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Lately my husband has made a few requests for dinners.  This doesn’t happen too often and just when I think he’s going to request something new or interesting, he hits me with an old standby:  meat loaf.  Now, I’m a meatloaf fan myself but we still have some trouble talking our kids into enjoying it for dinner so we generally prepare ourselves for the moans and groans, as well as my favorite:  “…but I’ve tried it and I don’t like it.”  Oh well.

Certain things just work well in a meatloaf:  lean, ground beef, not too much filler, good seasoning and a traditional glaze on top with ketchup.  So here is a version I made earlier today to serve at tonight’s dinner.    And, as my husband left with my oldest to attend a Cub Scout meeting, he said:  “That was a good dinner.”  I guess those old standby’s will always have a place in my monthly rotation.

In this recipe I’m using portabello (or portabella, depending on marketing) which are basically crimini mushrooms that are all grown up.  Once they get to 4-6 inches (cap size) they get a new name:  portabello!  You can easily substitute cremini or any other mushroom for that matter into this recipe.  I already had baby portabellos on hand, so that’s what I used.  You can read a lot about  the various varieties at the Mushroom Council and find some great recipes as well.

Sliced and ready to serve.
Sliced and ready to serve.

Meat Loaf

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, minced (I mince it because of the kiddos but you can certainly do a dice or small chop)
1 cup portabello (or Baby Portabellas) mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt and fresh ground, black pepper
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 lbs lean, ground beef
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cup dry, plain bread crumbs (or fresh breadcrumbs made from day-old French bread)
1 1/2 cups ketchup, divided
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp light brown sugar
 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray baking sheet very lightly with oil. 
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  When hot, add onion and saute for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme.  Season with Kosher salt and black pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes.   Add minced garlic and stirring constantly, saute for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and stir in chopped parsley.  Remove vegetable mixture to medium mixing bowl to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, 3/4 cup ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and cooled vegetable mixture.  Mix with hands just until combined.  Do not overmix.
Place mixture onto center of prepared baking sheet creating a “loaf” shape.    There should be approximately 1-2 inches of space around the meat loaf from its edge to the edge of the baking sheet.  In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining ketchup with brown sugar.   Spread atop meat loaf and  place in center of oven.
Let finished meat loaf stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
6 servings