Meat Loaf Ain't for Sissies

Cooking was something learned after I'd set up housekeeping when I was very young. Mostly the way things were figured out was simply by eating things somewhere and trying to remember what they tasted like they had in them. (That was almost in English, wasn't it?)
I had some burger I needed to use and thought I'd share the 'recipe'. It's not really a true recipe, because there is so much leeway in the ingredient list. Some things are 'must haves' and some things are 'good to haves'. Anyway, here ya go:
This makes 2 good size meat loaves. One for dinner and one for either freezing or sandwiches for lunches the rest of the week.
First off, set the oven to preheat to 350 F.
In a 'big ole ginormous' bowl, put all the following ingredients
  • 2# or a little more of the leanest ground meat you can get (we use a lot of turkey).
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large or 2 regular ribs celery diced up
  • Either 3 slices of stale bread torn to bits or 1/2 cup uncooked quick oats or 1/2 cup of your favorite bread crumbs.
  • 1 small bell pepper diced up (red is really pretty, but all colors taste good)
  • Either 1 clove garlic crushed up or a liberal sprinkle of garlic powder (We use lots more cause we like garlic)
  • 2 eggs
  • A big ole generous squirt of ketchup (probably 1/2 cup) Squeeze the bottle til it makes that gross noise one time!

Spices - If you don't get a little happy with spices, you have a big bland chunk of baked meat ((shudder)). I use the following, but experiment away - use a little more than you think you'll need (trust me on this)

  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) Old Bay seasoning and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper sprinkle of dry mustard


  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) of salt free Everglades seasoning a little tiny bit of chili powder and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper


  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons (at least - we think more is better) of Italian seasoning, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of extra rosemary and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
The idea here is to use a fairly strong combination of spices that you and yours like the taste of. Obviously at my house we likes da cayenne pepper....
Take off ALL your rings and put them in your pocket. Now start squishing this up with your hands. Keep squishing until everything is all mixed up and the texture of the meat has changed from little ground up squiggles to a uniform consistency. Pretend it's kids play clay! If you're PO'd or irritated with anything, now is the time to let it out a little.
Divide this into 2 fairly equal parts. Put it into 2 baking dishes. (8 or 9 inches across) Smoosh it down and use your fingertips to dimple the top until it looks like a really bad case of cellulite (you know, chubby thigh)
Mix up 1C ketchup and 1 C water and pour equally over the two meat loafs. Put in the oven for an hour. Mmmm good.
Other stuff that has made appearance in meatloaf depending on what's in my produce drawer that needs to be used.
Chopped up spinach leaves
Shredded carrot
Shredded zuchini
Green onions chopped up
Handful of chopped parsley
Cup of drained canned diced tomatoes (this is very good)
Things NOT to use EVER (trust me on this)
Cabbage in any form
Turnips in any form
More than a leaf of cilantro unless you really like meat that tastes 'green' (too vegetabley if that's a word)
Corn, peas, green beans
Anyway, enjoy. It's actually really good and easy and sort of fun with all the squishing.
Oh, put your rings back on

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