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Please Help me.... I'm a meatloaf failure!!!

15 years ago

Ok, not all of the time. And that's part of the problem.

I don't make meatloaf (really ground beef loaf) with a recipe - so it always comes out different and sometimes it is just awful!! Though sometimes it's really good, too!

The best tasting meatloaf I made DH dubbed "meat glop" because, well, it just fell apart! Since I didn't write down what I did, I can't "adjust" it for a tasty but loafier meat loaf.

My husband (he of hot dogs and stouffers mac and cheese fame) would like plain meatloaf like his mother made. the woman was known to be a lousy cook - but he likes her Salmon Mac (I don't make it) and her meatloaf... (I just recently beat her out o "best spaghetti" but that's b/c his is made plain with Ragu from a jar... while mine gets veggies cooked down)

Well DMIL has (early) alzheimer's, doesn't know where her recipe is, and only told me that she uses onions and an egg.

DH does not like meatloaf with oatmeal (tried that) or any fancy variations...

Can you help me??

I usually by lean ground beef (93/7), but we currently have some 85/15 in the fridge that he'd like me to turn into meatloaf... if that makes a difference. I do have a meatloaf pan that has two pieces - one for the loaf with holes in the bottom for the fat to drain out, and the other it fits into - so I'm not as afraid of the fattier ground beef as I normally would be.


Comments (51)

  • Terri_PacNW
    15 years ago

    Here's one that is pretty basic. With out the sauce.
    I found an "amish" version that is sweeted with brown sugar..that's the one my kids love..but hubby and I don't like it so much.
    Couple of tips..I like to "grate" raw onion..that way it melts into the meat mix and doesn't "standout".
    I also like to "soak" my bread crumbs or cracker crumbs in just enough milk to make them "soggy" before adding.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Amish Meatloaf

  • ann_t
    15 years ago

    If by plain you mean with out ketchup or tomato soup sauce, than you might like the one I make.

    I like it grilled and served with a gravy but it is just as good plain.

    Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

    Meat Loaf Magnolia
    My version of a meatloaf that I had in Magnolia's Restaurant in Charleston, SC. When we got home from vacation I set out to duplicate it because it was the first meatloaf I found that I actually liked. It was different because Magnolia's grilled the slices before serving and it didn't contain ketchup or tomato sauce like so many meatloaf recipes do.

    1 1/2 pounds ground veal or mixture of beef and veal

    1 small onion finely chopped
    1 to 2 cloves of garlic
    2 slices Italian/French Bread soaked in milk
    2 eggs
    1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
    2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
    1 tablespoons of dried herbs,
    (sage and Thyme, a small amount of rosemary
    olive oil


    Green peppercorns
    1 to 2 cups chicken broth

    Saute onion in olive oil until soft. Add minced garlic and saute for
    30 seconds. Do not brown garlic

    Soak bread in milk

    In a large bowl add meat, dijon mustard, chopped parsley, herbs, onions
    and garlic and mix with hands. Squeeze bread to break up and add milk
    and bread to mixture. Add eggs. Mix well and season with salt and
    pepper. Saute a small piece to check for seasoning. Adjust to taste.

    Shape meatloaf into a rectangle about 8 X 4 x 3 inches high and place
    in a small roasting pan. Bake for 30 minutes and then add a small
    amount of broth to the pan to prevent the bottom from becoming to
    brown. Bake another 30 minutes and baste with the pan juices. Add
    more broth if necessary. Cook another 10 minutes or until the meatloaf
    is nicely browned.

    Let cool and wrap in foil and refrigerate. Reserve pan juices.

    Make a sauce by adding some green peppercorns and sauted mushrooms to
    the pan juices.

    Heat grill

    Slice meatloaf into 1/2 inch thick slices and grill on both sides until
    nicely marked and hot.

    Serve with mashed potatoes

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  • ghoghunter
    15 years ago

    Well I make a very plain type of meatloaf too. I use about 1 1/4 pound ground beef or combined beef,veal and pork. For the rest I put in 1/2 cup plain or seasoned bread crumbs, 1 egg and then mix well. I form it into a loaf with my hands and bake it in a 13 by 9 by 2 or a 9 inch square 350 degreees for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. I like it crunchy on the top. Oh I do salt and pepper it and put in either one small onion finely chopped or a tablespoon of dehydrated onion flakes.

