From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Meatloaf isn't glamorous, but like most of you who have raised, or are raising a family, I can make one in my sleep. I have at least a dozen recipes for loaves of one type or another. Some are fancy and can rival the finest of French pates, but this effortless creation is the one that I relied on when I was working and all the chairs around my table were still occupied. It is one of the few recipes in my collection that relies on a dehydrated soup mix. I gave myself absolution for using it years ago and I'm unapologetic about its use in this particular recipe. It simply works better than fresh onions in this meatloaf. I suspect the recipe originally came from the Lipton's test kitchens, but I have not been able to verify that or identify who else might have been responsible for its creation. It you can fill in the blanks, please let me know so I can properly credit the source. The loaf takes about 10 minutes to mix, and if you form it into mini-loaves as I have here, you can have dinner on the table in just a bit over 30 minutes. If you prefer to bake it as a single loaf, use a 9 x 5 x 2-inch loaf pan to form it, but turn it onto a baking pan to bake for about 50 to 60 minutes. The freestanding loaf allows all surfaces of the meatloaf to be glazed and helps keep it from sitting in the drippings that are released as it bakes. This recipe will make 6 servings. It can be doubled or tripled if you are feeding a gang. This makes an nice entree for a family meal. I know those of you who try it will appreciate the ease with which this comes together. It's a great recipe to make in the kitchen of a vacation rental. Here's how the meatloaf is made.
Retro Family Meatloaf...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup crushed buttery round crackers (i.e. Ritz)
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (1-oz.) package dry onion soup mix (i.e. Lipton)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chili sauce(i.e. Heinz) or ketchup
3 tablespoons steak sauce
Glaze:1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) To make glaze: Combine chili sauce, brown sugar and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
3) Combine ground beef, crushed crackers, Cheddar cheese, and onion soup mix in a large bowl and mix until until well combined. Do not overmix.
4) Whisk eggs, ketchup, and steak sauce in a separate bowl until smooth. Add to meat and mix until evenly combined. If mixture seems too dry, add a little water. Divide mixture into 6 equal portions. Shape into cupcake size rounds or ovals and place on a baking sheet. Brush tops with half of glaze.
5) Bake in until mini-meatloaves reach 160 degrees F, about 20 to 25 minutes. brush again with reserved glaze. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.
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