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Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Comfort Food Series: Blue Plate Special Meatloaf

As I’ve said before, meatloaf can be a polarizing dish.  Some people love the stuff, channeling memories around the table with their family, thanking mom for the homestyle meal.  Other people won’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole.

I used to be one of the latter; thinking meatloaf was an unnatural shape for meat.  (I had no qualms over meatballs or burgers… go figure.)  Maybe it had something to do with my grandmother’s disgusting version of the recipe; dried and flavorless.  When I got married I decided I needed to attempt a meatloaf recipe because hubby was hungry for it.  So began my search for a worthy recipe.

I was lucky to find success on the first try.  I had recently purchased the bon appetit: fast easy fresh cookbook by Barbara Fairchild and loved the easy weeknight recipes found between the pages.  Of course, I’ve been a fan of the bon appetit magazine for years.  Sometimes the recipes you find in the magazine include really expensive ingredients that are difficult to find in this military town and the recipes are just downright labor intensive, but this cookbook highlighted the easier, more economical cousins of those backbreaking (and bank breaking) meals. 

This recipe is super easy to throw together on a weeknight, or even the night before to store in the fridge for a quick dinner the following night.  It’s become a fairly staple meal in this house, and hubby loves the leftovers on white bread with Duke’s.  I dare any meatloaf hater to be so hateful after trying this recipe!

Southwestern Blue Plate Special Meatloaf bon appetit: fast easy fresh cookbook; Barbara Fairchild; pg.388
1 ¼ lb. package meatloaf meat mix (if you can’t find this in your grocery store, see if you can get the butcher to mix 6 ounces of ground beef with 6 ounces of ground pork for you)
½ cup finely crushed corn chips (like Fritos)
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
½ cup (I prefer Heinz) chili sauce, divided (I use more like a cup and a half)
1 large egg
1 ¼ teaspoons chili powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

 Combine meat, chips, green onion, ½ of chili sauce, egg, chili powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and mix with hands.  Divide mixture in half.  Shape each half into ¾ inch-high oval and place halves, side by side, on rimmed baking sheet.  Spread remaining chili sauce over loaves.

Preheat oven to 450°.  Bake meatloaves uncovered until cooked through and juices run clear when center is pierced with small sharp knife, about 20 minutes. 

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