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Chef's Hat: Add a bit of kick to traditional meatloaf

The first recipe I tried needed a bit of amending and ended up being a cross between my old standby and a "spicy" meatloaf. It originally called for sriracha hot chili sauce, which I did not have on hand. So I replaced it with hot sauce and it ended up having a nice spicy flavor without being overpowering or extremely hot.

Meatloaf has always been one of my favorite dishes. It is an old standby and one of those recipes where the leftovers tend to be better than when the first dish pops out of the oven.

I have a tried-and-true recipe that I have used for many, many years. Recently I received several meatloaf recipes in my email and decided it was time to get out of my rut.

The first recipe I tried needed a bit of amending and ended up being a cross between my old standby and a "spicy" meatloaf. It originally called for sriracha hot chili sauce, which I did not have on hand. So I replaced it with hot sauce and it ended up having a nice spicy flavor without being overpowering or extremely hot.

Another twist to the traditional meatloaf is a Southwestern Style Meatloaf. This is a great dish if you want variety, but not heat, in your meatloaf. The original recipe called for 2 pounds of lean ground beef. I substituted half of the ground beef for ground pork and it created a very tasteful dish.

Years ago I found the secret to a lighter, juicier meatloaf was substituting part of the beef for ground pork or ground turkey. My normal ratio is half ground beef to half ground pork. Another option is to use one-third turkey, one-third pork and one-third beef.

I have also found that using a very lean ground beef does not give the texture and juiciness that I prefer in my meatloaf. This might appear odd as the grease is drained off of the meatloaf; but while cooking, that extra fat does add quite a bit of flavor to the dish.

So no matter if your family favors a bit of spice or a southwestern flavor, there are great ways to add interest to that plain, everyday meatloaf. Enjoy a little twist on an old favorite and Happy Eating!

Meatloaf with Spicy Ketchup

Spicy Ketchup Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce (or hot sauce, such as Frank's hot sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce

Meatloaf:

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons barbeque sauce (spicy or hot if you want more of a kick)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons jarred garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup finely chopped Vidalia onion (or sweet onion if Vidalias are not in season)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork (or ground turkey)
  • ½ cup bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the spicy sauce: Add the ketchup, vinegar, hot chili sauce (or hot sauce) and barbeque sauce in a small bowl and stir. Take out ½ cup of the sauce to be used in the meatloaf.

For the meatloaf: In a large bowl, whisk together the Worcestershire sauce, barbeque sauce, egg, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and Italian seasoning. Mix well. Add the onions and the ½ cup of the set-aside sauce. Mix well.

Add the ground beef and pork (or turkey); combine well. Add the bread crumbs. Place in a 9- by 5-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and pour off any grease from the meatloaf. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the meatloaf. Return to the oven and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Southwest Meatloaf

Adapted from beefitswhatsfordinner.com

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup finely chopped onion (sweet onions work the best)
  • ½ cup frozen corn (thawed)
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon jarred garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup salsa (mild, medium or hot)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except salsa, in a large bowl. Mix lightly, making sure all ingredients are well combined.

Place beef mixture into 10- by 4-inch loaf pan. Bake one hour. Pour off any grease that has accumulated on the top. Return to the oven and cook another 15 to 30 minutes, until the top is slightly browned. The internal temperature of the meatloaf should be 160 degrees. If additional grease has accumulated on top, drain and if necessary blot any remaining grease off with paper towels.

Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into slices and top each slice with salsa.

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