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Meatloaf recipes

By our readers
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 5, 2002

A slice of comfort
Meatloaf recipes poured in when we asked for them. So did your favorite stories about the classic dish.

The method to this meatloaf madness
The quest for perfect meatloaf stops at Mom's recipe box for some lucky people.

Chatting about meatloaf
Is your meatloaf bland? Does it fall apart? And worse, does everyone, even the family dog, run when they hear what's for dinner?

Cheese and Mushroom-Stuffed Meatloaf

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, mince
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup ketchup
1 egg beaten to blend
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried sage, ground or crumbled
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese

Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown and liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix beef and next eight ingredients in large bowl, until well blended. Turn out onto large square of plastic wrap. Pat into 9- by 12-inch rectangle. Spread mushroom filling over rectangle, leaving 1/2-inch border on all sides. Cover mushrooms evenly with cheese.

Starting at one end, roll meat up jelly-roll-fashion, using the plastic wrap as a guide. Arrange seam side down in a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. (Can be prepared six hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate at this point).

Bake until loaf shrinks from side of pan and browns (about 1 hour). Pour off any drippings. Gently turn out loaf and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Times testing notes: We used cheddar cheese and found this meatloaf to be extremely flavorful. It is easy to roll up and makes a nice presentation when sliced.

Source: Doris Romer, Spring Hill

Finnish Meat Loaf

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground ham
1/4 cup minced parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
Sour cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute chopped mushrooms and onion in the butter over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked mixture to the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup of the cheese for the top. Mix together and press into a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with reserved cheese.

Bake meatloaf for an hour. Let rest for about 10 minutes, slice and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Times testing notes: For the ground ham, we had the butcher grind ham chunks that we found packaged in the meat case. The flavor of this meatloaf was subtle and sophisticated and it was delicious hot or cold.

Source: Margaret Guyatt, Clearwater

Mexican Fiesta Meatloaf

1 cup tortilla chips, crushed and divided
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (beef and pork)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup cheddar Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

In small bowl, soak 1/2 cup chips in milk, until soft. Mix meat with remaining ingredients, except salsa.

Shape into loaf. Place in 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Pour salsa over top. Sprinkle remaining crushed chips crumbs over salsa.

Bake for 45 minutes to one hour. Remove to serving platter and top with shredded cheese.

Times testing notes: If you like tacos, you'll love this meatloaf. It's spicy, kid-friendly, and we imagine it wrapped in a tortilla the next day.

Source: Cathy Pandelo, Bradenton

Curry Meatloaf

2 eggs
3/4 cup milk or broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 onion, grated
1/4 cup sliced almonds
12 dried apricots, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/2 pounds ground beef

Beat eggs slightly in a large mixing bowl. Add milk or broth and lemon juice. Stir in bread crumbs. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in onion, nuts, apricots, curry. Add meat and mix well. Put in 9- by 5-inch loaf pan.

Cook for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Times testing notes: The apricots gave this meatloaf moisture and imparted a slightly sweet taste. Chop them into small pieces to avoid getting a mouthful of fruit. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

Source: Robin Ross, St. Petersburg

Meatless Loaf

1 tablespoon oil
4 cups mushrooms, diced
1/3 cup onions, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package tofu crumbles
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs or quick oats
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup ketchup

Saute mushrooms, onions and garlic in oil for about 15 minutes. Add tofu crumbles and cook until crumbles heat through, about 3 minutes. Cool and then move to a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Press into 9- by 5-inch loaf pan coated lightly with nonstick vegetable spray. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Times testing notes: This simple meatless loaf tastes more like stuffing than it does meatloaf but it still has good flavor. Dice mushrooms small so they blend with the rest of the ingredients. Saute the mushrooms for the full time to release their moisture.

Source: Laurie De Ciucies, Port Richey

The Bazzanella Meatloaf

1 small yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 small green pepper, seeded and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 small can tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup milk, beaten with 2 eggs
3 slices white bread, torn
3/4 pound ground round
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground Italian sausage, out of casing (hot or mild, depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 grated carrot
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced or 1 teaspoon dry basil
1/3 cup tomato paste

For topping: saute peppers, onions and mushrooms in olive oil until soft, about 15 minutes on medium heat. Add pine nuts. Saute 5 minutes more. Mix tomato paste, wine and brown sugar into the vegetable mixture. Set aside while mixing meatloaf.

To make meatloaf, soak bread in milk-egg combination for 10 minutes. In large bowl, combine the rest of ingredients and then incorporate bread-milk-egg mixture.

Place meat mixture into deep dish pie pan and mold to a dome shape. Cover meat completely with vegetable-pine nut topping. Bake in a 350-degree oven covered for 45 minutes. Uncover, then bake for 45 minutes more.

