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Americana: Christy’s meatloaf

I hated meatloaf as a kid. Too wet, too mushy. In fact, I can’t remember ever eating it until I started dating Ben and going home to visit his family with him. Christy, my mother-in-law, is the eldest of 8 kids, so obviously her mom had to cook in bulk. As a result, Mrs. Rio made meatloaf in sheet pans (or big pyrex pans, I guess), not loaf pans. I know it’s not rocket science, but to me it made meatloaf a totally different food, with a much better top-to-interior ratio and no mushy dampness. At age 24 or so I ate my first-ever meatloaf sandwich. Now I’m obsessed with meatloaf, though it has taken me several tries with Christy’s recipe before I got anywhere close to her results. This recipe is very, very approximate–I used about 2/3 of the can of tomato sauce this time, which improved the texture a lot (mine was always too wet), and I think Christy actually uses more like 1.25+ pounds of meat.

Christy’s meatloaf
“Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce (any brand)
1 cup Progresso Italian-style bread crumbs Note from Kate: I tried it with organic italian breadcrumbs from whole foods and it was a bust. Stick to Progresso.

Mix thoroughly. I use my hands to make sure everything is well mixed – there’s nothing worse than biting into a clump of breadcrumbs… When it’s all nice and smooth, put the whole thing into an 8 X 8 ungreased baking dish (or pan or pie plate). Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the middle is no longer pink.

When I double this recipe, I use a 9 X 13 pan, and it works just fine. I bake it a little longer, close to an hour.”

I baked potatoes and roasted broccoli and we went for full-on Americana:

Very productive weekend, though I still didn’t cook much. Ben made cookies… We spent most of the time cleaning up the apartment and organizing things, so it’s feeling very fresh and nice right now. Photos to come, perhaps…

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