Brenda Stanley
Belle’s Dang-Good Meatloaf.

“I make a really good meatloaf.” It just came out as I sat with my husband at dinner one night. It wasn’t an attempt to elicit a response. However, my husband’s lifted eyebrow and silence was enough for me to realize meatloaf may not be what qualifies for an exclamation of that intensity.

However, there is something about the homey and comforting taste of a perfectly glazed and tender meatloaf that has me coming back to this recipe time and time again. And what makes it even better is its versatility. I can make a large batch and then freeze several potions, making them an easy go-to dinner on a busy night. I also make meatballs and serve them with spaghetti or on toasted rolls for meatball sandwiches — all these great meals from one recipe.

But let’s get back to why I felt the need to express my meatloaf magnificence. There are few meals that are as traditional and American as meatloaf, and the right combination of ingredients makes all the difference. Just enough bread crumbs and eggs to keep the meat together, while remaining moist and tender.

I use fresh parsley, parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning to add a special touch. And when baking, try putting slices of bread in the bottom of the pan. It is a great way to soak up the grease and also makes a special treat for the dogs! Everyone wins.

But what really puts the “really” in my really-good meatloaf is my sweet and savory glaze. I bake it on during the last 20 minutes and then serve the rest as a sauce for dipping. With mashed potatoes and peas on the side, you’ll be tempted to make your own exclamation of greatness.

Belle’s Really Good Meatloaf

Glaze

1 cup of ketchup

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon yellow mustard

Mix together and store in fridge until ready to use.

Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef

3/4 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped (2 tablespoons dried)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 small onion, chopped

2 eggs

¼ cup of milk

½ teaspoon each salt and pepper

Mix together well and shape into a log. Place in a shallow baking dish lined on the bottom with bread slices. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and smother in half the glaze. Return to oven for 20 minutes or until middle is no longer pink. Serve with extra glaze for dipping.

Meatballs

After assembling ingredients, shape the mixture into two-inch balls and brown in fry pan. Remove and place on rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of

twins and a grandmother of two. She is a cookbook author and

novelist. Her website is at www.talesofthedinnerbelle.com.