Comfort Food: Martha’s Meatloaf

by Cate on February 16, 2010

Martha's Meatloaf

When it comes to meatloaf, it seems that the camps are quickly divided right down the middle.  You either love it or you hate it.  Being firmly ensconced in the “love it” category, but being in the minority in this house, I sometimes use company coming over as an opportunity to have it.  When I’m really desperate for a meatloaf fix, I make it and give half to The Neighbor Wife. What is it about meatloaf that gets everyone going?  I mean, seriously, it’s the same consistency and basic taste of a meatball, right?  And those don’t get everyone yelling “hate it!”  Enlighten me.

I usually don’t use a recipe for meatloaf, but decided to give a new one from Martha Stewart a whirl.  As most meatloaf recipes are, this one was super simple.  Mix a bunch of things in a bowl, shape the mixture into a loaf and bake it.  Dinner is done.  Her recipe included a lot of horseradish and, while I may like it, it sounded like a little much.  I scaled it back to just two teaspoons, instead of the one tablespoon plus two teaspoons that it called for.  You can definitely taste a hint of horseradish.  I think it could handle adding back in a bit more, but think the overall total originally called for in the recipe was a little steep.  And this coming from someone who loves horseradish.  Just sayin’.

It had a nice, mild flavor, was easy to make and perfect the next day with a little bit of light mayo, ketchup and smushed in between toasted slices of bread.

Hungry for more meatloaf recipes?
This one from my chef crush, Tom Colicchio, was another good one.
Sunny Anderson’s version of meatloaf got The Ex to clean his plate.

Project 365
February 15, 2010, Photo #45

Art Project

Our house is not a Play-Doh house. And it’s not a paint house. It’s a mess thing. I remember an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 (you know, before they became Jon & Kate Hate), where Kate was getting a little antsy about the mess the kids were making, and they weren’t even in the house. I can totally relate. With Play-Doh, it’s not so much the mess. Well, I do hate all the little bits that get tracked all over the house after play, but I also hate when the colors get all mixed together. Invariably, one session of Play-Doh, and you no longer have all the pretty, vibrant popping colors. You have the color of mud. I did relent and let Play-Doh in the house last year, but only because Jamie promised I wouldn’t have to give it a second thought. Even Nick knows it’s Grandma’s house that’s the Play-Doh house.  Since this is the house where we jump in puddles, dig for worms and play with bubbles (even in the winter), I feel good that it’s just a little trade-off.  For some reason, there is some sort of difference in the messes.  Don’t ask me what.  I didn’t say I always make sense.

As far as paint, I love the finished projects, just not the paint that tends to get all over. This picture was from an art project we worked on this afternoon. What can I say… I must be getting soft. Softer, I mean. But ask me again tomorrow when we do Madeline‘s art project. With paint.  I mean, come on, we know what the child can do with spaghetti.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, October 2009

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced small
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (10 percent fat)
1 cup roughly crushed saltine crackers (about 15 crackers)
1 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar (3 ounces)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Toasted country-style bread, lettuce, sliced dill pickles, and ketchup, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium; add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until brick-red in color and fragrant, 3 minutes. In a large bowl, combine beef, onion mixture, crackers, cheese, eggs, horseradish, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper.
  2. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, use your hands to form mixture into a 9-inch loaf. Bake until cooked through, about 40 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before cutting into thick slices. To serve, place meatloaf slices between bread, topped with lettuce, pickles, and ketchup.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne February 16, 2010 at 7:15 am

I have mixed feelings about meatloaf. I think its the ketchup that I don’t like (I can’t stand ketchup) and the crust:inside ratio. You get way more crispy crust on meatballs and that is probably my favorite part. This sounds like a good one though, I’ll have to give it a shot.

My house was not a Play-Doh house either! My aunt’s was. My mom hated the mess as well, and it’s true – Play-Doh gets EVERYWHERE.


Kris #40 February 16, 2010 at 8:37 am

My family loves it, I like it. Last week I made mini’s in cupcake tins filled with cheese (these are their favorites).

Growing up I didn’t like my mother’s, she made it in a dutch oven on top of the stove with a brown gravy served with egg noodles (made with the requisite “SPRY”). I think I would like it now – but none of her recipes were ever written down before she passed away.

I think I will give this recipe a try – saltines sounds interesting – and it looks so nice and brown and crusty on top.

My house has never been a Play-Doh house for the same reasons as yours. We also don’t have silly putty in it either (after a green container managed to get all over a comforter when my son was younger).


Cathy February 16, 2010 at 9:37 am

I love meatloaf – always have. And even better the 2nd day sliced up on a sandwich with loads of mustard and cheddar cheese.


Ramona February 16, 2010 at 11:45 am

I like it, hubby hates it. It looks good to me!


Josie February 16, 2010 at 11:54 am

For me, every meatloaf is so different, I cannot imagine deciding to hate them all. My mom’s meatloaf reminds me exactly of meatballs, and I love hers. But I also love everything from a Vietnamese meatloaf I recently made to our local restaurant’s, the Cap City Diner, which is full of mushrooms and slathered in a delicious bbq sauce. I love the idea of adding horseradish to meatloaf! I think this is going to get bookmarked to try in the future :)


5 Star Foodie February 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm

The addition of horseradish for the meatloaf sounds fantastic!


Karen February 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I recently made Miranda Lambert’s mom’s meatloaf from the January 2010 Southern Living. It was really simple and really awesome! I think it was the touch of brown sugar that made it spectacular for me. But living alone doesn’t make meatloaf a viable choice on most nights. And for some reason meatloaf isn’t really dinner party food me – but I guess there is no reason why it can’t be.


Alicia February 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I love meatloaf too, but my family doesn’t care for it. I need to find a recipe they will all like!


Amanda February 16, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I am totally one of those weirdos that LOVED meatloaf. Well. Not traditional meatloaf. More like a hamburger shaped in a loaf kinda meatloaf. :)



Bridgett February 16, 2010 at 5:44 pm

My husband would fall in love with me all over again if I made this for dinner. He adores meatloaf and yours has my mouth watering from the delicious looking photo.
I am a meatloaf convert…but then maybe my mom’s wasn’t all that good! Yikes, you didn’t hear me say that….


grace February 18, 2010 at 7:35 am

i loved play-doh when i was a kid, but i suspect my mom hated it–the stuff inevitably wound up in the strangest places…
meanwhile, meatloaf the day it’s prepared is useless to me–i always prefer the leftovers in a big fat sandwich!


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