I wish Meatloaf had a better name. It sounds stodgy and inelegant. But then, meatloaf didn't start out as elegant fare. Meatloaf was popularized in America during the depression, because it could be made with ingredients readily available: meat made from ground scraps and tough cuts, canned evaporated milk, ketchup, eggs, and stale bread or oatmeal as a binder. One ingredient in meatloaves of the time that might surprise you was veal. Veal was actually a budget meat, and cheaper than regular beef! Meatloaf was a good way to stretch meat and still serve a hearty and tasty meal at time time when the household food budget was very, very tight.
Meatloaf remained as a dowdy workhorse of an entree for decades. Then the "comfort food" movement of the 90's took off and meatloaf began to appear in gourmet reincarnations at upscale restaurants all over the country, and still remains a retro-chic menu item. The 1770's House in the Hamptons serves a meatloaf favored by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. The Buckhead Diner here in the Atlanta area serves and upscale Veal and Wild Mushroom Meatloaf with Mushroom Demi-Glace for a mere $19 a plate! I think our grandmothers who made it through the Depression serving the humble meatloaf would find that amusing.
My husband adores meatloaf. He likes it piping hot with a side of fluffy mashed potatoes. But I think he likes it even better the next day in a sandwich for lunch- sliced thin and piled on sourdough bread with a smear of whole grain mustard. I always make a big meatloaf so we have enough to keep him in sandwiches for a few days.
I used to assemble quite a lot of ingredients for my meatloaf. I'd start with ground beef and pork, then dice up celery and onions, mince fresh parsley, and add bread crumbs and various seasonings. One day when I had meatloaf on the menu, I was in a hurry, and out of celery to boot. Then it hit me, I had a box of instant stuffing mix in the pantry that had many of the ingredients I needed: bread, celery, onion, herbs, and seasoning. That's how I developed my 5 Ingredient Meatloaf.
6 oz box of stuffing mix (I used Savory Herb flavor)
1 cup milk
2 pounds meatloaf mix (a blend of pork, veal, and beef) or ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce, divided
Combine the stuffing mix and milk in a large mixing bowl and let stand for 5 minutes until bread cubes are softened. Beat the stuffing mixture to break up the bread a bit. Add ground meat, eggs, and half of the Worcestershire Sauce. Mix meatloaf until fully combined, but do not over mix it. Shape meatloaf mix into a loaf shape on a large cookie sheet. I score the meatloaf in a diamond pattern with a sharp knife, just for looks. Brush the remaining tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce over the meatloaf. Bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes to an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes after you've removed it from the oven before you slice it.
If you are partial to meatloaf topped with Ketchup, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of Ketchup to the Worcestershire Cause and spread it liberally on top of the meatloaf before baking.