A Tale of Two Meatloaves

Boy has my cooking come a long way……

Just recently Madison discovered one of my very first cookbooks – Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Cookbook.  Last week as I was working in the kitchen and she was lying on floor flipping through cookbooks – a girl after my own heart – she announced that she would like to make dinner.  I said okay, next Tuesday dinner is all yours.  (Which I think was awfully clever of me since I only cook on nights Madison is with us and she’s only with us one night next week and I haven’t been in a cooking mood AT ALL, hence the lack of cooking posts the past few weeks and this got me off the cooking hook!)

Anyway, she examined every recipe carefully, we discussed what was in season and she decided on Archimedes’ Meatloaf and Daisy Duck’s Baked Potatoes.  Coincidentally, this was one of the very same meals I made when I was a kid, (I know this because I’ve written notes on each page about how well the meal was received.  The note for this recipe is actually in my mom’s handwriting: add bacon.)

So Tuesday night rolled around and it was time to cook dinner.  Madison got her “cooking stool” out of the bottom cupboard and put her apron on.  She began reading the ingredients out loud so I could round them up and we could assemble dinner.  But as she read the ingredients– all six of them – I couldn’t help but think to myself, “this is going to be the blandest F-ing meatloaf.  Ever.”

As it turns out, it wasn’t half bad.  Apparently, a lot of ketchup goes a long way in making up for flavoring with spices.  Who knew? The texture was light and fluffy, not what you’d expect from a meatloaf and I’m guessing that’s because of all of the breadcrumbs in the recipe.  (We used fresh breadcrumbs instead of canned – BIG DIFFERENCE.) But it definitely wasn’t the “gourmet” version I had become accustomed to making.

Suffice it to say, my grown-up version of meatloaf has matured.  A lot.  It’s very loosely based on a Martha Stewart recipe and it’s a staple in our household each fall.  I usually serve it with mashed potatoes or turnips and either steamed broccoli or peas.  My version is a bit denser, but I love it because it tastes really hearty and rarely are there any leftovers.

Actually, come to think of it – there weren’t any leftovers of Madison’s meatloaf either.  Maybe we just like meatloaf.  Or maybe, Madison will turn out to be just as good a cook as the rest of us.

You be the judge:  Which meatloaf looks yummier?

Madison's Version of Archimedes' Meat Loaf

Madison's Version on the Plate

Heather's "Martha Inpsired" Meat Loaf

Heather's Dinner on the Plate

Regardless of which one you chose, here are the recipes for both:

Archimedes’ Meat Loaf

1 egg
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs or 3 slices of bread, torn into tiny pieces
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce or ketchup
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands.  (Madison loves “mixing the brains”.)  Place the mixture in a 9x5x3 loaf pan and pat the mixture evenly with your fingers to make the top smooth.  Bake for 1 hour and let stand for 10 minutes after removing from the oven.

Heather’s Meat Loaf

2 eggs
2 lbs ground beef or combination of ground beef and turkey
2 slices bread, mashed into crumbs
1 carrot, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 cup ketchup
1 fresh sprig of rosemary
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well with your hands.  Place the mixture in a 9x5x3 loaf pan and pat the mixture evenly with your fingers to make the top smooth.  Bake for 1 hour and let stand for 10 minutes after removing from the oven.

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7 comments on “A Tale of Two Meatloaves

  1. Christa
    January 20, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    When my parents were living with us, we would have to make two meatloaves. One for the boys (John, Jacob, Ian and my Dad) and one for the girls (me and my Mom). The boys one was probably pretty close to Madison’s, but the one for the girls had onions, green and red peppers, tomatoes–very chunky. Yum. The boys didn’t know what they were missing. And since we had two meatloaves there were left overs, which make great cold meatloaf sandwiches!

    • Heather
      January 20, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      oooh, the peppers sound good. I may have to try that for a summer turkey loaf.

  2. This Italian Family
    January 20, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    Oh my goodness, it makes me so happy that you and Madison are cooking together. It’s SO wonderful to teach kiddos to cook at a young age! 🙂

    • Heather
      January 20, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      Thankfully she loves the kitchen!

  3. Susan Weisberger
    January 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    They both looked great.. How diplomatic was that….

    I am just glad she got the cooking gene. I also like that she isn’t a real junk food eater. Thanks Heather.

  4. joshdaddy
    January 25, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    My son’s favorite meatloaf variation uses rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs. The result is a soft, moist meatloaf, but with a heartier flavor than breadcrumbs. Me, I have fond memories of my grandmother’s stuffed meatloaf (polpettone), which had a rolled-up frittata running through the middle of it. Delicious..and beautiful sliced on the plate!

    • Heather
      January 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

      Your grandma’s version sounds awesome but time consuming. It takes me forever just to make the fritatta – I can’t imagine making one inside a meatloaf!

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