Meatloaf has long been a standard main dish in America, and according to John Mariani in "Encyclopedia of American Food And Drink," was first seen in print as early as 1899. For many, meatloaf is an ultimate comfort food, bringing back pleasant childhood memories of family meals.
There are many ways to cut the calories and enhance the flavor of ordinary meatloaf, from tasty additions to spicy toppings. Ground round is a great choice if you're using beef for your meatloaf since excess fat in fattier ground meats is absorbed by breadcrumbs. Use soft bread crumbs in place of dry for a moister meatloaf, or substitute grated potato or carrots for a portion of the meat, which will also eliminate some of the calories. Baking the meatloaf on a rack will keep it out of the fatty drippings. Sharon Tyler Herbst, author of "The Food Lover's Tiptionary," describes a method for making your own meatloaf pan by piercing holes in an inexpensive loaf pan then setting it on a rack in a larger baking pan.
Another great thing about meatloaf is that you can bake it in the oven, microwave, electric roaster, or crockpot. Truly, the only limit is your imagination! If Mom's basic meatloaf has lost its appeal, try a different recipe or create your own with some of the tips below. Enjoy!
Tips and Flavor-Enhancing Ideas
- For more flavor and a juicier meatloaf, add about 1/4 cup of tomato juice, wine, or broth for each pound of meat.
- Bake in muffin tins or mini-loaf pans for individual servings.
- Use leftovers sliced in sandwiches or crumbled in sauces or chili.
- Replace some of the liquid in the recipe with red wine or dark beer.
- Add a cup of grated or shredded cheese to the meatloaf and top with more cheese about 10 minutes before it's done.
- Replace liquids with red wine or dark beer.
- Make the finished meatloaf extra fancy by frosting with mashed potatoes and topping with cheese; return to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted.
- Shape your loaf, place it on foil, and cook it on a closed grill. It's a great idea for outdoor cooks, and it will keep your kitchen cool.
- Serve small muffin cup meatloaves in slider buns with your favorite burger toppings.