  • centralcacyclist
    15 years ago

    My meatloaf tends to be loose, too. I don't use a recipe either and I suspect that the diced veggies are the culprit. I also add wine and it's a wet mix. Tastes good but has little structure until chilled.

  • dedtired
    15 years ago

    I'm with Joanne, I like an uncomplicated meatloaf. One and a half pounds of ground beef, one half (ish) cup of unseasoned bread crumbs, one T of dehydrated onion (or fine chopped fresh), one egg, some milk (not much), some salt. Squish together, form into a loaf and bake about an hour, maybe a little longer. Serve with a bottle of Heinz ketchup.

    I love a cold meatloaf sandwich.

  • lindac
    15 years ago

    The clue to a good meatloaf that holds together is fatty meat and lots of breadcrumbs and sautee the veggis you put into it in a little oil before you add them!
    You said "good" not healthy!
    Lean beef with raw onions tends to fall apart, adding pork makes it mor fatty...but also 85% lean beef is good too.
    For a good tasty meat loaf, make a :strong" broth using soup base at twice the better yet reduce your own broth....use that as the liquid in the meat loaf.
    My "no recipe" meat loaf goes sort of like this...sort of! LOL!
    1 1/2 pounds 85% lean meat....whatever sort you like.
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion sauteed in a tablespoon of olive oil until it loses it's crisp...add 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
    Acouple of tablespoons of dark german mustard
    a good dash of soy sauce
    1/2 to 2/3 cups of "strong broth"
    Enough dry finely ground bread crumbs to make it hold together...
    Pinch a bit off and microwave it to chesk for seasonings....and add salt and pepper as indicated....remember soy sauce and broth are salty.
    Form into a mound and place on foil on baking pan....bake at 375 for about 45 minutes until no longer pink.
    Use the foil to lift it out of the pan to drain any grease off.
    Linda C

  • wizardnm
    15 years ago

    Meatloaf is an old standard around here. Leftover meatloaf is my favorite sandwich.

    My usual...

    2 lbs ground beef (a meat loaf mix of ground beef and 1/3 ground pork and 1/3 ground veal is really good and sometimes I just through in the ground pork)

    I make mine in a KA mixer... first putting everything in the bowl EXCEPT the meat.

    1-2 C bread crumbs or torn bread (the more bread the firmer the finished loaf)

    Pour over the bread about half as much milk as bread (1/2 - 1C)

    2 eggs
    1 med onion finely chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp blk pepper
    1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
    1/2 tsp dried thyme (optional but I really think it adds flavor)
    2-3 Tbsp dried parsley (more if using fresh)

    Mix until well combined then add the ground meat in big handfuls...quickly. Don't over mix, as that can produce a meatloaf that is overly dense. Mix just enough to combine.
    Shape and place in pan(s).

    I have a 2 pc meatloaf pan and it works fine, if I use an additional pan, I do drain the grease a couple of times during the cooking.

    I like to top my meatloaf with a mixture of 1/4 C ketchup, 1/4 C brown sugar and about 1 Tbsp vinegar.

    Usually takes about 1 hr @ 350*, I temp for 160* with an instant read. Over cooked meatloaf is dry.

    I talked you through it as I don't use a recipe...I adjust ingredients for the amount of meat I am using.


  • shaun
    15 years ago

    The recipe on the back of the Lipton Onion Soup box is pretty basic and my guys seem to like it. I do add about 1/4 cup of La Mexicana Salsa, it's more like a pico de gallo than a dipping salsa, chunky tomatoe/onions etc. And I use plain ol white bread crumbs.

  • Bizzo
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    you guys are awesome, and quick!! And yes, Linda... I said Good... not good for me. I think I'll let him pick which one he wants me to try!!

  • mustangs81
    15 years ago

    Bizzo, I whined about that very thing about 6 months ago. I finally got it right but what I discovered along with the process of whining about my meatloaf was a glaze that I love!

