Let's talk about comfort food. Everybody has those foods that they reach for when they're cold, tired, lonely, sad, or when they just want to feel warm and satisfied. Comfort foods are often things you ate as a kid, smells and tastes that bring you back to a time when you felt safe and happy. I love comfort foods, and I have many of them: macaroni and cheese, pot pies, risotto, and my favorite - pasta with a big pot of sauce, aka an Italian Feast.
For Andrew, meatloaf is a favorite comfort food. When I'm planning my weekly menu, I always ask if he's in the mood for anything special, and he almost always replies, "I'll eat whatever you want to make me." While I appreciate this flexibility, sometimes I need ideas! So when I asked last week, expecting the standard reply, I was happy (though not surprised!) to hear "Meatloaf sounds really good."
Now, let me put this out there: I have not always liked meatloaf. As a kid, it was the meal I would sit at the dinner table toying with, refusing to even eat a bite. I can recall sitting at the table until bedtime once - over meatloaf. Why the change of heart? Since I've started cooking for myself, I've begun trying some of my once-hated foods, and I've discovered something interesting: if I make it myself, I invariably will eat it. Hence, my consumption of meatloaf, my childhood nemesis.
1/2 lb. each ground veal, beef, and pork (my grocery store sells this "meatloaf mix" packaged together)
1/3 c. breadcrumbs
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
red pepper flakes
Dump everything into a bowl - I don't really measure the spices, but I'd say it's maybe 8 shakes of Worcestershire, 1 tsp. of red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tbsp. of Italian seasoning. You may want to add salt and pepper as well. Mix it up with your hands! If you'd like to test your seasoning, you can fry a small patty in a pan on the stovetop to taste it.
Move the mixture into a loaf pan and pat it down.
Bake in a 350 degree oven 30-45 minutes. Depending on the height of your loaf, it may be more or less, so keep an eye on it. You don't want to dry it out, and remember it will continue cooking for several minutes after you take it out of the oven.