Gus' Italian Meatloaf

I've got another guest post from Gus today! According to the kids (and him), he's the meatloaf master. I'm okay with that because I don't like to make (or eat) meatloaf. So here's his award-winning (at least in our house) meatloaf - take it away, honey!!


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I’ve never been a great cook nor did I ever really like to cook all that much. However, in recent years, I’ve come to enjoy cooking and I can actually make meals that folks can eat without gagging or dying as a result of eating it. I’m full-blooded Italian and my dearly departed grandmothers (Annie and Rosa) were great cooks. You know the kind - never had a recipe written down and they never measured any ingredients. They just “threw it in there” and everything came out tasting great.  Among other things, Grandma Annie was known for her “home-style pot cooking”, ravioli, lemon-meringue pie, and Christmas cookies. To her credit, my wonderful wife tries to duplicate Grandma Annie’s Christmas cookies, but to no avail. Sorry honey, maybe when you’re a Grandma you’ll be able to nail it down. Grandma Rosa’s specialties were pasta, lemon cake, and something that she made only on Christmas Eve known as a “turcenegli” in Italian (which loosely translates to “sugar-coated-doughnut-type-thing” and isn't pronounced anything like it looks).  So, I’ve experimented with different dishes over time and have become a halfway decent cook.

One of my favorites (and the kids') is meatloaf. My dear wife is less than thrilled with meatloaf (no matter how good it is). I don’t blame her since most folks groan when they hear meatloaf. I mean, come on, meat LOAF??? Doesn’t even sound appetizing. But, if you make it right, it can please the palate.

I start with LEAN beef – I usually use ground sirloin and some other cut of beef. You can also add some ground pork if you want (NO turkey), but be sure to use at least 50% -75% beef. I always go to a butcher shop to get the meat – the stuff at your local supermarket just doesn’t cut it (too much fat and gristle even when it says 90% lean). So spend a few extra bucks to get the good stuff from a reputable butcher – you’ll be glad you did because it makes a real difference in the taste.

Gus' Italian Meatloaf 

1 lb. lean ground sirloin
1 lb lean ground round or chuck, or ½ lb of one of these and then ½ lb of ground pork
2 eggs
2 tsp. French’s yellow mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 c. spaghetti sauce (I use Larosa's sauce which is a local brand favorite in the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky area, but you can use any sauce of your choice – one of the national brands like Barilla, Newman’s, Prego, Ragu or your own homemade sauce).

Beat the eggs first and then combine them, the meat, and bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Mix the mustard, Worcestershire, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and spaghetti sauce in a separate bowl, and then mix it into the meat. Be sure not to over mix it or the meatloaf will turn out tough and chewy.   Just gently combine everything so you can easily form it into a loaf for cooking. I bake mine in a large baking dish that leaves space all around the meatloaf.

meatloaf prepped for the oven

Bake it at 375 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes (cooking times will vary). When there is about 20 minutes left to cook, spread a layer of spaghetti sauce over the top of the meatloaf and continue to cook for the remaining time. Serve it up with some baked potatoes, veggies, and salad and you have a nice meal. Some people say it just sounds like a big meatball in meatloaf form, but who doesn’t like meatballs, right?

sliced meatloaf on a plate

And there you have it - Gus' famous meatloaf! I know Gus would love it if you'd try it and then come back to let him know how you liked it!

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