Meatloaf is one of those things…you either love it (and like my husband wants it every week), you tolerate it, or you just can’t stand it. I used to be in the “just can’t stand it” category, until…
Enter the wonderment that is Brown Sugar Meatloaf. Now, I know all of you are going to look at this recipe and think, “Yeah…what’s so special? It’s meatloaf. What planet has she been living on?” But, my friends, there is something magical (to me) about this meatloaf. I can’t explain it. I can just share with you.
One of the reasons this meatloaf is so special to me is because I made it the night we went to see our current house for the first time. We did our walk through and then went home to make dinner. I don’t remember what sides we had, but I do vividly remember putting the loaf together afterward. It’s the weird stuff that sticks in my memory sometimes…
Anyhow…I give you Brown Sugar Meatloaf. Make it. And serve it with Sister Schubert rolls. Match made in heaven. I promise.
Brown Sugar Meatloaf
(adapted from allrecipes.com…of course)
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup saltine crackers, crushed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
Preheat oven to 350°. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, pepper, and garlic in the oil until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
In a mixing bowl, mix the milk and saltines together and let sit. Take a tip from me…pick a big enough bowl to start with or this happens:
You want the crackers to soak up the milk. That’s better.
After your veggies finish cooking, add them to the milk mixture along with the eggs, salt, pepper, and ginger. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, start working on the meat. You want to break up the meat a little bit before you start mixing it with the other ingredients. Don’t grab it like a baseball…
but instead, use your fingertips to gentle break apart the meat.
If you grab and squeeze the meat, it can become tough. After you get your meat worked up a bit, add in your veggie mixture. Mix to combine.
Now grab a loaf pan. (This, unfortunately, is not a one pot meal, my friends.) If it’s metal, you want to spray it with cooking spray. If you have a silicone loaf pan as I do, you should employ it here. Meatloaf gets messy. Press the brown sugar into the bottom of the pan.
Then top with the ketchup. (If you’re good, you’ll notice I did this step backwards and put the ketchup down first. Hey…no one’s perfect!)
Top your ketchup with the meat mixture. Press it down in an even layer. Place the loaf pan on a cookie sheet (to catch potential boil overs) and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until the juices run clear.
Now…here’s the great thing. You can portion control these out. All you have to do is use a muffin tin instead of the loaf pan! (I was making a bunch to freeze and give away this day.)
This recipe freezes beautifully. Just cook your meatloaf in the muffin tins, let them cool, pop them out and place the cooked meatloaves on a sheet pan and freeze. Then, once they’re solid, move them to a zip top bag (or Foodsaver bag) and store in the freezer. When you want a quick meal, remove however many you want to eat and defrost them in the microwave. You may have to make a little more brown sugar/ketchup mixture for the top, but that’s easy enough to do.
As I said, my husband loves this meatloaf. Every time I ask him what I should make for dinner he says meatloaf. It is a great thing to have tucked away in the freezer for him. He can pull out a meatloaf muffin and have it for dinner on the nights I have to work. It’s a great go to meal.
Do you have a favorite meatloaf recipe? What recipes do you like to stash in your freezer?