This is the recipe that started our journey through the Western Dubuque Marching Band Cook Book. Sometime before Thanksgiving of this year, I had been craving meat loaf, as is not unusual for me once the weather starts to chill. The problem was, I had never made meatloaf before. And I had never actually seen anyone make meatloaf before, other than on TV. Growing up, the closest thing I had ever gotten to homemade meatloaf was the meatloaf sandwich at Boston Market, which used to be called Boston Chicken, if you recall. Today, the nearest Boston Market, as far as I know, is out in Brookfield or maybe LaGrange. Either way, much too far to be a viable option.
I recalled Sarah having spoken highly of her father’s meatloaf. So we called him. He had made it many times and probably would have been able to recite the ingredients by memory, but in an abundance of caution, he directed us to a recipe from the Western Dubuque Marching Band Cook Book. Therein, there are multiple recipes for meat loaf. There’s Main Street Meat Loaf, Kay’s Meat Loaf, Easy Cheesy Meat Loaf, and two different recipes each entitled, Meat Loaf. We made Kay’s Meat Loaf. According to the book, the recipe was submitted by Eileen Schmitt.
- 2 lbs hamburger
- 1.5 – 2 C rolled cracker crumbs
- 0.5 C chopped onion
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 0.25 tsp pepper
- 1.5 tsp sage or poultry seasoning
- 0.5 C catsup
The instructions are brief, which presumably is how this recipe was chosen amongst the several that are contained within the book. In total, they are, “Combine all ingredients. Form into a loaf and put in a loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.”
We made some minor modifications – in technique mostly.
I like the crispy parts of the meatloaf, so we decided to use mini loaf pans rather than one large one. We had gotten these as a wedding gift. It only took us three years to use them. Also, I like it when the ketchup caramelizes on the top of the meatloaf, so after about 30 minutes of baking, I started painting the tops with ketchup every couple of minutes. Finally, I love ketchup, so I was likely a little heavy handed with the ketchup in the meatloaf mix. But if I was, it was completely subliminal.
Other modifications we made were that we skipped the salt to keep the overall salt content down and because there would already be cracker crumbs in the recipe. Also, we didn’t add the 1.5 t sage or poultry seasoning. I do not own sage. And I don’t use poultry seasoning; it’s mostly salt. I may have added ground garlic powder instead.
The meatloaf turned out quite nice. I was surprised. The meat was very moist, and the ketchup glaze was nice and tangy. There was quite a bit of grease in the bottom of the pans, so I drained it by grabbing the loaf pan with an oven mit, holding the meat inside with a wooden spoon, and dumping it over the sink. The dog was disappointed that I didn’t have worse aim on this manuever.
Having made this recipe over a month ago, I no longer recall what we served with this meal. But I do recall that having made the meat loaves in the mini loaf pans created the perfect sized slices to go with the baguettes that I have been baking. At first, I thought I would be able to eat leftovers for a good three or four lunches. But this meat loaf recipe was so tasty that I don’t think it lasted nearly as long as I had expected.
If I were to guess, I would suppose that this recipe would serve 4 to 5 people, depending on how many of them were children.
If anyone knows the Eileen Schmitt who submitted this recipe, I would like to speak with her. And ask her who Kay is.