Grandma Jean’s Meatloaf

Wahoo, it’s TBT!  I took Wednesday off this week and didn’t blog a single edible thing… because it’s not called Whatever Wednesday for no reason yanno. 

Uh huh, I took the day off, swallowed tons of Aleve to try to make the ache in my joints go away and then sat on the sofa and felt sorry for my old self.  (turns out it’s the flu and NOT my arthritis acting up – which makes me a very happy camper!  The downside is that my typing fingers can’t tell the difference between arthritis and the flu and they scream at me every time I hit the keys on my keyboard).

So what to do when you’re sitting on a sofa and pouting?  Dream about food of course!  I’ve had meatloaf on my brain for a couple of weeks now and my sofa time yesterday pushed me right over the edge and into Meatloaf Madness.

Grandma Jean's Meatloaf

Tim, my darling husband who eats nearly anything I make, has no great love for meatloaf.  Ok, I may have been too polite right there – what I mean is, he would rather that I NEVER make meatloaf… ever… for… the… rest… of… time.

But I love meatloaf!  I love nearly any version of meatloaf!  I really really REALLY love my Mom’s meatloaf!  So what’s a girl to do?  I make meatloaf  once every 5 years and bat my eyelashes at him when he asks me what’s for supper… and then he rolls his eyes at my answer and eats one tiny slice of it just to be polite.  

Thing is, I’ve never made him my Mom’s Meatloaf recipe.  I have no idea why, but for some reason I thought that making fancier, more modern versions, might convince him that it’s really a lovely dish. 

It didn’t.

So last night I trucked my aching body out to the kitchen and popped a meatloaf into the oven.  It’s no longer called my Mom’s Meatloaf.  Thanks to the grandkids, we now call it Grandma Jean’s Meatloaf.  Does this mean that when my own grandchildren start making this, that we’ll have to change the name to Great Grandma Jean’s Meatloaf?  Will that even fit on a recipe card??

But I digress… again.  Back to the meatloaf story…

Poor Tim tried to be stoic while he was taking pictures of the meatloaf making process.  He even tried to put on a smile and and sound enthusiastic when I told him it was done baking and ready for the final pictures of it before we ate it.  (He did mention something about ordering a pizza before I started putting together the meatloaf,  but he claimed it was because of my aching joints and that I shouldn’t be cooking… uh huh, I know better Tim!)

I whipped some potatoes, added garlic and green onions to them, then sliced the slightly cooled meatloaf.  Tim did his photography thing, and then dished up a HUGE helping of the potatoes and one tiny slice of the meatloaf.

And then a magical thing happened – he went back to the kitchen and filled his plate with THREE more slices of meatloaf!  I was in shock, but tried not to hyperventilate in front of him.  I was playing it cool and acting as if this was normal.  Finally, just as he was polishing off the last bite I dared to ask “Was the meatloaf ok tonight?”  To which my dear husband replied “It was REALLY good!  You could make this recipe again!”  And at that point I forgot that I was supposed to be acting cool and just squealed out loud with delight…  <sigh>

Wanna know how to make Grandma Jean’s Meatloaf?  Welp, I’m gonna tell you how to make it even if you said no, cuz I’m stubborn like that.

First up, grab the ingredients. 

Meatloaf Ingredients

That’s 2 pounds of ground beef.  It makes one large meatloaf.  But if your family loves meatloaf, go ahead and make two of these babies at the same time.  Eat one for dinner and pop the other into the freezer… they reheat really nicely!  Oh and that’s Teriyaki sauce in the picture, but my Mom never used that.  She mixed together Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce.  I cheat and just use the Teriyaki Sauce. 

Grab a large mixing bowl, then add the bread crumbs, spices and Teriyaki Sauce to the bowl. 

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Add an egg or two.  I just had to include this picture of the first egg going into the bowl because Tim snapped a mid-action shot and it didn’t come out blurry!

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But ok, now add the other egg and then stir really well and let the mixture sit for a minute or two.  It needs time for the eggs to soften the bread crumbs before you mix in the ground beef.

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Once the bread crumbs are soft and the liquid has all been absorbed, dump in the ground beef, wash your hands well and then get to mixing it together!  This is a hands on job.

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These are some of my favorite kitchen helpers. They're Dang Good and I love 'em!

Now here’s the thing about meatloaf.  It likes to be cold, not warm and smushy!  Warm and smushy means that the fats have melted and that’s going to ruin the final texture of the meatloaf.  So when you mix this stuff all together, be careful not to leave your hands in there for too long.  I like to mix, rest, mix, rest, mix, rest.  That way I get all the bread crumb mixture well distributed, but don’t melt all the fats into a gooey mess.

And here’s the second thing about meatloaf.  Ever make one and have the top get all cracked?  Yeah, me too.  It does that because the fats aren’t melted, which is a GOOD thing for the interior, but a BAD thing for the exterior of the meatloaf.

To keep your meatloaf from cracking on top, scoop the fully mixed meatloaf mixture out of the bowl.  Shape it into a large ball, then slap it back and forth from hand to hand till the outside starts to feel smooth and it no longer cracks apart.  Doing that will warm and melt the fats on the outer surface and keep it from cracking apart in the oven!

Once it’s smooth on the outside, set it into a 9×13 baking pan and then gently shape it into a loaf.  I like my meatloaf tall and not too tapered at the ends, just slightly rounded.  You can make yours any shape you like best.

Unbaked Meatloaf

The last thing is the sauce on top.  My Mom hated the flavor of both straight Tomato Soup and straight Tomato Sauce and she felt that ketchup on top was too sweet, so she came up with the idea of mixing Tomato Soup…

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…and Tomato Sauce together in a 50/50 percentage.

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 It’s perfect!  Slightly sweet, not too tomatoey and thick enough to coat the entire loaf with goodness.  I’ll warn you now though, it won’t get all dark red and shiny like ketchup and BBQ sauce do.

Pour about half of the mixture over the top of the meatloaf and then use a spoon to smush it around so that it’s even and runs down the sides of the loaf:

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Bake the meatloaf at 350F for an hour, then pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the top, smushing it around again.  Pop the meatloaf back into the oven for another 45 minutes while you make a big batch of mashed potatoes and then dinner is ready!  Let the meatloaf cool for about 15 minutes on a big platter before you slice it so that it has time firm up a bit.  Then serve your family my Mom’s… er Grandma Jean’s Meatloaf… it is SO DANG GOOD!

Grandma Jean's Meatloaf Recipe

Grandma Jean's Meatloaf
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is my Mom's recipe and it's still as delicious today as it was 50 years ago!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper
  • ¼ Cup Teriyaki Sauce -
  • -or 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce and 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Bread Crumbs
  • Topping Sauce:
  • 1 Cup Tomato Soup
  • 1 Can Tomato Sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Place the bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, Teriyaki sauce and eggs into a large mixing bowl. Stir well, then let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground beef and mix well by hand till all the bread crumb mixture is fully mixed in. Take frequent breaks as you mix so that you don't warm the ground beef and melt the fats.
  4. When the meatloaf mixture is completely mixed together, shape it into a ball, then gently slap it back and forth between your hands to soften and melt the fats on the exterior of the meat mixture. This will help stop any cracking during baking.
  5. Place the ball into the baking pan and gently shape it into a loaf. If you see some cracking on top, smooth it out with your hands.
  6. The Sauce:
  7. Mix together the soup and tomato sauce, then pour half of the mixture onto the top of the meatloaf and spread if over the entire loaf.
  8. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and top with the remaining tomato sauce mixture, spreading over the entire top of the meatloaf.
  9. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes, then cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

 

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