  • gardengrl
    15 years ago

    One thing I found that helps when I make mine is I put the meatloaf on a broiler pan where the drippings can drip off into the pan below. I found this helps it crisp up and helps keep the fat content down.

    I know that by allowing the meatloaf to cook with it's own grease can actually steam it and make it fall apart afterwards. I used to use a typical, metal "loaf" pan, but don't any longer.

  • malna
    15 years ago

    DH makes a great meatloaf - it's just meat (at least 85%), eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, and he uses a small box (6 oz. I think) of Stove Top cornbread stuffing mix instead of bread cubes.

  • annie1971
    15 years ago

    I'm with shaun. My husband's favorite comes right off the Lipton Onion/Mushroom box. Except I often use salsa instead of catsup. But I'm going to try a couple of recipes from this thread. That grilled meat loaf with no tomato sauce intrigues me. Probably the best of both worlds for my hamburger/meatloaf loving hubby-dubby-do.

  • wizardnm
    15 years ago

    Annie....I love to hear you talking that way!!!!

  • annie1992
    15 years ago

    Nancy, wrong Annie! LOL I love Elery to pieces, as you well know, but I can't ever imagine calling him a "hubby-dubby-do".

    So, annie1971, it's nice to meet you. I'm annie1992!

    As for meatloaf, I still don't like it. Neither does my husband, but Ashley and Amanda just love the stuff. They especially like that glaze that Nancy puts on hers, nothing else will do now.


  • chase_gw
    15 years ago

    LOL !!! the Hubby dubby me too! I thought..... what the hell is that all about !?!?

    Welcome other Annie! By the way there is nothing wrong with "hubby dubby do" it's just not quite what we are used to from "old" Annie"..I'll watch the handle closer from now on ! LOL

  • wizardnm
    15 years ago

    roflmao guess I'd better watch closer!

  • annie1992
    15 years ago

    And speaking of nicknames, Chase, what the heck to you mean, the "old" Annie? ROFLMAO


  • dixiedog_2007
    15 years ago

    Mine is almost identical to Nancy's except that I use some tomato paste and some dried mustard added in to the topping sauce (along with what else she said).

  • canarybird01
    15 years ago

    Thanks Teresa for posting the recipe I've been using since 1963.
    It never falls apart because I bake it in a rectangular pan and cut it like a sheet cake. My family loves this recipe which I got from an American pro football player's wife when I worked for the coaching staff of The B.C. Lions Football Club in Vancouver. He said he preferred his wife's meatloaf to steak any day!
    It's been passed on since then to my daughters and grandkids.

    World's Best Meatloaf


  • dixiedog_2007
    15 years ago

    That looks super Sharon and I have seen this recipe posted many times with rave reviews. I need to give it a try. In all honesty I think the only reason why I haven't is because of the Campbells Tomato Soup on top. I've never been a fan of that but have only had it mixed with water to serve as soup. I've never used it straight from the can in place of tomato paste or ketchup which I am sure is the same but just "something" in my head from not liking it as "tomato soup." Does that make sense???!!! LOL!!!

  • annie1971
    15 years ago

    Sorry you all, I'm the really "old" Annie. Married in 1971. As soon as I pushed the send button, I knew the "hubbby-dubby-do" was a mistake, but too late to get it back!l When I recover -- I'm going to look at some of these other recipes. Thanks for the chuckles.

  • lindac
    15 years ago

    I shuddered over that meat loaf with the tomato soup....until I read Sharon's caveat that she uses roasted tomato puree...
    Yeah!! No Uckky tomato soup!
    Linda C.....and you know what that "C" stands for!!!

  • annie1992
    15 years ago

    Annie1971, I married in 1974 for the first time, I'm 53 now, so we're probably within a few years of each other.

    Still, I'm not "old", I've just been here for a very, very long time, LOL. I'm only annie1992 because I tried 1 and 2 and 3 and finally got disgusted and typed 1,992. There COULDN'T be that many Annies. Sure enough, there weren't. (grin)

    Now, that meatloaf. Amanda likes to cook hers in individual portions so it cooks faster and holds more of that glaze that Nancy posted. Grandma used to put some kind of gravy/white sauce on top of her meatloaf, anyone here remember anyone doing that?


