Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf

notyourmamasmeatloaf1“…Proof that meatloaf can be anything but ordinary and boring.  I love this recipe and prefer to make individual portion sizes for three reasons. One because nobody argues over who has the biggest slice. Two, because meatloaf really can be beautiful and three because they make perfect lunches on the go for hubby. The kicker to this is the sauce and it’s topped with melted smoked cheddar and bacon. I also cook crumbled bacon into the meat which I completely recommend…”…Chef: Tara Conklin…from The Butter

Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Beef
Serves: Varies


  • ½ cup Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 lbs Lean ground beef
  • 1½ cups Fresh bread crumbs, ground in a food processor or finely chopped.
  • ½ Green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Molasses (brown sugar works fine too)
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup Evaporated milk, divided (heavy cream or half& half work too).
  • ½ cup Smoked cheddar, grated
  • ½ lb Bacon
  • Parsley for garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat butter in a medium skillet and add bell pepper and onion. Cook until softened, 5 minutes or so.
  3. Using same skillet, cook bacon until fat renders or firm. Remove and set aside to cool.
  4. Add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, molasses, spices, mustard, Worcestershire, ¼ cup of the milk & ½ of the glaze.
  7. Chop cooled bacon coarsely.
  8. In a larger bowl, add beef, ¾ bacon, bread crumbs & onion mixture and mix gently until combined.
  9. Add egg mixture and mix. Add extra milk as needed.
  10. Transfer meat to prepared pan(s) (see notes below).
  11. Bake until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. (55 minutes for a single loaf)
  12. Brush remaining glaze in two or three increments. At last glaze, top with cheese and bacon and let cook remaining 5 minutes.
  13. Transfer to plate and serve.


Pan options and cooking times:
Loaf pan – 60-70 minutes
Free form on cookie sheet – 60-70 minutes
Small or large muffin tins – 30-40 minutes
Forming rings – 30-45 minutes (depending on size of the ring. If using forming rings or free form.Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Top with a tightly woven cooling sheet or wire rack. Line wire rack with tin foil and poke generous holes to allow fat to drain.
For forming rings: ¾ way through cooking, use tongs to slide rings off. They should come off easily and this allows the sides to brown up and the glaze to drizzle down the sides. If you do not have forming rings, shape the meat in a nice circular form using a biscuit cutter. They hold their shape really well in the oven.
Recipe courtesy: Tara Conklin (The Butter Dish), who by the way just happens to be my daughter, who apparently has seriously inherited her mother’s culinary abilities.  Visit her blog for some of the best recipes on the planet, stunning photography, a lot of humor, and the occasional dash of philosophy! 

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