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Like a Bat Out of the Oven

July 17th, 2016

I Would do Anything for Food, But I Won’t do That

I made my first meatloaf the other day, and I felt so bad about the results, I just made another one. I feel that I can now declare victory.

The first loaf was pretty close to the “prizewinning” Quaker Oats recipe, which is basically hamburger, oatmeal, salt, pepper, eggs, and onions. The “sauce” was ketchup doctored very heavily with brown sugar, Worcestershire, and vinegar.

I figured, “Hey, it won a prize.” But I didn’t think about two facts: the loaf contained a lot of oatmeal, and the company that awarded the prize sells…oatmeal.

It was dry, as if there were something in it that absorbed water…gosh, if only I could figure out what that was.

I got some new info in my comments, and I tried again.

This time, I decided to add onion soup mix, which is one of the most incredible cooking ingredients there is. Usually I’m against prefab seasoning, but this stuff works. I also used around 25% pork, and I replaced half of the oatmeal with panko bread crumbs. I doubled the eggs, and I added plain old water, because I knew the oats would dry the meat. I mixed ketchup and Heinz 57 into the loaf. Finally, I did something really bad. I added half a stick of butter and mixed it in.

Butter makes everything better. Everything.

I got some of the ideas from the Lipton soup box, which had recipes on it. I also jacked up the salt and pepper, and I added fresh garlic.

I baked the loaf at 350 until it hit 160 on the inside, and then I smeared some ketchup and 57 on the outside and let it bake on.

It’s really good. It’s juicy; fat pooled on top of it as it baked. I had to drain a lot of it. The seasonings are just right.

It’s hard to know what to do with a meatloaf, because they’re full of fat. If you cook it in a deep pan or dish, the fat will surely rise up and cover it. I decided to bake it on a broiling pan, with a sheet of foil under the meat. The fat was able to run off that way, and the sheet kept it from sticking to the pan. When it was done, I let it cool for an hour or so and slid it off the foil into a Corningware dish.

I was not happy with the mashed potatoes I made last week, either. I had never made bad mashed potatoes before. I figured the potatoes my local store was selling were too dry and mealy. This time I fixed it by replacing one of the russets with a big red potato. They’re starchier. And I really socked the butter to it. Very nice.

Now I should have meat and potatoes for the next five or six days, and I’ll also supply my dad with it, so he doesn’t eat junk. Not too much junk, anyway. Okay, not JUST junk. There is a limit to what I can do.

The pork firmed the loaf up and added a lot of flavor. That was a good move. I kept the oats in because I need to get rid of the giant can I bought, and because it has fiber.

I try not to hit the carbs too hard, but if you cut back too much, it can make your brain fog up, so the potatoes were necessary. To me, carbs are like insulin. You don’t consume huge unlimited amounts of them; you just have a dose when you need it to make you feel better.

I’m not a huge meatloaf fan, but I like cooking a big meat dish once a week to help me avoid cooking for several days, and meatloaf will fit right into the plan. I think it has lots of potential for improvement. It’s probably possible to make a meatloaf that’s truly outstanding, if you think about it and work on it. I don’t know if I want to do that. I want it to be good enough to eat, but not good enough to tempt me.

I can picture a really excellent version with brown gravy, perfect for serving like a hot roast beef sandwich. No. No. I will be strong.

Thanks for the helpful comments.

5 Responses to “Like a Bat Out of the Oven”

  1. Sharkman Says:

    You, Sir, are an Artiste. I commend your brilliance with the Mash and Loaf.

    Have you never made Garlic Mash with Avo?

    I use about 7 large Russets, about 3 large elephant garlic cloves, half a box of cream cheese, a stick o’ butter, a large peeled and pitted avocado, salt and pepper, half and half, and about 3 chopped green onions.

    Peel and boil the elephant garlic with the peeled Russets, drain ’em, then add the avo and the rest of the ingredients and mash them up until creamy. The avo adds a subtle flavor that I really like, and I’ve even been known to toss a boiled yam in, also for a little flavor. I’ve also been known to crumble freshly cooked bacon into this already frighteningly tasty dish.

    YMMV of course, but I’ve never missed cooking for myself or others with this recipe.

  2. Steve H. Says:

    Thanks for the support.

    I’m not an avocado guy, and even if I were, I keep them out of the house. They are poisonous to parrots, and sooner or later, some guest would try to give a piece to Maynard or Marvin.

  3. Sharkman Says:

    Ahhh.

  4. Mike Says:

    My bride uses lean ground beef mixed with around 1/3 mild Italian sausage. Box stuffing instead of oatmeal and I prefer a local BBQ sauce instead of ketchup or sometimes half and half. I think the BBQ sauce has a lot of butter. Don’t think she adds much in the way of spices other than a healthy shot of Worcestershire. Maybe the stuffing has a bunch already? I’d ask her but she is out of town in a merger meeting. We like sweet potato so 5 or 6 get baked before the loaf. Wa-la! Food for the week!

  5. Rachel Says:

    For leftover meatloaf, put a thick slice on a George Foreman (or some such other grill, or even on the gas grill) and then make a sandwich! TASTY!