Mom’s Meatloaf

Ground Beef

Ground Beef

by Cat, Sept 2007 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Swedish/Danish Meatballs (Köttbullar/Frikadeller) with Sour Cream Sauce; 2. Italian Meatballs (Polpette); 3. Lacto-Fermented Tomato Catsup (Ketchup); 4. Sherry-Mushroom Gravy

Other meatloaf recipes I’d like to try (see links in reference section): 1. Meatloaf with Fresh Scallions and Herbs: Tarragon, Thyme, Parsley, Garlic (2); 2. Italian Meatloaf with Marinara Sauce (3)

My Mom was a great cook, but she usually left that task to my Dad, when she took over management of our bar after Dad retired. Near the top of the list of my favorite ‘Mom’ recipes are Swedish (or Danish) Meatballs, and Meat Loaf. When I was first on my own, this was a dish I could afford to make on my limited budget, because one meat loaf would last for at least 4 meals.

Mom’s Meatloaf

Mom used ground beef and ground pork, but I like to use ground buffalo, venison or lamb instead of beef, with ground pork or turkey. You can make it with all ground beef, but I really think it has better flavor if you use part ground pork or turkey. You can also add veal, but please, don’t use commercial veal, as the calves are kept in tiny boxes in which they cannot move, and lie in their own filth. Instead, buy your veal from a local rancher/farmer you trust.

Mom used torn up stale bread and just soaked it in milk until the liquid was absorbed, about 15 minutes. But I like to use rolled oats soaked in a milk/yogurt mixture overnight, to make the oats’ minerals available for absorption, and to start the breakdown of the avenin (a gluten relative found in oats). If you don’t plan to soak the oats overnight, use only 1/2 cup milk.

When I have it on hand, I like to use homemade Lacto-Fermented Tomato Catsup (Ketchup) instead of commercial ketchup which, these days,  is sweetened with HFCS, a healthful dietary no-no.


  • Add shredded veggies such as carrot and celery; or sliced mushrooms to the mix.
  • Use the spice mix for Swedish Meatballs (¼ tsp each ground allspice and nutmeg per 1 ½ – 2 lb. ground meat), instead of mustard and sage. In this case, skip the catsup.
  • Wrap or cover the loaf with strips of bacon before baking, then glaze with a ketchup and brown sugar sauce (I would use molasses or maple syrup); see The Pioneer Woman blog (4) for sample recipe.

You may wish to serve leftover meatloaf with a tasty gravy, such as Sherry-Mushroom Gravy for this purpose.

Serves 4 – 6.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 pound ground beef/venison
  • ½ pound ground pork/turkey
  • 3 slices stale bread, torn; or ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup milk (or 1 Tbsp yogurt plus milk to equal 1 cup, if soaking overnight)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced & pressed
  • 1 tsp Unrefined sea salt, divided
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • ½ cup homemade Catsup (Ketchup)
  • 2 medium bowls
  • 13″ x 9″ x 2″ bread loaf pan


  1. Soak bread or oatmeal in milk until most of the milk is absorbed; or soak oatmeal overnight in yogurt/milk mixture to improve the nutritional quality.
  2. Chop onion; mince garlic, sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and press to a paste with the side of a knife blade.
  3. Beat egg with a fork, and then add milk mixture.  Add remaining salt, pepper, mustard and sage; also Worcestershire sauce, if using.
  4. Put the meat in a large bowl.  Add the onion and pressed garlic, and milk/egg mixture.  Mix well with hands. it might be a bit of a soft mixture, but don’t worry, it will be just right after baking.
  5. Press into loaf pan, making a shallow trench the length of the top. Fill trench with catsup.
  6. Bake in preheated 3500 F oven until done for 1 – 1 ¼ hour. Remove from oven, then turn loaf out of the pan.


  1. Anne Haug (my Mom)
  2. Fine recipe: Meatloaf with Fresh Scallions and Herbs (Tarragon, Thyme, Parsley, Garlic)
  3. Food recipe: Italian Meatloaf with Marinara Sauce
  4. Pioneer recipe: My Favorite Meatloaf

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