  • annie1971
    15 years ago

    Nope, not even close, Old Annie. I will concede to your "Old Annie" status because I'm new to the forum, but I very much older (62 1/2 years). Hopefully, I won't inadvertently reveal hubby-dubby-do's nickname for me! From now on, I'm just Annie1971.

  • gbsim1
    15 years ago

    Whatever recipe you use, try this tip.... When working with raw meat (making HB patties, squishing together meatloaf etc) put on a pair of latex gloves first. I keep a box in the laundry room. When you're done, all you have to do is pull them off and voila.... no greasy hands and meat under your fingernails!

    As far as recipes go, I mostly just wing it and they're always pretty good, but I've discovered that the addition of milk does make it really moist and tender.

    I haven't been here very long, but even I was a little startled by Elery suddenly gettting such a cute nickname! Welcome New Annie! so if not Old Annie, then how about Original Annie??


  • dixiedog_2007
    15 years ago

    LindaC - LOL!!! I know what you mean. I needed to read Sharon's notes more closely!

    I don't think either of you Annie's are old. Too funny with the nickname and how this thread turned.:)

  • BeverlyAL
    15 years ago

    We're not big meatloaf fans but when I tried SharonCb's "World's Best Meatloaf" that I favored it over any I had ever eaten. I made three small changes. I used a little tomato sauce in place of the tomato soup. I cooked it on a rack in a pan where the juices would drip away. When it was nearly done I used this glaze from Cook's Illustrated which we really liked:
    1/4 cup ketchup
    1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
    1/4 tsp coriander
    1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
    1-1/2 Tbsp packed light brown sugar.

  • trsinc
    15 years ago

    ...*** Grandma used to put some kind of gravy/white sauce on top of her meatloaf, anyone here remember anyone doing that?***...

    Annie 1992 (lol) - I feel confusion coming soon- my mom used to always make these strange potatoes to go with meat loaf. She would peel and chunk them, boil them and reduce the water they were cooked in, add a flour slurry and some milk with salt and lots of pepper. They were kind of gross on their own but they made the meat loaf taste better. I'm not a meat loaf fan either, even though I've made it numerous times thinking there must be something wrong with me. I like meat balls and burgers and such... just not meat LOAF!

  • annie1992
    15 years ago

    trsinc, I don't remember whether that white stuff had potatoes in it or not, I just remember I didn't like it at all. I still can't eat meatloaf, I just don't like it.

    Grandma was a very good cook, but that white stuff on the meatloaf was too icky, it kind of makes me swallow hard even now, thinking about it.

    I tried a dozen different meatloaf recipes, thinking that I couldn't make a decent meatloaf. My girls always gobbled it up, though, and then I realized that I just didn't like meatloaf! (grin) I'm not so keen on meatballs or burgers either, though, I think it comes from working in a fast food joint all the way through high school...

    "Old" Annie

  • Bizzo
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I love this community!!! We talk meatloaf, we talk nicknames, we talk um, well, we "talk"... Thanks to both Annie's - 1992 and 1971 to adding to my delight with this thread.

    And a special thanks to everyone for all the recipes, hints, etc. and for Canarybird and Ann_T for the great pictures - you both can always be counted on to make my eyes tell my stomach it's time to cook!

    Tonight is the night for the meatloaf. I think it is so interesting how we have so many different variations of the "same thing." It's a bit like jazz arrangements of meatloaf... start with the melody and explore where it takes you. ok, sorry about that. Variations on a theme. I'll probably use some combo of all the recipes, but there are several I want to try "as written" which for me is not normal... but with the rave reviews for the football players meatloaf and nancy's glaze... wow! decisions!!

    And thanks for the giggles. I did the same thing and thought hubby-dubby-do was Elery, and wondered if Annie had gotten into the wine she doesn't like... DH occaisonally refers to me as honey-bunny-boo...among a lot of other "pet" names... so I think I need to borrow your hubby nickname, Annie1971, with your permission, of course! do I have it?

