Comfort Food: Homestyle Meatloaf

By Michele L.

For years, I thought that one of our family’s standard recipes was my mom’s meatloaf. Turns out… it was Betty Crocker’s meatloaf. 

But seriously: my mom makes the best meatloaf in the whole wide world. I refuse to order it in a restaurant because I know I will be disappointed. Over the years, she has made adjustments to make it her own. And I, in turn, have made mine. As a self-proclaimed food nerd I wanted to take the techniques I’d learned and apply them to a dish we’d been making forever. 

First rule of meatloaf: Do not over mix! Any time you are working with ground meat, you want to try and handle it as little as possible or it will become tough. This is the difference between a soft, luscious meatloaf and a sad, gravy covered brick. So get in there with your hands, but be gentle and quick. (If the idea of handling raw meat doesn’t sit well with you, get yourself a box of powder free latex gloves from any drugstore)  And for the love of comfort food do NOT use a mixer. If you use a mixer, I will know. And I will give you that look. You know the one. 

The second point I want to drive home with this recipe, and with any recipe really, is that you want to season all the parts of the dish as you go. This is often referred to as building layers of flavor. If you wait until the end of a recipe to season, your dish will inevitably be bland or uneven. Seasoning as you go will insure that every bite is perfect. 

I recommend serving this meatloaf with your favorite mashed potatoes (watch for my recipe in March!) and brown gravy. In this case, I take a shortcut and use store bought gravy. I won’t tell if you don’t.  But if I’m being completely honest… I eat it with ketchup like I have since I was a kid. There is no shame in my meatloaf game. 

For me, comfort food is something simple and satisfying. It’s a dish that you know will turn out right every time. But above all, it’s a dish that makes your heart happy. A dish that takes you home. It’s been said time and time again, but the secret ingredient to any comfort food really is love. 

Homestyle Meatloaf

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 60-75 Minutes

  • 1.5 lbs of Meatloaf Mix (Yes, it’s sold like this in the store, but you can substitute 1 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork if necessary)
  • 1/2 Medium Onion (Small Dice)
  • 1/2 Medium Green Pepper (Small Dice)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (Minced) 
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt (such as Lawry’s)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  1. Preheat the Oven to 350°
  2. Season onion and green pepper with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Saute on medium/high heat in 1 tbs. oil until the onions are translucent (5-8 minutes) 
  3. Add garlic and sauté for 2-3 more minutes. Allow vegetables to cool slightly. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs
  5. In a large bowl, mix vegetables, eggs, and remaining ingredients with your hands until just combined. Don’t over mix! 
  6. On a foil-lined baking sheet form mixture into a loaf shape.  
  7. Bake for 60 minutes (or until internal thermometer reads 155 degrees). 
  8. Increase oven to 500° for 5-10 minutes until meatloaf is browned and delicious. 
  9. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5-10 minutes, slice and serve

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