Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Family Favorite Meatloaf with Sweet and Sour Glaze Recipe

During the winter my family loves classic home-style comfort food for dinner.  One of my family's favorite dinners is classic meatloaf, it always hits the spot!  So I thought I would share my recipe.

Classic Meatloaf with Sweet and Sour Glaze

Preheat oven to 375 F.
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1-2 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 -1 teaspoon Italian herb blend
salt and pepper (not much, I add in a few twists of each using my sea salt and pepper grinders)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers ( I used to always use saltines, but one day I substituted Ritz and have used them ever since, they are smoother and easier to incorporate, and I think the buttery flavor adds something yummy to the meatloaf)
1 cup rolled oats
2 eggs

Yellow Mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar

In a large bowl combine hamburger, spices, eggs, oats, and an entire sleeve of Ritz crackers crushed (they are easy to crunch with your hands as you add them in), and about 1/2 a cup of ketchup to begin.  Using a fork mix the ingredients together until everything is well incorporated, add more ketchup as needed to create a mixture that will hold together well, and is moist but not overly moist.  Add more herbs and minced onion if needed, since you can't taste raw beef I give it a good smell to see if it smells seasoned to my liking.  Mix until incorporated.

Then spray the bottom of a roasting pan with cooking oil, and mound the meatloaf mixture in the center of the pan. Using a fork, shape into an oblong loaf, like shown below. I like to use a fork because it leaves grooves in the meatloaf which will hold the glaze better later in the cooking process.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes to an hour at 375 F., meatloaf should be browned but not crispy or dark, check it occasionally so it doesn't over cook on the outside, then it will be time to add the glaze.

To make the sweet and sour glaze, combine 1/2 cup of ketchup, 1/2 a cup of brown sugar, and a couple tablespoons of yellow mustard into a bowl, and stir until mixed and sugar is incorporated.  Then give it a taste, it may need more mustard, or ketchup, or even a bit more sugar, I like it to be sweet with a definite sour element from the mustard and ketchup, but I don't want to taste any one ingredient too much.  Add what it needs and mix thoroughly.  Then top the mostly cooked meatloaf with this glaze, I like to cover the whole surface and sides, if the meatloaf is large, I may make a bit more glaze because I really like the whole loaf to be coated.

Put the meatloaf back in the oven to finish cooking.  After glazing it should be about 15 to 20 minutes more to finish cooking.  Use a meat thermometer, and follow guidelines for hamburger temperatures to check doneness, occasionally for a larger loaf I have to turn up the oven if it is not reaching temperature, but be careful once the glaze is on, since it is sugary it will burn if the oven is too hot.  The topping will be bubbly but not too dark.

We enjoy our meatloaf with the classic mashed potatoes and green beans.  Now that the kids are older we don't have left overs, but if you do have left over meatloaf, it makes an excellent sandwich the next day!

This classic meal is always welcome at dinner time and the whole family loves it.

Thanks for reading! ~April

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday Ramblings - Books, Foxes, Sherlock and Downton

It has been quite some time since I have written a post, I have been having a lazy January!  I always tend to get a late start to the new year, with all the holiday busyness I tend to hibernate in early January.

We did have a fun outing right before school started back up, we were all excited to go and see the Sherlock exhibit at OMSI (our science museum).  We all love mystery, and my daughter is especially fond of BBC's show Sherlock.  The exhibit featured an interactive mystery to solve, it was a blast.  Sadly, no photos were allowed in the exhibit, but there were a couple of photo ops outside of the main exhibit. This buggy was in one of the Sherlock Movies.

This was another old buggy from Sherlock's time.

The whole Sherlock exhibit was great, and at the end were props from both old and recent Sherlock movies as well as props from BBC's Sherlock which Sarah and I were really excited to see in person.  Our museum trip was a fun way to finish winter break.

With the kids back in school I felt like the house needed a little brightening up, it always seems a little bare after all the holiday decorations are put away.  When I saw these cute little bright yellow hedgehog candle holders I new they would be just the ticket for brightening up the living room.

I love hedgehogs and I thought these little guys were very cute!

Speaking of cute, I am on a fox kick, they seem to be everywhere right now, and since I love all things woodland, I can hardly help myself.  I had seen this fox tray and fox canister during the holidays but they were not in my holiday budget.  Yesterday I was in Target for a few items, and came across them on clearance for much less than they were during Christmas, so I couldn't pass them up, I was so excited to add them to my kitchen!

Here is the fox handle on the tray, I am looking forward to the next time I can serve goodies on my new tray!

The little canister is just the right size to hold sugar next to the coffee pot! :)


Most of this month I have been enjoying nice quiet days and catching up on some of my favorite programs. While I was shopping during the holidays I tucked away a few of my favorite treats.  I love these little Tunnock's Tea Cakes from Scotland, I first discovered them at World Market a few years back, and love to keep a box in the pantry.

These little tea cakes are very sweet little goodies, it is a chocolate covered marshmallow type filling on top of a cookie biscuit treat, and they are perfect with coffee or tea.

I really enjoyed the series premier of Downton last week, and look forward to watching last night's episode, which is waiting for me on the DVR. My sister gave me a Downton Mug for Christmas, perfect for a cup of tea while I'm watching Downton Abbey!  Thanks Mia! :)

Speaking of Christmas Gifts, I also got some fun new books this Christmas.  Both my daughter and I watch Cake Boss together, since Sarah loves the show so much I thought I would get her the new Cake Boss Family Celebrations Cookbook, and she knows how much I have wanted to try some of Buddy's frosting and filling recipes so she bought me a Cake Boss Cookbook with Buddy's stories and recipes.  We both had a laugh on Christmas morning when we both unwrapped our cookbooks! We are looking forward to trying out some new recipes.

My sister Mia got me this whimsical book on Raising Unicorns which I am looking forward to reading.

My sister Amy got me an interesting book all about Apple Cider Vinegar and all the things you can use it for as well as recipes, along with a bottle of unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar.  I look forward to trying out some of the recipes, I love Apple Cider Vinegar in salad dressings, so I am looking forward to seeing what else I can make with it.  :)

So that is what I have been up to.  I am looking forward to another year of blogging, I have been making a list of all the posts and recipes I would like to do here in the next few months.  I am also currently planning a fun event that I look forward to sharing about with you soon.

Hope everyone is having a nice January. Thanks for reading!