Don't Let Your Meatloaf Loaf

Have you ever made a special dish for someone because you knew they absolutely adored it? Like making their favorite spaghetti sauce from scratch, laborious homemade lasagna, double-dipped fried chicken, you name it? You make it specially for them hoping they gobble it up and rave on and on about how spectacular it is.

But when you serve it to them, they eat it and say it's good and that's it. Obviously, you didn't wow them like you had hoped, so you go back to the drawing board and continue searching for that recipe that meets their expectations of what they remember being the "best" whatever they ever had.

Well, that's the story with me and meatloaf. Meatloaf was my nemesis for a long time. It's one of David's favorite foods and it took me years to finally get it right. Actually, it took me 14 years to be exact, but who's counting? I must have made dozens of different recipes.

Does that make me crazy or just a determined person who never gives up? Either way, that perseverance has been a most helpful trait in many situations throughout my life. Even with something as simple as finding the exact meatloaf recipe that makes my husband swoon.

David prefers a simple meatloaf with no vegetables in it and he absolutely loves it smothered in brown gravy. Three years ago, almost to the date, I did it! I hit the nail on the head. Bulls eye. Whatever. I made this meatloaf and he was thrilled, oohed and ahhed, raved, ate leftovers and praised my indefatigable efforts. See my own notes you can see, I was so proud of myself!
But that was the only time he's had it. I've never made this wonderful meatloaf since then. Oh well.

Frigid temperatures are headed our way and, if you can believe it, meatloaf has been a topic of discussion, so I've decided it's time to make it again. With high temps in San Antonio this week in the mid-30's, I figure meatloaf will warm David's belly and his heart.

Buen provecho!
Meatloaf with Brown Mushroom Gravy
The Cowgirl Gourmet ( has no idea where I got this recipe, so I cannot credit anyone for it. If it's your recipe, please know we love it and thank you for sharing! We're spreading the love...

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I searched for 14 years to find the right meatloaf recipe. And this is it! This is David's favorite meatloaf. No veggies, no tomato sauce, just meat and a few other innocuous ingredients, topped with a brown mushroom gravy. Though no meatloaf is complete without potatoes and a vegetable.

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, we buy grass-fed beef at Whole Foods
1 farm fresh egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup bread crumbs*
Mushroom gravy (recipe follows), brown gravy or tomato sauce

In a large mixing bowl combine the beef and egg.

Add the milk, mixing thoroughly.

Meat, egg and milk
Meat, egg and milk
after thoroughly combined
Add the salt, pepper and breadcrumbs and stir to combine.
In a lightly oiled casserole or glass Pyrex dish, form into the shape of a loaf.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until the meat is brown and the inside is cooked.

Turn on the broiler for the last five minutes so the top crisps up nicely, but watch it carefully so it doesn't burn.

Serve with mushroom gravy, brown gravy or tomato sauce.

Homemade breadcrumbs: If you have a chunk or a few pieces of stale, old bread, you can toast it up and toss it in the food processor to make your own breadcrumbs.

Mushroom Gravy
The Cowgirl Gourmet

1 cup assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour, all-purpose or rice flour
1 cup beef stock, low sodium (about 8 oz.)
1/3 cup red wine
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat and add 1 Tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and stir to coat. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir thoroughly. Allow to saute about 5 minutes or until they are softened, stirring often.

Place a sauce pan over medium-high heat and add 2 Tablespoons butter. When the butter is melted, sprinkle in the flour and stir. Lower the heat to medium and continue stirring until the butter-flour mixture begins to turn golden. This should take about 3-4 minutes.

Add the beef broth and stir well so the flour mixture melds into the broth. Add the red wine and continue to stir well. Allow to cook until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't stick to the bottom. If it ever begins to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer.

When the alcohol has evaporated and the sauce is thickened nicely, liberally add black pepper and the mushrooms. Stir well and taste for flavor--adding more salt and/or pepper if desired.

Spoon generously over meatloaf and serve with potatoes of your choice and a green vegetable.
Meatloaf with mushroom gravy, skillet potatoes
and lightly wilted spinach


Faith442 said…
This looks sooo good! I love a good meatloaf, but I have not tried to make one in a long time. this one is very tempting!
Heather said…
It's such a simple and easy recipe. I hope you love it as much as my husband does! Of course, I'd love to hear about it when you make it.
Anonymous said…
This is the way my mom always made meatloaf. She HATED the kind with cheap ketchup. We always used canned mushroom gravy and added minced onions to the loaf.

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