Before my husband and I started dating, we were very good friends. Good friends who spent a lot of time together and shared a lot of meals. (This also happens to be the start of my favorite love story).
I remember one night standing in my tiny apartment kitchen, likely cooking up a delicious meal of plain canned green beans and packaged yellow rice, when Jeff made a pronouncement about his future wife-to-be, a purely abstract lady at the time.
His pronouncement led me to laugh in his face over his ignorant bachelor speeches.
According to Jeff, before he married anyone, she would be
required encouraged to take cooking lessons from his mother.
Now, I had never met his mother. But I did find a good bit of humor picturing him informing his fiancé that he had signed her up for “Mrs. Burns’ Culinary Cooking Camp”, or better put, “Lessons on How Jeff Expects to Keep Eating Once He’s Wed.”
And I told him so much. Gently, (can you be gentle while laughing?), informing him that his fiancé may not appreciate his request to be just like his mom.
Years later, this story still makes me laugh. Though now that we are married, I do have a greater understanding of what motivated his prenuptial desire– his mom is a great cook.
One of the meals Jeff made for us during our college days was his mom’s meatloaf. The recipe was scribbled down on a scrap sheet of paper and contained no measurements.
Jeff’s mom cooks from intuition and a clairvoyant understanding of what a dish needs. If you ask her how to make something, there’s no guarantee it’ll be the same the second time because her descriptions usually come down to “a pinch of this”, “throw in some of that”, or “I didn’t have this, so I used this instead”.
Actually, this is almost exactly how I cook now too. I suppose Jeff got his wish after all.
served with perfect baked brown rice & steamed (frozen) green beans
Meatloaf, as a rule, isn’t a fancy dish. It generally isn’t all that pretty to look at either.
But, humble though it may be, meatloaf is tasty, healthy, and easy. Which makes it a great meal for simple weeknight dinners at home.
My whole family enjoys this meatloaf, and when paired with quick sides, it comes together quickly and is eaten without complaint (a trait just as important as the rest).
Easy Weeknight Meatloaf
- 1 – 1 1/4 lb ground beef
- 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 C shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use your clean hands to mix everything together until it is well incorporated and no streaks remain.
3. Form the mixture into a “loaf” and place in a glass bread pan. Press the loaf towards the middle so there is about an inch or room on each end for the grease to drain.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center is cooked through.
5. Serve with additional parmesan cheese or (my husband’s preferred way) with ketchup.
TO COOK IN INSTANT POT ::
Place meatloaf in a pan or make a sling from foil. Pour a cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot, set in the trivet, and place the meatloaf on the trivet. Cook for 25 minutes on high pressure. Quick release the pressure. (Optional: Place the meatloaf under the broiler to crisp the top for a few minutes before serving).