I bought a lot of ground beef recently, and reflected on how far I've come since my first years of marriage: Sloppy Noodle Casserole, Chuckwagon, and Shepherds' Pie with (I'm ashamed to say it) Cream of Mushroom Soup. There are some pretty amazing things to be done with ground beef, including my annual Valentines' Day Heart Shaped Meatloaf, All American Burgers, Easy yet Awesome Sloppy Joes, and Skillet Shepherds' Pie.
First, my meatloaf recipe comes from a cookbook by friend of Pioneer Woman, Pam Anderson, titled The Best Recipe. She recommends a meatloaf mix of 50% ground chuck, 25% ground veal, and 25% ground pork. I'm too lazy and cheap to do that. I use a very gourmet mix of 80% lean ground beef and 93% lean ground beef. It probably doesn't matter how lean the beef is for this, because the fat drains out of a free form loaf anyway.
Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Ketchup Glaze
Brown Sugar-Ketchup Glaze
¼ cup ketchup or chili sauce
2 T light or dark brown sugar
2 t cider or white vinegar
2 t vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 large eggs
1 t dried thyme
1 t salt
½ t ground black pepper
2 t Dijon mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce
¼ t hot red pepper sauce
½ c milk, buttermilk, or low-fat plain yogurt
2 lbs. ground beef ( or ground pork, ground turkey, or any combination of)
2/3 c crushed saltines (about 16), or quick oatmeal or 1 1/3 c fresh bread crumbs
1/3 c minced fresh parsley leaves
6 oz bacon (8-9 slices)
1. Glaze: Mix all ingredients in a pyrex measuring cup and set aside.
2. Meat Loaf: Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until softened, about 5 min. Set aside.
3. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, pepper sauce and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with crackers (or oatmeal or bread crumbs), parsley and cooked onions and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended.
4. To bake free form: Cover a wire rack with foil; prick foil in several places with a fork. Place rack on a shallow roasting pan lined with foil for easy clean up. Set formed loaf on rack. Brush loaf with all of glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise over loaf, overlapping them slightly and tucking them under loaf to prevent curling. (This is where you can get super romantic and shape your meatloaf like a heart for Valentines' Day.)
5. Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160F, about 1 hour. Cool for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.