Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Meatloaf Nostalgia

I love the way cooking meatloaf makes the house smell. Usually, when I cook meatloaf I also slow cook a pound of lima beans in the crockpot along with mashed potatoes. I didn't quite get there with the Lima beans yesterday, but still the smell was wonderful - and wonderfully nostalgic. The savory smell of the meatloaf and the starchy aroma of the potatoes takes me right back to my childhood. It makes me feel like I'm walking into my grandmother's kitchen 20 years ago.

I spent weeks at a time in the summer with my grandparents and it didn't matter if it was 102 degrees outside - something was cooking in the kitchen. It was usually something aromatic and savory like meatloaf or pot roast. I can remember coming into the house after playing all afternoon in the yard - or helping out in the garden, sweaty and covered in a fine layer of red soil dust and the farther I walked into the house the stronger the aroma. You'd catch a whiff of it right when you opened the door.

I recreated that nostalgic smell in my house yesterday with Barefoot Contessa's Individual Meatloaves. The flavor was right on the money, however, I do think that the next time I make these that I'll use little mini loaf pans rather than placing them on a cookie sheet, in order to retain more moisture.

I've copied and posted the recipe below or you can also find it on Food Network.

Individual Meat Loaves
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup canned chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
  • 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (recommended: Heinz)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meatloaf will be dense. Divide the mixture into 6 (10 to 11-ounce) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf on a sheet pan. Spread about a tablespoon of ketchup on the top of each portion. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees F and the meat loaves are cooked through. Serve hot.


  1. I have never made meatloaf...I can't believe it but its true! I think this may be the recipe for my first meatloaf. I just found your blog and I am excited to check out the rest of your recipes!

  2. I remember seeing this show where she made these little loaves...they looked delicious, as do yours! Nothing makes a house smell as comforting as meatloaf :)

  3. Oh this looks delicious! I'm with you on the meatloaf, I love it anytime!

  4. I love meatloaf! Individual meatloaves are even better--I don't have to share...

    These look very good. Great photo. I'm ready to pull up a chair.