  • gardengrl
    15 years ago

    Too funny! I was caught off guard too. I thought, "Aw, that's sooooo sweet!"

    "Old" Annie, you know Elery will not live this down, don't you? He's got a new nickname. :-) LOL!

    Annie1971, nice to meet you!

  • chase_gw
    15 years ago

    We love meatloaf here , I try and make it at least once a month. This is the recipe I use and I fine hamburger with medium fat works best if using all beef. If using a pork / beef combo I use lean or extra lean.

    I've included several variations below we really like it stuffed with a traditional bread stuffing or stuffed with cheddar and caramelized onions....


    2 Slice day old bread Crust Removed And cut into cubes
    1/2 Cup milk
    1 Lb ground veal or beef
    1/2 Lb ground pork (or use all beef)
    2 eggs beaten
    1/4 Cup Chopped Onion
    3 garlic cloves crushed
    1/4 Cup parsley chopped
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    1 Tbl Worcestershire

    In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in the milk . Using your hands, break the bread into small pieces. Squeeze the excess milk from the bread. In a large bowl, combine the veal / beef , pork, eggs, bread, garlic, parsley,salt, and pepper.

    Form into a loaf. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour. NOTE: let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

    Variation, use half the meat to form bottom, press down with your hand to form a depression. Add sauted onions and grated cheddar cheese to the depression. Cover with rest of meat mixture ensuring totally sealed.

    Variation, as above but use traditional bread stuffing to fill.

    Variation ,add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan to the meatloaf
    cover with tomato sauce for last 30 minutes

    Really old Sharon

    Annie dear, you knew I was referring to your longevity on the forum didn't you ; )

  • ritaotay
    15 years ago

    When I make meatloaf it's just that, meat in the shape of a loaf... The little store down the street sells a meatloaf mix, 2/3 rds beef, 1/3 rd pork plus a couple slices of green, red or yellow sweet pepper... To that I add some dried onions, salt & pepper, a splash of water and form a tight loaf... When it starts to brown I squirt some ketchup on top.... That's it... Moist, never falls apart and I rarely have leftovers... When I grind my own meats I add a bit more water because I tend to remove all the fat I can...

    Oh, and I never use latex or rubber gloves, animal fat does wonders for dry hands... LOL


  • annie1971
    15 years ago

    bizzo: Be my guest. Keep in mind that my "DH" is used to it. Yours might be a bit startled the first time you use it on him!

  • ann_t
    15 years ago

    Sharon, I love the idea of stuffing the meatloaf with bread stuffing. I think that sage is a wonderful herb to season meat loaf with. So it would be the perfect match.


  • sheshebop
    15 years ago

    When I used to use higher fat content ground beef, my meatloaves held together. Now that I use 96/4, they fall apart all over the place. I just don't care. They are healthier, and the recipe I use we just absolutely love, so I would rather eat a blob of meatloaf crumbles that were a little healthier than the beautiful meatloaf that is too high in fat for us. Of course, I would never make my meatloaf for company, LOL. Unless they ate it blindfolded.

  • chase_gw
    15 years ago

    Ann, it is soooo good! My Mom used to make it for us it was also her that made stuffed spareribs. I know you love those so I am sure you would like the stuffed meatloaf.

    Sherry, I used to make my meatloaf with extra lean but added about 1/4 of olive oil to moisten. Worked well.

    I feel a meatloaf coming on! LOL

  • JoanM
    15 years ago

    I love RR's turkey stuffing meatloaf. You make your stuffing to taste and add it to the ground turkey with some eggs. It comes out to 50/50 stuffing to chopmeat. It's yummy with some turkey gravy. I also like the slices pan fried the next day. One day I'll have fancy grill marks like Ann T :->

  • Gina_W
    15 years ago

    I buy the Costco lean ground beef - I don't know how lean it is. Only know that when you work with it, your hands don't get covered in grease like regular ground beef.

    I don't use breadcrumbs in my meatloaf or meatballs. I prefer a meatier texture also. If you want a meatier texture, I would not add much wet ingredient. Just 1-2 eggs depending on how much beef. I add worcestershire, tomato paste and a lot of spices.

