Never Fail Meatloaf

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We’ve had a string a busy nights lately.  When life gets busy, there’s not much better than some comfort food.

My father is a minister.  He served as the Music Minister at First Baptist Church in Weslaco, Texas for many, many years. Growing up in the church, I got to know several of the ladies at FBC Weslaco.  I sat in their laps during Sunday night services, trick-or-treated at their houses, played cards with them at game nights, and ate their food at every Wednesday night supper or potluck. Those ladies can cook! They have the best recipes – recipes that aren’t complicated or fussy, they just taste really good.

This recipe has been adapted from one of those FBC ladies.  We’ve made a few tweaks, such as using poblano peppers, but the base recipe is true to form.  If you are curious about the original topping… it’s the soup. Easy, right?

Plan ahead – this one is ridiculously  simple to mix up but does take some time to bake.

What’s your favorite comfort food?  Where do you stand on the choice of toppings?


Never Fail Meatloaf

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 T worcestershire sauce
  • ½ c ketchup
  • ½ c milk
  • 1 c breadcrumbs, Panko or cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 sm diced onion
  • 1 poblano or bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

Topping – choice of:

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

-or-

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 6 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a baking dish.  You  can also use a loaf pan here, but then you get less crispy edges.  Who wants less crispy edges?!

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, salt, brown sugar, paprika, worcestershire, ketchup, milk, bread crumbs and milk.  You want to mix the ingredients into the ground beef until they are well incorporated but be careful not to overmix, making the meat tough and then end product brick-like.  Not fun.

Regarding the bread/Panko/cracker crumbs – use whatever you have on hand.  In this particular instance I used about a 2:1 ratio of Panko and plain breadcrumbs for a little added texture with the Panko.

Add in the onion, pepper and garlic and mix until just blended throughout the meat mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

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Pat the mixture into a loaf shape in the middle of your baking dish.

Decision time!

If you are looking for super quick and easy, top the loaf with the canned soup.  Done.

If you want to put forth just a touch more effort mix the ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard and worcestershire in a small bowl and spread that over the loaf.  Done again.

If you have two varying opinions about the topping of choice in your house, do both! Any guesses as to who prefers which topping?

Bake the loaf for 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.

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Easy enough for a busy week!


Full Recipe

Never Fail Meatloaf

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1 T worcestershire sauce
  • ½ c ketchup
  • ½ c milk
  • 1 c bread/Panko/cracker crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 sm diced onion
  • 1 poblano or bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

Topping – choice of:

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

-or-

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 6 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly grease a baking dish.

Mix all meatloaf ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.

Pat into loaf in baking dish.

Top with soup or ketchup mixture.

Bake for 1 ¼  – 1 ½ hours.

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