I remember as a kid, I hated meatloaf. I loathed it. The only thing worse than meatloaf was a cold, leftover, meatloaf sandwich in my lunch the next day.
My mother was not the best cook, but she tried and maybe if she would have had a larger food budget, she might have been better. But the fact remains, I don’t have any of those “I really love mom’s (insert fantastically delicious dish I can’t duplicate here)” moments.
My grandfather supplied us with a lot of vegetables from his garden and when it was bell pepper season, we ate a LOT of peppers. Stuffed peppers were one of moms go-to ingredients, so she put a lot of green pepper into those meatloaves too. I don’t care for green peppers. Even now if I need a pepper I will choose any color other than green. There truly is a difference in flavor.
It took me many years of adulthood before I had a light bulb moment. The one where I realized I could make a meatloaf taste however I wanted. So I started experimenting and omitted things like green peppers, oatmeal, celery, or too many saltines. Instead I started adding things and experimenting with flavors. Like bacon. Shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Mozzarella and sauce stuffed into the middle of an Italian flavored loaf. Rotel tomatoes for something a little spicy. Topping with BBQ sauce or mushroom gravy. The possibilities are endless with a bit of imagination.
And I’ve decided maybe meatloaf isn’t that bad after all. My kids love meatloaf. They will change their plans so they can be home to eat it when I make it. So different than my experiences! AND we race to see who gets the leftovers the next day!
I’ve included my basic recipe, tweek it here and there and make it your own. Experiment with what you love! The last time I made this I used my leftover herb fougasse to make the bread crumbs for the meatloaf and I even made some croutons for my lunch salads! Which coincidentally did NOT all make it onto my salads, they are also great for snacking. But that’s a whole different story. Try the meatloaf.