Meatloaf is one of the top comfort foods in the United States. Who can forget when former advice columnist Ann Landers gave out her personal meatloaf recipe in 1984 (after being begged by a fan), and it quickly became world-famous? Even Martha Stewart has dubbed this dish the "quintessential comfort food."
Why is it so popular? Meatloaf is a hearty yet inexpensive dish that you can stretch with fillers like bread crumbs and modify to suit any palate. And it's a cinch to make, too. All you need are three main ingredients: a meat, a filler and a liquid. Typically the meat involved is ground beef, although some cooks use ground pork, turkey, ham or veal. The filler can be anything from bread crumbs or instant oatmeal to crackers or corn flakes. For the liquid, a lot of people choose tomato sauce, but you could use milk or yogurt instead.
Take your three ingredients, add an egg, onion and some seasonings (such as garlic, parsley, oregano or Worcestershire sauce) mix them together and put the mixture in a loaf pan. Then top it all off with some bacon strips and maybe ketchup or cheese, bake for 45 to 60 minutes, and voilà: meatloaf.
You can liven up this humble palate-pleaser with whatever strikes your fancy, from jalapeño peppers to chutney. And its leftovers make for great sandwiches, too.