As I’ve mentioned previously, my Mom was not the greatest cook. The things she did well – she did EXCEPTIONALLY well. The other stuff… well, not so much. One dish that all of her children will agree that she did exceptionally well on was her meatloaf. Where on earth she came up with this recipe, I’ll likely never know this side of eternity – and well, will I really give a rip in heaven?!
I wish I could get a couple of her grandchildren – grandsons, specifically – to agree. But I’ll get into that later!
On most Fridays I take part in Fight Back Friday over at Food Renegade’s blog. She has a lovely mission statement – here, let me show you:
Who are they? Why, they’re the Food Renegades. You know who you are — lovers of SOLE (Sustainable, Organic, Local, and Ethical) food, traditional food, primal food, REAL food, the list goes on. I believe that by joining together, our influence can grow, and we can change the way America (and the industrialized world) eats!
I am so all about sustainable, organic, local, and ethical food. I try to avoid processed foods as much as feasibly possible – which is most of the time. I avoid soy, high fructose corn syrup, and foods that have labels that require you to have a chemist’s degree to understand. I mean – we try to grow as much of our own food as we possibly can, for the very reason that we want to know exactly what we’re eating!
That’s why I couldn’t do Fight Back Friday this past Friday. I had it all planned, I was going to make Mom’s World Famous Meatloaf. Only – it’s decidedly NOT in keeping with the spirit of being a Food Renegade, sadly. So I skipped.
Here’s the thing. I love my Mom’s meatloaf. Just making it today (yeah, I’m a little late – Friday didn’t happen!) just the smells alone – hmmm…. Made my mouth water! And me with three more weeks of NPO and TPN, dang it! But it’s full of some pretty evil stuff. See for yourself:
Okay, yeah, so there’s some good stuff in there, but featured prominently is Stove Top Stuffing (and don’t waste your time, Savory Herbs is THE way to go – forget any of the other flavorings!) AND Lipton Onion Soup Mix. Both are chock full of all sorts of crap! Stuff that I don’t normally buy! Stuff that I don’t normally consume! But there really just isn’t an alternative – that I’ve been able to find, anyway – so I buy this stuff, and make Mom’s World Famous Meatloaf, and love it, darn it all!
Here’s what the ingredient panel for the Stove Top Stuffing says (horrors!):
STOVE TOP – STOVE TOP STUFFING MIX – SAVORY HERBS
Ingredients: ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE(VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN(VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, ONIONS*, SALT, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OIL, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, COOKED CHICKEN AND CHICKEN BROTH, YEAST, SPICE, CELERY*, PARSLEY*, CARAMEL COLOR, GARLIC, TURMERIC, WITH BHA, BHT, CITRIC ACID, AND PROPYL GALLATE AS PRESERVATIVES *DRIED
And for the Onion Soup Mix:
Onions (dehydrated), salt, cornstarch, onion powder, sugar, corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel color, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, monosodium glutamate, yeast extract, natural flavors, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.
So you can see why I didn’t take part in Fight Back Friday with THIS recipe! Geesh – talk about politically incorrect!!
But, at the risk of being a complete hypocrite – I’m gonna show you show I make this mouthwatering masterpiece, cause I love it! And it reminds me of my Mommy – and well, sometimes you just gotta go there.
So – I should mention that the picture above is missing one really important ingredient – the ground beef! I can’t believe I forgot to put it in the picture! LOL! Oh well, you’re gonna need:
1 pound of ground beef
1 package of Savory Herbs Stove Top Stuffing
1 packet of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
1 cup whole milk
2 or 3 eggs (to your preference)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup each Cheddar and Mozzarella or Monterey Jack Cheese
I may have mentioned this before, but I’m all about doing things the easy way. So, I pull out my stand mixer for this one. And go ahead and preheat your oven to 350° F.
To start with, I dump the contents of the stuffing mix and the soup mix into my mixer’s bowl.
Then, I add the milk and the eggs.
(Look! One of the girls laid a double-yolker!)
Then I use a wooden spoon to mix it all up really well.
I set this aside and then prepare the veggies.
I shred the carrots on the fine side of the box grater. Wanna know why? Because my boys are veggie WIMPS. That’s right. Total and complete veggie wimps. MY boys. Sigh… So, yes, I shred the carrots up until they’re teensy tiny so that they’re less noticeable.
Then, to further accommodate the veggie wimps, I dice the celery really fine, too.
Only I kind of cheat. I use this little chopper dude – and it works like a charm.
Of course, if it were just John and Jess and I, I’d rough chop those veggies and we’d LOVE it! Stinking picky boys!
Here’s what the stuffing, soup mix, milk, eggs, carrot, and celery look like all mixed up.
Now about the cheese. You can use whatever kind of cheese your heart desires. I use pretty much whatever I can find on hand. Some days it’s a cup of co-jack. Other days – like today, its 1/2 a cup of cheddar and 1/2 a cup of Monterey Jack. (Same diff, huh?! LOL!) I also really like it with Mozzarella in it. And – if you’re trying to appease stinking picky boys – throw in a little extra cheese. They like cheese – a lot!
Like I mentioned, I use the stand mixer to mix it all together. It takes maybe a whole minute to mix it up well. I sometimes let it go a little longer if I’m using a ground beef that isn’t as lean as I’d like. The paddle of the mixer will actually pull some of that fatty material out of the beef and separate it. It’s pretty cool.
And here’s where Mom’s World Famous Meatloaf departs from the average meatloaf – the way it’s formed. When I was growing up, comparing notes with the kids at school about meatloaf, I was always so surprised that almost universally they all hated meatloaf. I couldn’t figure out why – I mean it was so good, and kinda fun! Then I spent the night with a friend and found out why – no one else made meatloaf as good as my Mom! Plus – they had this weird loaf thing – with red junk on top, not cute little personal sized loaves with melty cheesy stuff on top!
Pretty much, you just take a handful of the meatloaf mixture, pat it into your hand, and shape it into a little loaf. If I’m taking this recipe to a potluck or something, I’ll make them even smaller – kinda like a big meatball – they’re always a huge hit!
If you’d like you can bake these on a roasting rack – if the meat I’m using is pretty lean, I don’t bother.
Go ahead and throw them into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. I use a meat thermometer to make sure they’re cooked through – when it hits 160° F, then they’re done.
Yummy looking, huh?!
So go ahead, throw some of these together, your family will thank you – even if you are poisoning them with all sorts of chemical laden ingredients!