My family does NOT like onions! If your family does, go ahead and add half an onion. I just throw in a Tbsp of dried onion and nobody complains. And I’m happy because it’s one less veggie to chop.
The sauce! I had never had meatloaf with a sauce. My mom usually squirted a little ketchup on the top but nothing like this sweet BBQ flavor. It is so simple and yummy and makes your house smell amazing!!!
If you’ve never frozen meatloaf, you should! Our Saturdays are usually spent out of town. I like to make several meatloaf and freeze them. I mix the meatloaf ingredients and place them in loaf pans. Then I wrap them in plastic wrap.
After the meatloafs are completely frozen, usually a day later, I put the loaf pans in my kitchen sink with about 2″ of hot water. After about 30 seconds, I dump the meatloaf out of the dish and wrap it back up in plastic wrap. This is only necessary if you need your loaf pans. You can also use tin pans to eliminate this process. However, we usually have company on Sunday and I like how the glass dishes look.
Remove the meatloaf from the freezer the day before you want to serve it. Remove the plastic wrap and place the frozen meatloaf back into the dish. You can make and add the sauce at this time, or just before cooking it the following day.
The recipe is for one meatloaf; but I have to make 2 for our family. If you get that gross fatty stuff on the top of your meatloaf, let it stand for a few minutes and then gently spoon it off.
One of the best things you can do for your meatloaf is let it set for 10 minutes before cutting it. It absorbs some of the juices during this time and it also sets up just a bit making it easier to serve.
- 1 1/2-2 lbs. Lean Ground Beef
- 1 Cup Ritz Crackers Smashed
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 Tbsp. Dried Onion or 1/2 chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp. Ground Sage
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 Cup Ketchup
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Worchestershire Sauce
- Combine Ground beef, Ritz, Eggs, Milk, Dried Onion, and Seasonings. Place in a loaf pan. Mix Ketchup, Brown Sugar and Worchestershire Sauce in a separate bowl and pour on top of meatloaf mixture. Bake @ 350′ for 50-60 mins. Let set for 10 mins. before serving.