A Tale of Two Meatloafs

So I decided to give Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen: 100 Of My Favourite Easy Recipes another shot and make another of his recipes. Even though I wasn't a big fan of his Coconut Crusted Chicken it did taste better leftover. The flavors blended and relaxed a bit, and the coconut no longer had that burnt taste, which made it more enjoyable. Anyway, so this meatloaf recipe looked good, and I'm a big fan of meatloaf, so I thought I'd give it a shot.


Let me preface this post by first stating that I made a couple of changes and mistakes with this recipe. First, the mistakes: I forgot to pick up Parmesan cheese at the grocery store. Not that I would have bought Parmigiano-Reggiano anyway at $20 a pound. I did chop up some mozzerella, though, in an attempt to at least get some cheesy texture if not the flavor richness that Parm would have brought. My other mistake was using some dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and not knowing they had to be rehydrated (haha, that's what makes me a kitchen noob!). Also, they had been in the cupboard for quite some time, so I think that even though they had slightly rehydrated during the baking process they were past the point of ever being acceptible.

The change I made to the recipe was the onions, garlic, and olives. Onions don't agree with me or Jen, so I just skipped that step altogether. And as far as the garlic, 8 cloves is A LOT. Just perusing the recipe I thought that the meatloaf was going to turn out salty and bitter, so I cut the amount of garlic in half. Also, I'm just not a fan of Kalamata olives. I do like black olives, so I used those instead.

Also, instead of breadcrumbs lately I've been crushing up saltine crackers. Have you seen what's in breadcrumbs? I know Nabisco Premium Saltines aren't much better. There's one more for the Trader Joe's list along with bagels.

This meatloaf turned out just okay, not great, I couldn't even say good. Maybe 5 out of 10? I realize with my substitutions and mistakes I changed the essence of the recipe, but considering the changes I made I don't think this recipe was to my taste anyway. Perhaps Chef Michael Smith's recipes are outside of my dietary scope. His recipes (and food photos) do look good, but most of them I've skipped over because they're laden with ingredients that don't fit within my own tastes. If you'd like to try this meatloaf (perhaps it appeals to you!) here is the recipe:

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michael Smith's Kitchen: 100 of My Favorite Easy Recipes.

2 T olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
8 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
1/2 C tomato paste
1-1/2 lbs ground chuck
2 C bread crumbs
1/2 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C Kalamata olives
1/2 C Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
1 T dried oregano
1 tsp hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a small baking sheet.
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then toss in the onions and garlic. Saute them until theu're golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the tomato paste. Add the ground beef, bread crumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, Parmesan, parsley, orgeano, hot sauce, and the sauteed onions. Stir and blend with your hands until everything is thoroughly mixed. Transfer to the baking sheet and shape into a thick loaf.

Bake about an hour or until internal temperature reaches 160.

One thing Chef Michael Smith's recipe did do was inspire me to make an attempt at a meatloaf that me and my family would enjoy! I based this on my own meatball recipe, so essentially it's like a giant meatball.

Right here, at about the halfway point in baking, I should have left it alone and let it finish baking, but I thought I'd get cute and cover it in sauce. My idea stems from a family recipe of Jen's where you cook meatballs and sausage in sauce all day and it makes them tender and flavorful. I thought I'd give this loaf a little tenderness, moistness, and a little flavor by covering it in sauce for the second half of its baking.

Also, I notice many meatloaf recipe at some kind of tomato to the recipe. Most of the time it's ketchup. In Chef Michael's case it was tomato paste, which I thought was a more elegant approach to an Italian-style dish. To me, ketchup (or tomato) is essential to a meatloaf, but it cannot be baked into the meatloaf or the sugars in it turn bitter. I've seen it done where someone pokes holes into the top of  the meatloaf using the handle of a wooden spoon and then "injects" ketchup into the holes when there's about 10 minutes left in the baking process. This usually works out well.

I decided to go with an all-over smothering of marinara. It doesn't burn because of the water content and lack of sugar, but I found that this really didn't do anything positive to the meatloaf. If anything, if you look at the almost finished baked meatloaf pic about you'll see I had this awesome breadcrumb/Parmesan crust thing happening, and the sauce caused that to go soggy. I think that little crunch would have been good. So, perhaps save the sauce for a serving or dipping condiment.

Anyway, here's the final plate. Enjoy!



Recipe courtesy of The Kitchen Noob

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
1-1/2 lbs ground chuck
2 C bread crumbs
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, grated
1 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil a small baking sheet.


Meanwhile, lightly whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the basil, oregano, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Add the ground beef and bread crumbs. Stir and blend with your hands until everything is thoroughly mixed. Transfer to the baking sheet and shape into a thick loaf.

Bake about an hour or until internal temperature reaches 160.

Top with your favorite spaghetti sauce or marinara. This same recipe makes awesome meatballs btw, just roll the mix into balls and fry in a pan ( you could also bake them).

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