When the challenge for May was announced, I was stumped for awhile. Did I want to tackle the macaroni and cheese that my mom's mom made? Maybe the beer potatoes from my paternal grandmother? Then, I remembered my very favorite of all my cookbooks: my dad's Betty Crocker Kid's Cookbook circa 1955. I loved to page through and see the streaks of chocolate on the fudge page, a favorite of my dad and his brothers. And I giggled at the "real kid" reactions and suggestions found at the bottom of every few pages. So fun.
My grandma gave it to me when I was a little girl, and expressed an interest in helping in the kitchen, and it was to this book that I turned when I started cooking meals for our family when I was 12. My go-to recipe was always the meatloaf.
It was simple, and tasty, and I could put it together and get back to the television. If I served it with baked potatoes, it was nearly effortless.
The best thing about meatloaf is that it's so easily modified. You can tweak it any way you like. (Jay's dad used to put a can of mixed veggies in his meatloaf-- excuse me while I shudder with disgust.) As the years have gone by, I've settled on this particular recipe, based on Betty C.'s standby:
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 slices of bread
1/4 C milk
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp sage
Mix all the ingredients together, add the ground beef, and stir. So, so beautifully simple.
Recently, I hit upon a new method of meatloaf presentation-- the meatloaf muffin. This was created in an effort to interest the small person in meatloaf, and to cut down on the cooking time. (I'm constantly running late with dinner prep, and I'm always looking for ways to accomplish dinner in 35-40 minutes.) So, once the ground beef is mixed properly with the rest of the ingredients, scoop the mixture into the muffin tin, and squiggle some ketchup on top of each muffin.
Bake these in a 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. They will look like this when they're done:
And how did they taste?
Jay and I approved.
Natalie SAID she liked it...
Then she actually tasted it, and changed her assessment...
I believe her exact words were, "It's DIRT, Mom." Ah, well. Maybe next time. As Becky says at the bottom of page 122 of the Betty Crocker Kid's Cookbook, "Leftover meatloaf makes the most WONDERFUL sandwiches." Amen, Becky. Amen.