When it comes to comfort food, meat loaf is the perfect definition! It doesn't have to be fussy, but can take on some interesting twists with just a few embellishments. The key to good meat loaf is one that is moist and tender. Follow the basic recipe in our Step-by-Step Lessons to make our best meat loaf: Classic Meat Loaf with Pepper Jelly Glaze (as pictured above).
Health Check logoMarvellous meat loaf can be lean when made from Health CheckTM qualified lean or extra lean ground beef. Add finely shredded carrot and milk-soaked fresh bread crumbs to the meat loaf mix before cooking. These little secrets keep meat loaves moist and tender and also add a nutrient boost to the meal.
Start with 1½ lb (750 g) Canadian Lean or Extra Lean Ground Beef.
For discerning palates try flavourful Ground Sirloin, Ground Chuck or Ground Round. If you love Sirloin Steak, you're going to love Sirloin Meat Loaf!
Shred 1 EACH onion and carrot on a box grater. Mince 2 cloves garlic. Heat 2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat; cook vegetables for 5 minutes or until softened. Set aside.
Grating the onion (instead of chopping it) helps it cook through instead of staying raw-tasting and crunchy.
You can substitute shredded zucchini or fresh mushrooms for carrot if you like.
Seasoning & Mixing
Lightly beat 1 egg with a fork, stirring in 1 tbsp (15 mL) EACH Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp (2 mL) salt and ¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper. Gradually blend in ½ cup (125 mL) milk together. Pour over 2 slices of bread (finely chopped).
Mix together with 1½ lb (750 g) Canadian Lean or Extra Lean Ground Beef and onion mixture (don't overmix).
Mix very gently to avoid making tough dry meat loaf.
Bread crumbs, egg and milk enhance flavour and tenderness too.
Using fresh bread crumbs instead of dried makes meat loaf more moist and tender.
Form into a loaf shape (about 9 inches/23 cm long by 5 inches/12 cm wide) on foil or parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet or large oven-safe casserole. OR pack into foil-lined 9 x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan.
By cooking the loaf free-form on a baking sheet there is more nice crust formed than if baked in a loaf pan.
Lining baking sheet with foil or parchment makes clean up a snap.
Top with ⅓ cup (75 mL) Pepper Jelly Glaze (reserving the rest for serving with cooked loaf).
To make Glaze: Combine ½ cup (125 mL) hot or sweet pepper jelly, ¼ cup (50 mL) apple sauce (optional), 2 tbsp (30 mL) ketchup and 1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling, stirring once.
Cook in 350°F (180°C) oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until digital rapid-read thermometer inserted into centre reads at least 160°F (71°C).
If using a loaf pan to bake, using foil to lift meat loaf from pan, draining off any fat. Tent with foil for 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve with remaining Pepper Jelly Glaze.
You can use a oven-safe meat thermometer instead of a rapid-read if you want – insert oven-safe thermometer into centre of meat loaf before cooking.
Let meat loaf stand before slicing to let juices redistribute.
Makes 6 servings. Per Serving (Made with Extra Lean): 316 Calories, 27 g protein, 10 g fat, 29 g carbohydrate. Good source of iron (21% DV), excellent source of zinc (61% DV), 6 mg sodium.
Beyond basics: Mini Meat Loaves
Cut cooking time in half by making individual little meat loaves. Perfect for families with staggered schedules, you can serve them hot from the oven or wrap each cooled loaf individually and freeze them for future fast meals – they heat from frozen in minutes. Children love them!
Using the Classic Meat Loaf recipe in the Step-by-Step lesson, add in 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano and omit Pepper Jelly Glaze. Lightly spray 10 to 12 muffin or custard cups with cooking spray. Divide mixture among cups.
Make little indentations into the centre of each mini loaf with back of spoon.
Spoon in pizza sauce, barbecue sauce, steak sauce or salsa into indentations, dividing ½ cup (125 mL) sauce equally among mini loaves.
4 Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until digital rapid-read thermometer inserted into centre of a meat loaf registers 160°F (71°C). Let stand 10 minutes before serving.