Okay, so I have been seriously dropping the ball with this whole KaZoo blogging thing (This is Chris, by the way). So first things first: Sorry about that. When Amy first had the idea that BOTH of us would be contributing to the KaZoo (what I call it in my head), I was really unsure about how I would contribute since the entirety of my sewing knowledge was based on a 5 minute emergency button replacement lesson I received at my first job (I was a “Formalwear Consultant” at a formalwear shop). Even though I’ve only used this skill about 3 times, my wife has graciously relieved me of sewing duties since my method correlates quality with thread amount (AKA good sewing = MOAR Threadz). If you are thinking that you’d like to know how to sew a button, I suggest this link ( http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/06/28/sewing-on-a-button/) from a website I recently found.
I suppose I should get on with the post at hand, now that we have established that, just like talking in real life, Chris blogging equals going down rabbit holes. After consulting blog experts (reading articles on “how to blog” on other blogs) apparently the thing to do is blog about things you like, enjoy, are good at, or want to become good at. So I am thinking I’ll start this out with a thing I like: FOOD!
Growing up, my parents would have definitely classified me as a picky eater, as there were many “rules” I had about food. Like many picky eaters, these rules started out with unreasonable statements like, “EW! I’m not eating that; the food is touching each other!” when I was young and were subsequently justified later on with things like, “That has TOO many flavors.” Luckily for me (and Amy too), I have been steadily moving away from picky-eater-land since we’ve been married, which brings me to the recipe that I’d like to share: MEATLOAF. Specifically, what I call Amy’s mom’s meatloaf.
My prior beliefs on meatloaf fell under the “too many flavors” (meat, onions, AND sauce – horror of horrors!) rule, and my reaction the first time Amy suggested we have meatloaf for dinner was basically this: (try the commercial for the short version)
As it turns out, I never had meatloaf like Amy’s family recipe, and now it’s become one of the things I actually do well. I have learned that not all meatloafs (meatloaves?) are created equal. So without further ado, here is what you need (with what I used in parens):
- 1 pound fresh ground beef (we use lean, grass-fed and I prefer to let it get to room temp or close before starting because colder=hand frostbite)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup milk (we use 2%)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion (vidalia or sweet)
- ~ 1/2 cup quick oatmeal (we use Quaker Oats)
- ~1/2 cup brown sugar (I usually get close, but probably a little more than exactly 1/2 a cup)
- ~1/4 cup ketchup (We use the Simply Heinz kind, and I usually use a little bit more as well)
- 1 tsp mustard (we use French’s regular yellow mustard)
SPOILER ALERT: Making a meatloaf is not pretty. Taking pictures of said making of meatloaf is not pretty either. But it’s pretty good eating, which justifies the making.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Since our oven take a few minutes to heat up, I usually start the preheating right after I’ve gotten out all my ingredients, but before I start mixing ingredients. Once that is done, I chop the onion and then combine the milk and egg using our handy dandy hand mixer.
Making the loaf:
While oven is heating up, beat egg and milk in large bowl.
I use a combination of the 2nd and 3rd (of 5) speeds on the mixer until the mixture starts to get a little bit bubbly. Don’t worry: It’s not an exact thing, and I’ve probably varied in bubbly-ness over time.
Once your preferred bubble level has been established, add the meat, onion and oatmeal to the liquid mixture. The next step is why I let the meat warm a bit (if I remember). Time to mix the meat, liquid, onion, and oatmeal by HAND until the meat has absorbed all of the liquid and the onion and oatmeal is sufficiently mixed in. Forgetting to let the meat warm a bit results in some eskimo cold hands. Note: I do not recommend warming the meat in a microwave as inevitably it results in partially microwaved beef (also why we prefer fresh meat). Remember to wash hands before this step or use prep gloves.
Add salt and pepper to taste (Amy typically does this part.)
Transfer mixture to the meatloaf pan and form into a squarish shape. One key thing I’ve learned is to ensure there is gap between the pan wall and the meatloaf. Also, I make sure there is a slight depression (aka lake) in the center for the special sauce on top of the meatloaf so that it doesn’t run off during the cooking process.
Important note: Amy’s mom recommends a shallow square pan, which is not the traditional “loaf” pan but allows for faster cooking and more surface area covered in sauce…which is of course, the best thing about meatloaf. Secretly, I think this is the only way she could get Amy to eat meatloaf when she was a child–if there was more sauce. Lots of sauce. Speaking of sauce….
Now it’s time to make the sauce that really makes this recipe stand out and is a cinch to make.
Just stir together your brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard in a small bowl until you get a consistent mixture. I’m not a huge fan of mustard but don’t even notice it in this sauce.
Pour over meatloaf, staying within the lake you’ve made in the center of the loaf.
Hopefully, by now your oven has preheated and is ready to go. Simply place in the center of the middle rack, and bake 30-40 minutes or until done. Our current (please, please let it soon be former) condo oven usually takes a total of 45-55 min, but prior ovens have previously been close to the recipe time. While you wait for it to cook, you can prepare yummy sides.
Chris words of wisdom: No matter how much you make fun of an oven for not being hot enough to make recipes come out on time, it is never ok to attempt to lick a meatloaf pan as you remove it to get that bit of sauce that you spilled. Luckily for everyone, my wife always has an eye for when I am about to have an EPIC Fail and a loud voice to yell “STOP!!!” After all, burnt tongues don’t get to enjoy the yummy meatloaf.
So as you can tell, I am now a convert to the greatness of meatloaf despite the fact it is made up of even more ingredients that I previously thought. We don’t have meatloaf very often since Amy tries to get me to eat less red meat, but that makes this more of a treat when we actually do. I typically justify requests for meatloaf with statements like, “We can have it with green beans” so that Amy agrees to have it. Works every time. Except probably not after this post.