We all need one or two easy and delicious meals that can be quickly prepared on short notice. My easy meatloaf recipe is one of those recipes for me because I always have all the ingredients on hand and it only takes a few minutes to prepare. Try this recipe once and it will become a family dinner favorite that you will serve them again and again.
It is important to note that I don’t really measure anything, so my directions will reflect that. Perhaps the meatloaf tastes slightly different each time, but it is always moist and delicious. Use your own cooking knowledge to fine tune my recipe to your tastes.
Preheat the oven to three hundred and fifty degrees. Remember that all ovens are different, and use your judgment. If you usually bake your meatloaf at three hundred and twenty five degrees, stick with that. Likewise, if you use a higher temperature for your meatloaf, go to three hundred and seventy five degrees.
Start with about a pound and a half of ground meat. I use beef because that’s what my husband likes. You can use ground chicken or turkey for a healthier version, or any ground meat, for that matter. Place the raw meat in a large mixing bowl. Add two raw eggs and about one quarter cup of ketchup. Add to that one package of dried onion soup mix and one package of dried ranch dressing mix. Sometimes I substitute about one quarter cup of actual ranch dressing for the dried mix. Add about one quarter cup of bread crumbs and one quarter cup of crushed dried onions and combine all ingredients well. If the mixture seems too dry, add a few drops of water. If it seems too moist, add a few bread crumbs.
Prepare the baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray. This is to prevent the meatloaf from sticking to the pan. Even though I use non-stick cookware, I still use cooking spray. This makes the meatloaf easier to serve, and also makes cleaning up after dinner much easier.
Mold the meat mixture into a loaf and place it into the prepared pan. The loaf can take on any shape. I tend to stick to boring oblong, square or round meatloaf. However, there is no rule that says that you can’t get creative with the shape of your meatloaf if you are artistically inclined. Lightly salt and pepper the meatloaf. Sprinkle on a little garlic powder.
Place the meatloaf into the pre-heated oven and close the over door. Bake the meatloaf for about forty-five minutes, or until it is completely cooked all the way through. Remember that ground meat should always be cooked thoroughly to prevent contracting food-borne illnesses. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and allow it to stand for about five minutes before slicing and serving.
Serve the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy for a traditional home cooked meal. This recipe will serve four people with plenty left over for seconds or sandwiches. Once you prepare this dish for your family, and you discover how simple and delicious it is, you will make it part of your weekly menu.