Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tasteful Tuesday--GBGB (God Bless Ground Beef)

November 19, 2013

Today, I wanna talk about MEATLOAF.

No.....NOT the singer, although I think He's kinda cool too....

No, what I wanna talk about is one of the easiest, and believe it or not, most versatile dishes you can make for your family.

Come on, who doesn't think of home, and family and comfort food when they think of meatloaf?

Years ago, Any Dacyzyn, of THE TIGHTWAD GAZETTE, created a Universal Muffin Recipe, where she studied all kinds of recipes for muffins, and came up with the basic ingredients and their amounts, so folks could just create muffins out of anything they had in the pantry. She also did a bread and a casserole recipe this way, and after years of creatin' baked goods and main dishes that rocked from simple stuff in my kitchen, I know that Universal Recipes are budget and time savers.


I figured out a Universal Meatloaf Recipe, and I'm gonna share it with ya'll.

Now, here is a basic meatloaf recipe--you will this in almost every cookbook;

Basic Meatloaf

1 pound lean ground beef
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, beaten


Mix all ingredients together gently. Form into a loaf and place in baking dish or loaf pan. Top with more ketchup if desired. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour.
Serves 4.
Simple, right? Well, if you look at the recipe, you' see that these are the basic ingredients in almost every meatloaf recipe in the world.
Now, let's take each ingredient and 'play with it, shall we?
Ground Beef. This could be anywhere from 1 pound to 2, dependin' on how many folks you are servin', or if you wanna make an extra to freeze for another day. You can also use ground pork, chicken, turkey, or even a mixture of beef and ground venison.
Milk. I don't normally use milk in my recipe--however, you can use any kind of milk, even powdered in water will work. I have on occasion, dependin' on what flavor I'm goin' for, used plain yougurt, kefir, sour cream, whipped cream, or again, just leave it out.
Cracker Crumbs. You can use just about any type of cracker you want (except graham crackers--I don't recommend them, too sweet), OR you can use bread crumbs of all types. You can save up the heels of store bought bread in the freezer, stale bagels, french bread, english muffins, challah(you won't believe how rich a dish that makes), and even matzoh. You can use oatmeal, and even rice as the starch ingredient--again, it depends on the type of flavor you're shootin' for. One of our favorites is to make a Mexican meatloaf usin' crushed tortilla chips.
Ketchup. Try instead tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato juice, V-8, Tomato soup, Spaghetti sauce, PACE or other types of salsa. If you like, try barbeque sauce, steak sauce, or if you are tryin' a pork or poultry meatloaf--give an alfredo sauce a shot.
Onion. Oh honey, don't just stop at onions--try addin' chopped bell or poblano peppers, toss in leftover veggies--even sneak in a little carrot pulp from juicin'.  Try sautein' the onion and peppers in a bit of olive oil (or bacon grease) before addin' to the mixture--GREAT flavor boost.
Salt & Black Pepper. These are good, however, try usin' Grill Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, Chili Powder, Cajun Seasoning, and even a leftover RAMEN packet for an oriental taste.
Egg. Now basically, the bread soaked in milk does what the egg does in the mixture. I know the some folks use cooked oats or even cooked cornmeal mush to get the same result. I basically just stick with the egg, 'cause we like it best. However, if you have any allergies, don't be afraid to experiment.
There ya have it. The times for bakin' are about the same, however, if I do a larger loaf--I add about 30 minutes.
Our family likes Mexican Meatloaf--I use crushed tortilla chips, chili powder and Picante sauce I usually add cheese in the mix, or in the center of the loaf. Serve with rice.
Italian--Italian seasoning or Oregano, Spaghetti sauce, and I sometimes layer lasagne noodles in the meatloaf, so give an added texture. Serve with salad and french bread.
Granny's meatloaf--My grandmother would put a layer of meat mixture in the pan, then place boiled eggs down the middle, and then put the rest of the mixture on top. When served, each person got a pretty slice of egg in the center.
Cordon Blues--The Redneck likes these a LOT. Instead of one big loaf, you make several smaller ones, placin' a small piece of cheese (any flavor--we like Swiss) with a thin slice of ham wrapped around in in the middle. Bake on a cookie sheet.
Chunky Chew--This is when I'm feelin' like a rustic meal. I don't get all dainty with my veggies, but leave them in nice chunks. I add lots of oatmeal, and when it bakes up, you can see the veggies and the oats stand out.
I'm workin' on an Oriental flavored meatloaf, but I wanna get the flavors just right. Any suggestions?
Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© Evelyn Edgett 2013

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