This is a very basic recipe and an easy dinner idea that hardly takes any time at all to prepare. In fact, it is a great option if you just want to throw something quickly together for dinner without the muss and fuss. All you really need to have to make this is a pulse and a few ingredients that you are already likely to have in your kitchen… it’s that simple. I like my meatloaf moist but not falling apart and it’s not that easy to mess this recipe up, so you can actually adjust the following recipe to suit your own preferences.
2.5 lbs of ground beef (the leaner the better)
½ cup ketchup
1 cup oatmeal, breadcrumbs, or ground crackers (I prefer oatmeal, if I have it)
1 to 2 eggs
1 package of onion soup mix (optional)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Salt/Pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper/chili pepper seasoning (optional)
*Preheat oven to 325 degrees as you prepare your meatloaf*
Put your ground beef in a big mixing bowl and prepare to mix ingredients by hand. Start by adding 1 to 2 eggs to the ground beef. TIP: Egg is a key ingredient in this recipe as that is what keeps the meatloaf from turning into a giant meatball. I usually add 2 eggs because I like a moist meatloaf and the oats (or breadcrumbs) work well with the egg in achieving this. After you’ve added the egg(s), then go ahead and add the remainder of the ingredients mentioned in the above recipe and mix everything together thoroughly. Form the mixture into a loaf shape in a baking pan and top with a drizzle of ketchup. Now it’s ready to go in the oven!
Once the temperature reaches 325 degrees, stick the meatloaf in the oven and let it cook for about an hour. Slice into the thickest part of the meatloaf to check if it is done. You can also use a meat thermometer by sticking it in the thickest part of the loaf, which should then read about 160 degrees if the meatloaf is done. If the meatloaf needs a bit more time then stick it back in the oven and check it every 10 minutes. Once done, remove the meatloaf, drain any grease off of the bottom, and let it cool for 10 to15 minutes before serving. And now for something completely different…
Try Something Different
There are many different variations of this recipe that you can try and add to your list of easy dinner ideas. For instance, you can try Rotel diced tomatoes to replace the ketchup in the meatloaf. You can also add some mozzarella cheese to the center of the loaf: separate the meat mixture in two halves, lay slices of mozzarella on top of the bottom half of loaf, cover completely with the remaining half (the kids love this version!). Another option is to drizzle some homemade sauce or gravy over the meat and veggies for picky eaters… they often love practically anything if it’s covered in sauce. Get creative, experiment, and enjoy!