My earliest memories are of being on a farm in Illinois. We lived in a farmhouse on a one mile square farm where my dad grew corn and soybeans. I have so many fond memories of playing in the haymow in the barn and walking the lane to the windmill in the very center of the farm. I loved collecting caterpillars to keep in a jar and watch form cocoons. The wait was seemingly forever to see if they morphed into butterflies or moths. Summer days ran into each other and the bliss of childhood was prevalent. My mother was an amazing cook and she made wonderful, delicious meals every day. I suppose many people turn their noses up at meatloaf but I am not one of them. Perhaps this is because my mother made the most amazing version. I will share it with you here today and I hope you will give it a try. It's not heavy like some recipes. It is simple yet so flavorful. Read all the way to the end and your reward will be finding some pretty great ideas for freezing this meal for later.
Start with sliced potatoes. About 3 cups will do for about 6 servings but you know your people. Slice up enough for everyone considering how much each will want. Sometimes I increase the amount of potato slices even when I don't make more meatloaf. There are those who think the potatoes are the best part. They cook under the meatloaf and all those juices drip down on them and they turn soft and savory and oh so delicious. Give them a good sprinkling of salt and be liberal with the pepper.
Combine all the meatloaf ingredients in a bowl. Choose extra lean ground beef. The entire dish will be less greasy if you do. You need a little fat content in the ground beef so that it is tender but you definitely want to choose extra lean. Dice the onions up pretty small. You can choose between oatmeal or crushed crackers. When I use crackers I like to use Ritz or another brand of butter crackers. The meatloaf turns out richer and tastier. Oatmeal works just great, too, though and it doesn't seem to matter if you choose quick oats or regular. We prefer Heinz ketchup at our house but any brand of ketchup will do. Don't skimp on the salt and I always add more pepper than the recipe calls for, just because I really enjoy the taste of pepper. So do my people. I use my hands to mix it all up. It is much easier to incorporate all the ingredients. Don't over mix since the meatloaf gets heavier and denser somehow with over mixing.
Spread the meat mixture over the top of the potatoes. Pop it into the oven and in an hour of so your house will smell divine and you won't believe how delicious dinner is. Top it all with ketchup and oh my....soooo delicious. To me, this is what farm life tastes like. I almost always serve it with green beans. My favorite green beans have been slow cooked on the stove top with bacon. If you like, I'll share my recipe with you. Just tell me you want me to.
Meatloaf and Potatoes.
All baked together.
Topped with ketchup.
Served with green beans.
I love this meal.
Meatloaf and Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds very lean ground beef
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup oatmeal or cracker crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups sliced potatoes (or more)
Combine ground beef, evaporated milk, oatmeal or cracker crumbs, ketchup, onion, salt, and pepper. Arrange sliced potatoes on bottom of greased baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with meat mixture. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve with ketchup.
This recipe makes an excellent freezer meal but potatoes really don't freeze very well. So. Cover the bottom of your greased freezer pan with frozen hash brown potatoes instead. No need to thaw them. Just crumble the frozen hashed browns on the bottom. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with the meat mixture. Cover the whole thing with the lid that comes with these freezer pans or cover with foil. Label and pop it into your freezer. Make more than one because you're gonna love it! When ready to serve, thaw and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. Hashed brown potatoes bake faster than regular potatoes.
If you want to freeze this meatloaf but would rather have the fresh sliced potatoes (the way I do) just put the meat mixture in a freezer bag. Label and freeze. When you are ready to make this for dinner, just slice up some potatoes and thaw the meatloaf.
I suppose you could freeze the meatloaf after it has been baked but I never do since every time you cook ground beef it gets a little heavier and tougher. Freshly baked meatloaf really is the best.
If you need some more really great freezer recipes go here. I'll even teach you how to make 30 meals in one day.