One Mom's Perfect Imperfections

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One Mom's Perfect Imperfection: See What's Cookin'

One Mom's Perfect Imperfection

One mom's journey through life and her hodgepodge of hobbies.

19 April 2010

See What's Cookin'

Iwanted to share with you one of my all time favorite recipes. I've used this recipe for years now and it's so versatile and easy to make. Anyone who tries it loves it and I've given out the recipe more times than I can count. Even if you're not a fan of meatloaf, my Italian Meatloaf will bowl you over. I promise. It's just that good. This recipe can also be used to make some of the best meatballs around. Now, I'm not Italian; however, this recipe came from a true Italian cook so I assure you it's authentic and worth making.

I've kinda put off doing a cooking post because I don't really cook using a recipe. I have a tendency to make it up as I go and measuring cups (unless I'm baking) are rarely used. So I'm hoping the pictures will help you all in this case but also encourage you to be a little more creative in the kitchen. Take a recipe and make it your own. Why not give you the recipe I was given, you say? Well, because the recipe I was given is basically a list of ingredients which is exactly what I'm passing to you. My recipe does not have any measurements either. :(

Start with a pound of ground beef. Do your heart and your cardiologist a favor and get the leanest meat available.

Next up, chop some onions. Tip: put it in the freezer about 10 minutes before chopping and the fumes will not get to you. Chop half a medium onion or so. Adjust accordingly to your personal preference.

Garlic. I LOVE garlic. I prefer fresh but garlic powder would also be fine. I usually use about 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped.

Combine ingredients into a large bowl. So far so good.

To your bowl, add about 1/2 -3/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

Now add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of Italian style breadcrumbs.

Here's where you can change it up a bit, if you so desire. You can add a half a jar of pre-made tomato sauce or add plain tomato sauce which is what I do so that I can control the ingredients. I, personally, don't like the added sugar and sodium found in jarred sauces. But if you have a favorite jarred sauce or just want to make it easy on yourself, feel free. But only half. Reserve the rest for later.

Now you'll want to season up the mix a bit - if you are using plain tomato sauce. You might not want to add too much if you are using jarred sauce. Also, keep in mind that you used Italian breadcrumbs so there's a bit of seasoning already going on here. Again, forgive me for not measuring. But you'll want a palm full of salt. Probably not quite a tablespoon. Same goes for black pepper, oregano, and basil. I recommend fresh herbs, but dried is fine as well. Just use less dried herbs. Keep in mind too that dried herbs only last for about six months before losing their potency. Adjust seasonings according to your preference. If you like salty, add a lot of salt.

You knew it was coming. Time to get messy.

This is a little trick I learned. If you don't want to wait the full hour or so, make mini loaves instead of one big loaf. However, if you don't like your onions to have a little crunch, you may want to grate the onion or saute them first to give them a head start since they will not be cooking as long.

Time for the oven. If you're cooking one big loaf, that big guy is going to bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour or so. Of course, this all depends on your oven. If you're cooking the mini loaves, these little guys only take about 20 minutes. Remember that you have tomato sauce inside the meat so the meat is going to look a little pink even after it's done.

After baking accordingly, pour your remaining sauce over the top of your meatloaf/loaves and return it/them back to the oven for an additional half an hour for the one loaf - another 15-20 minutes for the mini loaves. I should add that I usually season up the leftover sauce before adding it to the top of the meatloaf - just a dash of salt, pepper and basil.

Will ya take a look at this? YUMMO!

Even my kids love this dish. Not a crumb left on the plate.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I hope I was able to convey my method for cooking it somewhat clearly. COOK, EAT, ENJOY Y'ALL!

Feel free to print or save this recipe!

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