~my thoughts about life~

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dinner Experiment - Day 1

Tuesday was Day #1 of Experiment New Dinnertime.  I made meatloaf.  Yeah, I thought I would start out with something totally horrible by the standards of picky kid eaters.

When Hubby and I were talking on the phone a couple days ago, he said he was on board with The Dinner Nazi, but there were certain things he just couldn't eat.  I told him I understand that.  I'm not going to make totally ridiculous things....only things that most normal people like.  He listed some specifics...fish, ketchup, and a couple others.  When I agreed I would not cook those things, he said, "Good, meatloaf is out then!"  Little did he know, it was on the way...

I don't like ketchup either, and I think that's why meatloaf has always left a bad taste in my mouth.  (Pun intended.)  The last time I remember eating meatloaf was when I was probably 8 and it was a major chore to get down.  I got thinking- that's ridiculous!  How can I hold onto that idea for nearly 30 years that meatloaf is disgusting???  I'm a fairly good cook.  I can put in the meatloaf whatever I want.

So I googled "no ketchup meatloaf."  Turns out, I'm not alone in the ketchup in meatloaf aversion.  Tons of results came up.  One of the comments said, "Isn't that the point of meatloaf?  To put in whatever you have on hand?"  So, I decided to customize our own meatloaf.

Here's the recipe I started with:
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 C bread crumbs
1 onion, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
16 oz. tomato sauce
3 T vinegar
3 T brown sugar
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 C water to thin, if necessary

Of course, I dialed down the onion- a lot!  I can't stand when food is overpowered with onion flavor.  I dialed down the pepper, eliminated the vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.  I thought the vinegar is what would give it more of a ketchup taste.  And I don't have Dijon mustard or Worcestershire.  I didn't use the water.  I added a dash of garlic powder, as I was out of fresh, and a couple shakes of Italian seasoning.  My goal was to make it more like Italian meatballs, which Hubby & I both like.  (The kids like NOTHING!)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix together beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and 1/2 C tomato sauce.  Form this mixture into a loaf and place in a shallow pan.  (I used a loaf pan to make it look like traditional meatloaf).  Stir together the remaining ingredients, using the water if needed.  Pour over the meatloaf.  Bake 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with the pan juices.

I had an appointment, so I covered the top with about 3/4 of the prepared sauce, put it in the oven, and left. I did not baste.

The verdict:  pretty good!  The sauce on top was very sweet.  I liked that; Hubby thought it was too sweet.  If you don't like sweet food, dial down the brown sugar a bit.  Of course, all my kids fought me, yet I made them eat some.  I think I'll add it to the occasional rotation.  It was very easy to make ahead and pop in the oven later.  I served it with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.

Your thoughts about Meatloaf:  love it or hate it???


Lisa said...

I don't love it, I don't hate it either. My grandmother made decent meatloaf and when I asked her for the recipe she laughed "whatever is in the refridgerator." I never made it very much. And now I can't because I can't have the bread crumbs. I don't miss it. I do agree with what you are doing with your picky eaters.

Erica said...

I like make ahead stuff. I actually made a chicken enchilada meatloaf yesterday for dinner tonight. It looks like it will be really good:

I didn't make the topping because I couldn't find tomatillo and I already have some green enchilada sauce on hand. We will see.

Mimsie said...

I LOVE meatloaf--both making it and eating it. I make it a couple of times during the winter, not in the summer, though. And everyone in our house likes ketchup. Sorry about your picky eaters--can't say I can identify with that.

chris said...

thumbs up for meatloaf! i make it half with ketchup, brown sugar, mustard topping and half without & that way everyone gets what they like. like mimsie, it's food for winter only, with garlic mashed potatoes & whatever frozen vegetable i touch first when i open the freezer.

Linda said...

Meatloaf isn't my favorite, but I enjoy it when I have it. Funny thing is that I never heard of using ketchup in/on it until just a few years ago. My mother never used ketchup (and since I don't like ketchup, I never put any ON it), and I just continued to use her recipe.

The first time I saw someone putting the stuff IN the meatloaf mix, I was astounded and wondered why anyone would want to ruin a perfectly good dish by doing that.

Each to their own I guess.

The Lovely One said...

I like meatloaf (I mean, I like MY meatload, I don't know about any others), and the kids like ketchup, so this is something the whole family will eat. My kids aren't that picky, but my daughter doesn't typically like "casserole" dinners (so no spaghetti, enchilladas, lasagna, etc). She likes to keep her flavors separated!