    Also, very important - don't handle the meat too much. The more you mix it, the less meat texture you'll get.

  • woodie
    15 years ago

    Hi Annie1971 - I'm another Annie who was married in 1971! I didn't stay married to that guy but I did make him a heart shaped meatloaf once upon a time!

    I have never met a meatloaf I didn't like, but I think my favorite just might be Canarybird's world's best! I double it and make it in a casserole dish, not in a "loaf" shape.

    Old Sharon, I like that :)

  • doucanoe
    15 years ago

    I have been making this one for years, I got it from a grocery store flyer back in the early 80's. It's good, but I am getting tried of the same old meatloaf and am going to try some of the recipes posted here.

    Upside Down Meatloaf

    1/2c brown sugar
    1/2c catsup
    1-1/2lb lean ground beef
    3/4c milk
    2 eggs, beaten
    1-1/2tsp salt
    1/4tsp pepper
    1 small onion, grated
    1c grated cheddar cheese
    1/4tsp ground ginger
    3/4c crushed cracker crumbs

    Press brown sugar in bottom of loaf pan, spread catsup over sugar. Mix all remaining ingredients in large bowl and shape into loaf. Place on top of sugar/catsup in pan. Bake one hour at 350F. Invert on platter and serve.

    Tim likes me to add a handful of grated cheddar to this meatloaf, too.


  • annie1971
    15 years ago

    Linda: you've been doing this for years and you're tired of it? It sounds like a new something to try for me! Thanks for sharing.

  • pkguy
    15 years ago

    Well I'm herewith gonna try Sharons Worlds Best Meatloaf. I've forwarded it to the printer upstairs and hopefully it will be delivered to me in a day or so. My printer down here is on the fritz.

  • lindac
    15 years ago

    I make variations on meatloaf....Italian meatloaf topped with tomato sauce about 10 minutes before being done and seasoned with oregano basil and garlic and ag emerous splash of red wine. Mexican meatlaof with part of a can of rotel in the mix.
    And company meatloaf...when i make the usual egg bread crumb ematloaf mix and pat it out like a jelly roll on a piece of foil, them make a spinach filling....squeeze very dry a package of chipped spinach....and chop through it again with a chef's knife. Sautee finely chopped mushrooms and onion in a fry pan...add the spinach...and whil warm add blue cheese....or parmesan and mix well.
    Spread on the meat, roll up using the foil as a helper and bake.
    Let cool about1 5 minutes before slicing....and I like to serve it with a sauce of chiopped canned tomatoes, seasones with a bit of onion and basil and cooked down a little.
    Makes a pretty dish....haven't done that in a while.
    There are all kinds of things you can put in the center of a meat loaf....asparagus for another....and I have seen but didn't like the looks of...hard boiled eggs in the middle....looked rather like an eye peeking out!
    Linda C

  • Bizzo
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I took pictures, but I can't find my adapter to post them... so you'll just have to take my word for it for now, BUT:

    I made Nancy (wizardnm's) meatloaf. No variations. Used my KA (which I rarely use).

    My husband LOVED it! He said "TWO THUMBS UP. Best Meatloaf ever!! Don't ever change this... "

    (the latter disappoints me as I want to try all the recipes posted, and still probably will, but...)

    Thanks to all who helped me. And especally Nancy for touching my DH's heart and stomach! I am no longer a Meatloaf Failure!!

  • coconut_nj
    15 years ago

    LOL. Excellent Bizzo. Congratulations. Well at least you now know what recipe you can now go to if the others don't work out.

  • riverrat1
    15 years ago

    Love this thread! I have gotten some really good ideas and recipes for meatloaf.

    Welcome Annie 1971. Thanks for the laughs!

  • jojoco
    15 years ago

    After the fact, but thought I would add that I make the lipton variety, but I double the soup amount and use two packages.
    Glad your new meatloaf worked so well for you, Bizzo.

  • mustangs81
    15 years ago

    I had family over for dinner tonight so I was taking a big chance on meatloaf since like Bizzo, I am a meatloaf failure.

    I studied this thread this morning to determine what has causing years of failure. Tonight I nailed it!

    Thanks everyone.

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