Times testing notes: This is no whip-it-together meatloaf because of all the chopping, sauteing and mixing. Read the recipe carefully first; there are a lot of steps. The Bazzanella Meatloaf is quite moist and will appeal to those who like a heavy tomato flavor. The pine nuts add an interesting crunch; they easily can be left out.

Source: Lisa Bazzanella Smith, St. Petersburg

Golden Loaf in Marsala Wine Sauce

1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 1/4 cups onion, diced
1 1/2 cup carrot, grated
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, white, chopped
1/4 teaspoon each dried, oregano, basil, rosemary crushed
1 1/4 cups beef broth, divided
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups oyster crackers, crushed, divided
2 pounds ground turkey
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
6 white mushrooms, sliced
3 drops hot sauce
Reserved Marsala wine

Soak the raisins in the wine for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drain the raisins, reserve and set the wine aside.

Place the raisins in a large mixing bowl. To the same bowl, add the onion, carrot, mustard and the nuts, all the spices, one cup of the beef broth, the egg and one cup of the oyster crackers; mix together. Gently fold in the turkey.

Mix by hand, to incorporate. If too wet, add the rest of the oyster crackers; if too dry, add the rest of the beef broth. Cover the inside of a 9- by 5-inch loaf dish with foil, lightly coat the foil with the spray, pack the turkey mixture into the loaf dish.

Bake 30 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and carefully drain any liquid, return the dish to the oven and bake another 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully lift the loaf out with the foil, wrap the loaf in the foil and set aside as you make the sauce.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter or margarine. Stir in the mushrooms and cook three minutes. Add the hot sauce and beef broth. Bring to a boil. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the reserved wine. Return to the heat to warm the sauce.

To serve, drizzle some of the sauce over slices of meatloaf.

Times testing notes: Turkey loafs can be dry because of the lack of fat in the meat. This one, however, is very moist. We used a cup of beef broth -- you could use chicken -- and all the oyster crackers, and we could have reduced the broth to 1/2 cup. With all the liquid in this loaf, you run the risk of it falling apart. Flavor is terrific and the work to make it is worth it.

Source: Joe Lanni, Brooksville

It's Not Your Mother's Meatloaf

Seasoning mix:
1 whole bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 to 5 cloves of garlic minced (depending on preference)
3/4 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup
11/4 pounds ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork or sausage
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup very fine dry bread crumbs, with Italian seasoning

Combine seasoning mix and set aside. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, scallions, garlic, hot sauce, Worcestershire and seasoning mix. Saute 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture will begin sticking to bottom of pan, scrape bottom as you stir. Add milk and ketchup. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature (remove bay leaves).

In a bowl, place the ground beef, pork, eggs, cooked vegetable mixture and bread crumbs. Thoroughly mix by hand. Shape into a loaf and place in the middle of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then raise heat to 400 degrees and continue cooking until done (about 30 minutes longer).

Times testing notes: Katie Ball adapted this meatloaf from a Paul Prudhomme recipe and it is hot, hot, hot. We reduced the cayenne to 1/4 teaspoon and put in just a couple of shakes of hot sauce. It was still quite spicy. However, the flavor from the mixture of aromatics and spices is excellent. If you love hot food, this one's for you. Turn down the hot stuff and you've got a winner.

Source: Katie Ball, Tarpon Springs

Jean's The Surprise Is Inside Meatloaf

1 package of fresh spinach or two frozen boxes of chopped spinach
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 pinches Kosher salt and pepper
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk or cream
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 slices bacon (optional)
1/4 cup ketchup (optional)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)

Cook spinach and drain well in sieve. Squeeze out excessive liquid. Mix together remainder of ingredients, except bacon, ketchup, brown sugar, in order listed. Divide meat mixture in half and press into a greased 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Spread cooked spinach evenly over meat and sprinkle cheese on top. Put the other half of meat mixture on top.

Mix ketchup and brown sugar together and spread on top of meatloaf mixture. Lay bacon slices over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Times testing notes: This was one of our favorite meatloafs because of its fantastic flavor. It held together well and the day after it was made, cut like pate. We opted to make it without the ketchup/brown sugar topping and loved the way the flavor of the bacon seeped into the top layer of meat.

Source: Jean Lanier, Seminole

Alton-Inspired Meatloaf

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
1 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground sirloin
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute onion, garlic and celery in olive oil until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool.

Mix cooled sauteed vegetables with remaining ingredients. Using your hands, incorporate thoroughly. Form into a loaf shape and place in the middle of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400, then reduce to 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Times testing notes: This is a basic meatloaf recipe made using suggestions from Alton Brown, host of Food Network's Good Eats. Cooking it at a high temperature for 20 minutes gave the meat a crispier crust. The lamb provides a bolder flavor than mild veal.

Source: Janet K. Keeler, Times food editor

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