When a recent request arrived for meatloaf recipes, it immediately carried me back to my teenage years and I reached for my 1950s cookbook. Meatloaf was meatloaf back then, my mother’s recipe never changed, and I never gave it a single thought as to why it should. When you grow up having a delicious meal every night at 5:30, meatloaf was just one of many good dinners that began with a salad made in a large bowl rubbed inside with a garlic clove by Daddy before the rest of the ingredients were tossed and drizzled with olive oil, vinegar and green herbs. The next three items to complete the meal were aesthetically arranged on each dinner plate, and because of Mother’s Hungarian background, dessert was served later as a grand finale.

Never having to do anything in the kitchen back then except wash and dry the dishes, I never gave thought to creating a meatloaf different than what we had enjoyed in the past. Years later, while learning how to cook in a simple yet creative manner away from home, I’d discover other ingredients to complement a pound of ground beef destined for a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

So, today will be the first of a two-part meatloaf column that began when two readers finished reading the morning paper and responded within seconds of each other with their own favorite meatloaf recipe.

Bev Rast made this for a friend allergic to dairy products claiming the finished product was a great surprise and the coconut milk made it “so delicious”.


1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 egg

1 cup whole coconut milk

1 cup Progresso garlic and herb bread crumbs

Sweet onion, chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2-3 tablespoons Bavarian style mustard

2⁄3 -1 cup ketchup

Combine ground beef, egg, coconut milk and bread crumbs. Form into a loaf and place in a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Place chopped onion on top. Mix together sugar, mustard, and ketchup and put on top of meatloaf. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours. This can also be made in an 8x8-inch square pan.

The second recipe that arrived seconds later was from Kristie Popp, Belmont, who discovered this from the Quick Cooking (now Simple and Delicious) magazine years ago that has become a family favorite. When considering what to make for a family dinner, her grandson, Connor, always says, “make a meatloaf and I’ll be there right away!”

Best-ever meatloaf

2 eggs

2⁄3 cup milk

1 slice of bread torn into pieces

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped carrots

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried basil, thyme, or sage, optional (sage preferred)

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 ½ pounds lean ground beef


½ cup tomato sauce (Popp uses ketchup)

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and bread, let stand a few minutes or until bread absorbs the liquid. Stir in onion, carrot, cheese, herbs, and seasonings. Add beef; mix well. In a shallow baking pan, shape beef mixture into a loaf. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Combine topping ingredients; spoon some over meat loaf. Bake for about 30 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink, occasionally spooning some of the remaining topping over the loaf. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.

Note: Leftovers make great sandwiches.

Mike Repas is a regular contributor who shared his favorite, a stuffed meatloaf.


1 ½ pounds ground beef

1 cup quick oatmeal, uncooked

1 ½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 egg, beaten

1⁄3 cup ketchup


1 ½ cups shredded raw potatoes

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup finely shredded carrot

1⁄3 cup frozen peas, rinsed to soften slightly

¼ cup melted butter, See: Note

Dash of salt and pepper

Combine meatloaf mixture and press half the mixture into a loaf pan. Put remainder aside for a moment. To prepare filling, saute potatoes, onion and carrot in butter until softened. Add salt and pepper, continue to saute for a minute or so, and add peas. Continue the saute for another minute or so. Drain off, but retain any excess butter, then spread filling over meat layer in the loaf pan. Now spread remaining meatloaf mixture over the filling. Gently press layers together then turn pan ingredients onto a wire rack placed in a rimmed baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with a salad or side of choice.

Note: As a flavor booster, add about ½ teaspoon bacon fat (preferably Applewood smoked) to the melting butter as proof that everything is better with bacon. You may use the retained excess butter in a glaze that would include ketchup, prepared or Dijon mustard and brown sugar blended well. Spread glaze over the meatloaf for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.

The next meatloaf is from a recipe in “James Beard’s American Cookery” that reader Jean Tews describes as being “very flexible” with her own addition of gravy that complements each serving.


2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground pork

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon thyme

½ cup dry breadcrumbs

1 crumbled bay leaf

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2-3 slices of bacon

Mix together all except bacon. Pack into loaf pan. Turn out into a baking pan. Cover top of loaf with bacon slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 ¼—1 ½ hours to reach 155 degrees temperature using a meat thermometer.

For the gravy, blend pan juices together, then stir in 1-2 cups beef bouillon, and about ¼ cup flour. Cook in microwave starting on high heat and stirring occasionally until it begins to boil. then continue cooking at 30 percent power for another 1-2 minutes. Tews uses either Penzey’s beef base or “Better than Bouillon”

Pat Krueger, Madison, has enjoyed making many of the recipes featured here in the past. Here is a favorite discovered in a 1986 newspaper. When an article appeared criticizing meatloaf, a reader from Texas submitted this recipe which he termed “The Almighty Meat Loaf,” and, she agrees.

The Almighty Meat Loaf

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 cup fine bread crumbs

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons tomato ketchup

1 small onion, chopped fine

1 small green pepper, chopped fine

1 crushed garlic clove

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Mix all ingredients together, shape into a loaf and place loaf in a baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake loaf for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cover loaf with a light coating of Dijon mustard. Return to oven for 20 minutes.

Meatloaf 101 will finish with a favorite recipe from Louise E. Brockman, Platteville, who has shared it with many people in the past. She describes it as being “quick, easy, and very tasty.” She also mentioned that once she was out of tomato sauce and used tomato soup instead and it turned out just fine.


1 cup dry bread crumbs

½ cup milk

8-ounce can of tomato sauce

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup chopped onion

1 ½ pounds hamburger

Combine all ingredients except hamburger. Mix well. Add hamburger and combine gently. Use a 9x13-inch pan that has been prepared with Pam or other type of coating. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Contact the Cooks’ Exchange in care of the Wisconsin State Journal, P.O. Box 8058, Madison, WI, 53708 or by email at greenbush4@aol.com.