Let me start by saying this isn’t exactly the post I had thought it would be. It was going to be all about Hubby’s birthday supper. Over the years, we’ve had birthday parties with “fancy” foods and wonderful dinners out on the town to mark the day of Hubby’s birth. (For his 40th, we threw a big bash with a DJ and hired a top-notch caterer). Somewhere in all the hoopla, I always make his favorite meal – it’s been a birthday tradition for nearly 30 years – Meatloaf, Au Gratin Potatoes and Green Beans. I bring all this up for two reasons.
First, I am not a huge fan of meatloaf. I know there are some very complicated recipes out there with all sorts of wonderful ingredients – let’s face it – meatloaf has evolved. A few of the recipes have colorful presentations, especially those that include a few hard-boiled eggs in the center. However; Hubby likes his meatloaf very straight forward. He wants a big loaf of meat that he can happily bury in ketchup. It took a while for him to allow me to deviate even a little, to bring more flavor and texture to the basic meatloaf. The meatloaf I serve these days is a compromise of sorts. I don’t mind the simplicity of the meal, and he can cover it in a half a bottle of ketchup.
Second, much to my surprise, Hubby decided he didn’t want meatloaf this year. We were going to keep things simple this year. Just Hubby, Kiddo and I – an afternoon at the movies, then home for dinner and cake. This morning, as we do every Saturday morning, we did our weekly shopping trip. While at the meat counter, Hubby spied three of the most beautiful Porterhouse Steaks. Lately, it seems the steaks marked “Porterhouse” look more like a T-Bone. Now I know some people will argue that a T-Bone and a Porterhouse are the same steak, but I beg to differ. While both cuts give you a two-for-one section of steak – a Strip (as in New York Strip) and a tenderloin (as in Filet Mignon) separated by a bone, they do differ. A T-Bone is cut from the short loin, just after the tenderloin begins. The strip side is larger, with a little tenderloin thrown in for good measure (about an inch wide). A true Porterhouse is cut further back, with a tenderloin section that is nearly twice that of a typical T-Bone. These steaks were true Porterhouse – with a large helping of filet. If that weren’t reason enough to get excited, they were on sale! Sheepishly he asked if he could have a steak and baked potato this year for his birthday and skip the meatloaf altogether. Hey, it’s his birthday, so the planned menu went out the window. Which is fine by me – I adore a good grilled Porterhouse. Kiddo was just as thrilled. Porterhouse it is!
So what to do with the post I written earlier in the week? The only thing left to do was to take a few step-by-step photos and hit “publish”. Do I toss it? Nope – I say post it anyway.
Growing up, meatloaf made a regular appearance at our supper table. It was cheap to make, filing (especially if made with lots of “filler” like bread) and we all ate it – even my picky brother. Mom’s was a very basic meatloaf. Ground beef, chopped onions and tomato paste. Bread and an egg were thrown into the mix to stretch the meat and keep everything bound together. Typical of Good Housekeeping cooks of the time, Mom served her meatloaf with some sort of of potatoes on the side and a vegetable or more precisely – canned corn. (Remember, we grew up in a house with a very picky brother – corn was about as close as he ever got to a “vegetable”). If there was a meal I could do without once I was on my own, it was meatloaf.
Then one day I met the love of my life – my soul mate. As fate would have it, his all-time favorite food was meatloaf! And not just any meatloaf – his favorite could be found on a box of Lipton Onion Soup – aka Superior Meatloaf. Our first marital compromise – I’d make meatloaf, but only on his birthday. Each year, I would suggest a different meatloaf to try, and each year he would let me know he liked my meatloaf just the way it was – boring!!! Then one year, I changed it up just a little without discussing it first. I knew it was a gamble – the last thing I wanted to do was disappoint him. Turns out, he loved the change. So what’s the secret? Believe it or not, it was one very simple change. I made my old, tired recipe with a blend of ground beef and Jimmy Dean Regular Breakfast Sausage. The sausage added a nice flavor to the finished loaf, with a nice brown crust. (Recently, I was reading a cookbook on Filipino meatloaf and the author said what set Filipino meatloaf apart from American meatloaf was the use of ground pork. Who knew?) That was it – one little change to make a meatloaf that truly was “Superior”.
Meatloaf Medley American Style
1 Envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 Lb Ground Beef
1 Lb Jimmy Dean Regular Breakfast Sausage
4-5 Slices of bread, torn into small pieces
¾ cup Water
1/3 Cup Ketchup
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350-Degrees.
In a large bowl, place ground beef. Place all remaining ingredients, ending with sausage, on top of ground beef. Using your hands, combine all ingredients for meat loaf.
Lift from pan, place on a serving platter and garnish with a few sprigs of curly parsley. This dish goes well with Au Gratin Potatoes, and a helping of green vegetable such as green beans or broccoli.