Kids Cook Monday: Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Meatloaf is a Family Favorite Dish
If you're like me, you probably have three or four recipes that you return to, time and again, when its time to make dinner. Planning a family dinner several times a week can get exhausting!
Fortunately, meatloaf is a family favorite dinner recipe. Its relatively easy to make, cooks up in less than 1 hour, and can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until its ready to pop into the oven. I learned a basic meatloaf recipe years ago from my mother and always enjoyed tearing the heels of the bread into bread crumbs for the dish.
Perhaps the best thing about meatloaf is that its simple to vary its taste.
For example, my easy meatloaf recipe can be made with or without ground sausage. Sometimes, we use shredded cheese. Switch out brands of barbecue sauce for a different taste, as well. Use packaged, seasoned bread crumbs, or take the heels of a loaf of bread and make your own bread crumbs.
Come on into the kitchen now for some inspiration!
Ingredients for Family Meatloaf
This three-meat family easy meatloaf recipe is one of our favorites. It makes 8 generous servings in 2 loaf pans. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for several days.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound ground sausage
- 1/2 pound thick sliced bacon - cooked, drained and crumbled
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or the heels of 2 slices of bread, shredded - kids love to help with this)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 tablespoon oregano (fresh herbs have a more distinct flavor, so adjust up or down based on your taste)
- 1 cup barbecue sauce or ketchup
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Italian Style Meatloaf
Cook Time for Easy Meatloaf
- Prep time: 15 min
- Cook time: 45 min
- Ready in: 1 hour
- Yields: 6-8 servings of meatloaf
Meatloaf Cookbooks and Bakeware
Easy Meatloaf Recipe
Meatloaf is so easy, even a kid could make it.
That's the point!
Basically, all you do is combine the ingredients together in a large bowl, lightly press into two bread loaf pans, then bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees F when inserted in the center of the loaf.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 8-10 minutes before serving. Slice or scoop from the pan and serve with additional barbecue sauce or ketchup on top. Delicious!
If you are cooking with children, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:
- Kids younger than 12 should be constantly supervised in the kitchen, especially near a hot stove or oven.
- Parents, or teenager siblings should prepare the bacon first; allow it to cool completely (about 20 minutes) before crumbling for the recipe
- Chopping onions is another task that requires close supervision for children under 12 years old, and is not advised (even with supervision) for kids younger than 8.
- We find it easiest to combine the ingredients in a large bowl with our hands, instead of a spoon. Just be sure to thoroughly wash hands with soap both before and after handling uncooked meat.
- Make meatloaf fun by baking in mini-loaf pans or muffin tins, instead of full size pans! Just reduce the cooking time to 35-40 minutes. Kids love to eat smaller versions of their family favorite recipes. Check out these mini french dip sandwiches, too!
Cooking meals with children, as well as sitting down at the table together, is a great time for family bonding. Kids can also learn basic math and science in a setting that is far more fun than the classroom!
What About Meatloaf Leftovers?
Meatloaf is such a comfort food, its no wonder the dish is so popular and has so many variations in the recipe.
If you have meatloaf leftovers, make sure that they have cooled completely to room temperature, then transfer to a container for refrigeration. The leftovers can be safely enjoyed for several days afterward.
Carefully sliced meatloaf can be used for sandwiches the next day. Another alternative is to add leftover meatloaf to boiled pasta noodles or even mashed potatoes!
Trader Joe's Meatloaf Recipe
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© 2012 Stephanie Hicks
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