Confession: I never had meatloaf with any kind of sauce or gravy on it until I was an adult and first ate Boston Market’s.
Growing up, my mom’s meatloaf was primarily flavored with instant onion soup mix and had no sauce or gravy on it. I thought it was good – it wasn’t dry, it did have flavor, but it was pretty simple and basic… I didn’t know any better. Not to disparage my Mom’s, but after more than 30 years I realized there was this whole other aspect to meatloaf that included a layer of sweetness and tang taking it up another notch. There was no going back.
I began making meatloaf with the aim to find my own version. Starting with recipe’s in classic cookbooks like Betty Crocker and Better Homes & Garden’s New Cook Book (the one with the red white checkered cover that EVERY cook in America likely owns!), I got the foundation for the kind of meatloaf I wanted to make. Then fate stepped in.
One day while grocery shopping I was trolling the discount item bin. I’m always looking to save a dollar or two wherever I can, so I usually check to see what the store has that’s a little dented, crushed, or discontinued, but perfectly okay to add to my pantry. One day I found a box of Corn Flake Crumbs. At that moment I remembered having baked chicken as a kid coated in corn flake’s and thought it was a great opportunity to try making it myself. A little moment of nostalgia and reminiscing the food of my 70’s childhood got me to buy that box.
Ironically, I never did make that chicken (hmm… thought for future dish coming to me?!), but I did decide the next time I made meatloaf to use that box of corn flake crumbs instead of breadcrumbs – which I just happened to be out of at the time. It was so tasty I only looked back once making meatloaf with breadcrumbs. That experience only served to reinforce that the corn flakes were the only way to go!
Another substitution for last minute deficiencies in my kitchen led to this piece of the puzzle. Being out of thyme I grabbed the next bottle over in my spice rack and threw caution to the wind. Instead of the warmer flavors of thyme, the basil gives it a bright note under the more conventional flavors of ingredients like Worcestershire and onion.
Three: Glaze… lots and lots of glaze. Cover that bad boy in the stuff!
I suppose it could be a case of making up for all the years without it, but I simply love my meatloaf glazed in a simple sweet and tangy ketchup-based sauce. Plus, I swear that by glazing the whole thing it’s helping to keep the meatloaf moist as it cooks. Sealing all the goodness in. And, when making meatloaf sandwiches from the leftovers I already have a little sauce on my sammie. Yum!
I’m not nearly finished with my exploration of creating new tasty meatloaf’s, but this one is a staple in our house, and will likely be a recipe I come back to over and over for many years to come. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps make it a staple in your home. Be sure to let me know if you like it. And if you have any suggestions on how to make it even better be sure to share in the comments below. I’m always looking for new ways to spiff up this classic dish.
- 3 C. corn flake cereal, crushed into crumbs *
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 2 Tbs. onion powder – or 1/2 cup finely diced onion
- 1 1/2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/3 C. ketchup
- 1/4 tsp ground mustard
- 1/4 C. brown sugar, packed
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the corn flake cereal in a large ziploc bag. With a rolling pin crush the corn flakes into small crumbs. The volume of the cereal in the bag will be less than half of what you started with.
- In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients, including the crushed cereal.
- With your hands, mix all the ingredients until well incorporated. Don’t over mix.
- Take the meatloaf mix and pat it into a nice, rectangular loaf. If you find the mix is a little crumbly or there are any cracks, add a tablespoon of water and continue to mix in the bowl until it all comes together smoothly.
- In a baking dish, finish forming your meat into a long rectangular loaf. Make sure you have a nice flat top to put all the sauce on.
- In a small bowl, whisk the glaze ingredients until smooth.
- Using a spoon, put the glaze on the top of the meatloaf. Be sure to put the glaze all around the sides of the loaf, too. Some will drip down the sides, but do your best to keep most of it on the top of the meatloaf. You just want enough on the sides to coat.
- Put the meatloaf in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove form the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Let the meatloaf sit for about 5 minutes before cutting, and serve.
These green beans are a simple side dish that goes with so many things, and is easy, easy, easy. Of course they’re best when beans are in season, but these days you can find fresh green beans all year ’round, so you don’t have to suffer with canned beans. Perfectly cooked, still slightly crisp, bright green, and full of garlicky goodness. I could eat a whole bowls of these suckers all by themselves!
- 1 lb. green beans
- 4 Tbs. olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
- Snap the ends of your beans , and rinse in cold water. If you have a few beans that are a little long, snap them in half so they’re all roughly the same length.
- Fill a large stock pot half way with water. Bring to a rapid boil.
- When boiling, add the green beans to the water.
- Cook for about 7 minutes, just until the beans turn bright green. They should be cooked, but still have a little snap to them.
- Strain the beans out into a colander. Shaking off any excess water.
- In a large pan, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the green beans to the pan and stir coating all the beans with oil. You might have a little popping or sizzle when you first add the beans to the pan. This is from whatever water’s left on the beans. It should stop after a few seconds.
- Using a garlic press, crush the cloves of garlic directly into the pan, and add the salt.
- Stir all the ingredients until nicely incorporated.
- Allow to sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Be sure to give it a taste and add salt as needed. I like these really salted, it brings out the flavors of the beans and garlic, and just helps everything meld together.
Hope you give each of these a try. Let me know what you think, and share your secret ingredients for a tasty meatloaf in the comments below.