Last month when I was planning out the upcoming menu, The Pioneer Woman's recipe from her cookbook for her favorite meatloaf came into my blog reader. It looked so incredible that I immediately added it to October's meal plan. Never mind the fact that Hey, Babe says he doesn't care for meatloaf. This baby was wrapped in bacon so I had a hard time imagining him unable to find it at least edible, if not delicious.
During our ever so long courtship, I was constantly warned by Hey, Babe's mother that her children were all picky eaters. Hey, Babe apparently didn't eat a whole list of things. Slowly but surely I have been whittling that list down and can now remove meatloaf from it. Hey, Babe is officially a convert. I don't expect him to like every meatloaf, but he most definitely likes this one. It furthermore looks like I won't have any trouble with Little Man and meatloaf because I am pretty sure he ate more in one sitting than I did. If he keeps this up I just may have to rename him Short Round.
As I am want to do, I made changes to Ree's original recipe. I can't help it. I would say that this is a problem but since I like the way things turn out when I change them I'm just going to accept it. The biggest change was leaving the sauce off entirely. Hey, Babe upon hearing of it voiced his dissent immediately. I personally have never liked the ketchup sauce on most meatloaves, I prefer to have it on the side, but he was adamantly against it. To date he had only managed to eat meatloaf when it was covered with steak sauce or plain ketchup (none of that doctored, sweetened stuff). This didn't bother me much since it was one less step, plus I wasn't much interested in the sauce in the first place and so I agreed to leave it off. Other than that, most changes were minor adjustments in measurements, all except the fact that I shaped it into four mini loaves instead of one large one. I feel that enables it to cook more evenly and thoroughly, as well as a bit faster.
I must say, and Hey, Babe the former spurner of meatloaf agrees, this is the best meatloaf I have ever in my entire life tasted. It was so good it didn't even need the bacon. It was so moist, so flavorful, so incredible. Ree calls it "My Favorite Meatloaf," and I must say that I agree. I believe that the fresh grated parmesan is the key to this recipe (and not the bacon as I would have assumed). I'm seriously surprised that we didn't devour the entire thing in one sitting, including the extras that were to go in the freezer (one recipe would be too much for the 2.75 of us, so I baked and froze half for next month, I'll let you know how it is recooked). We did make a good attempt though. Like I mentioned before, Little Man ate more of it than I did. Definitely give this recipe a try. It just might convert your household picky eater, as it did mine.
The Pioneer Woman's (and My) Favorite MeatloafIngredients
1 cup Whole Milk
6 slices White Bread
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons Salt Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2/3 cups Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
4 whole Eggs Beaten
10 slices Thin/regular Bacon
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a broiler pan by lining the bottom with foil. The broiler will allow the grease to cook off and the foil will help with cleanup later.
Crumble the bread into a large bowl (I used too small a bowl and ended up dirtying another one) and pour milk over top. Allow them to soak for several minutes. Give the bread mush a good stir, breaking up large pieces. Add the ground beef, Parmesan, seasonings and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.
With very clean hands (remember to remove your rings, ick trying to get the meat out afterwards if you don't), mix the ingredients until well combined. It was painfully cold for some reason so I had Hey, Babe mix it. Be prepared to need to warm up your hands in the sink afterward. Form the mixture into either several smaller (I did four) or one large loaf on the prepared broiler pan.
Across the top of the loaf/loaves, lay out all the bacon slices tucking the edges underneath the meatloaf.
Bake for 45 minutes and serve with your favorite steak sauce (like A1) or ketchup. Keep eating because it tastes so good, then go for a long walk so you feel less guilty.