I'd snap a picture of this as it was in progress of being made but I am presently thawing out the frozen block of ground beef in the microwave right now. Also, my kitchen is not exactly presentable for pictures right now. (Namely my tablecloth is rather ratty looking and the pile of kid school papers is approaching the same height as the 1 gallon fish tank where our Betta Ghost lives. And a few knitting projects.. it's just a bit messy. So, no pictures today.) Next week, I'll try to do some with another recipe. I'm going to attempt to update a recipe here on a weekly basis. Maybe it will help me get back into posting on here again.
That said, dinner tonight is going to be meatloaf. It's really simple and fairly quick to put together, compared to some other things I've made. The hardest part is waiting for it to finish cooking. My family is on the small side. Between the boys, Beloved, and I, we've got four people to feed plus at least one serving leftover for lunch the next day. I will most likely make something with the spinach that is sitting in the fridge desperately trying not to wilt though it is 24 hours past its prime sell by date. I don't plan on the kids eating much of the spinach because as Cuddle Bear says, "We hate vegetables!" We're still working on this front.
Everything cooks at the same time and at the same temperature with this recipe. It was one of the first things I was cooking for dinner when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure that the boys will be cooking this in the not so distant future. I start off scrubbing the potatoes and pricking them all over with a fork. Then I set them aside. When they go in the oven, they're going to rest right on the rack. Remember to prick them all over, though, because if you don't the will explode and make a horrible mess. (I made this mistake once. Mom was not impressed and I had to clean the whole stove and oven. You'd be surprised how many nooks and crannies there are in an oven.)
For my meatloaf, I use 98% lean ground beef. Some people say it has less flavor. I haven't noticed too big of a difference between that and the more inexpensive ground beef. The big reason why I use the lowest fat ground beef that I can afford is because it makes for less grease sitting in the pan with the meatloaf. Which makes it easier to serve (and it is healthier with less grease, or so my doctor says). Cooking for four people, I use one pound of ground beef. I add to it an egg, some breadcrumbs (but sometimes oatmeal), ketchup, and mustard. It is probably the most boring form of ground beef you can find. I mix it all together until it is uniform and then pop it into a bread pan. Sometimes I will put it into a muffin tin for individual servings. The reception has been indifferent between the two versions of presentation.
When I've got my meatloaf mixed up and pressed into the pan, I put it in the oven on the middle rack at a medium heat. I set my washed and pricked potatoes beside it on the rack. Let everything cook for an hour and you'll have a nice dinner that just needs a salad to be complete. I like to cut the baked potatoes in half and scrape out the 'meat'. Then I put a little salt and butter on it so it is like mashed potatoes. I also put a little butter into the skins and eat that straight up. My kids look at me weird for doing it, but it's tasty so I don't care.
Basic Meatloaf & Baked Potatoes
Serves 4 - 5
1 pound ground beef 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg, yolk broken 1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined. (I use my hands and knead it together like dough.)
Press into a standard sized bread pan. Cover with foil (optional).
Cook in the oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Allow to cool a few minutes and then slice and serve.
Take 4 medium sized potatoes, wash well and cut off any green parts or eyes.
Prick all over with a fork, making sure to pierce the skin.
Set potatoes on oven rack in an oven that is at 350 degrees. Cook for 1 hr or until fork pricks through the skin with ease.