This Could Be Your Mama’s Meatloaf

Posted elsewhere on this blog is my incredibly talented, hugely creative middle daughter Tara’s wonderfully yummy meatloaf recipe, “Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf.”  (“Proof that meatloaf can be anything but ordinary and boring,” she says). You must check out her food blog, as she is an absolute creative genius, talented photographer, Chef de Cuisine Extraordinaire, and has been the inspiration for many of my recipes posted here, not to mention the creation of my food blog itself.  

After savoring her culinary masterpiece, it took me back to those great memories of my childhood where I was raised in southern Virginia. When I was still living at home growing up, there was hardly anything I liked better than when my Mom would make meatloaf, and to have leftover meatloaf in the fridge the next day.  A couple of slices on a sandwich with a little mustard, and I was in hog’s heaven! While my daughter’s recipe from her blog, The Butter Dish, is a simply flavorful epicurean delight, to be savored at dinnertime with perhaps a glass of red wine, (yes, she is classy beyond her ex-Marine Corps mentality Dad) meatloaf growing up for us was simply your basic survival rations.  As far as my two brothers and my sister were concerned, we had the 1950’s equivalent of  today’s MRE’s! (Military for “Meals, Ready to Eat) Meatloaf was a staple at our house, and we loved the way Mom made it.  At one point, I can remember my Dad grinding beef through one of those old hand-powered meat grinders clamped to the kitchen table – you know we took meatloaf serious back in those days!  

So, in some strange way of reasoning, I felt it appropriate that since I posted my daughter’s creation”Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf,”   I should also provide the alternative, “”This Could Be Your Mama’s Meatloaf.” (Hey, chances are your mom might have made something just like this…or maybe you make it for your kids….or grand kids…:)

 I called my mom recently and got the basic recipe from her.  At the age of 92 (she was born in 1924), she is still spry and independent, albeit admittedly not making so much meatloaf these days.  Well, anyway, although her memory is not what it used to be, here is what she told me, in all it’s abundant glory, the traditional, essential, basic meatloaf recipe that I grew up with, with just a few tweaks of my own.  As usual, I have taken her basic recipe, tweaked it, modified it, adjusted it, and finally adapted it to the kind of meatloaf recipe that I still love to make today.   Okay, it’s not exactly precisely per-zackitly the same as Mom used to make, but it definitely has all the foundational elements that make meatloaf…well, meatloaf, and any meatloaf aficionado worth their salt will just love this dish…heh…and probably ask for seconds!

Thanks, Mom! And Thanks Tara! Bon Appetit Ad Infinitum!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1+30
Serves 4-6

When the cast of characters is all present, the performance can begin!



1 lb ground beef
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced or 2 TBSP
2 TBSP green bell pepper, minced
2 TBSP minced dehydrated onions
1 TBSP parsley
1 TBSP dijon mustard
2 TBSP Worcester Sauce
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1- 14.5 can Hunt’s diced tomatoes with rosemary & oregano, drained, (juice reserved)
1/2 of an 8oz can Hunt’s tomato sauce with basil, garlic & oregano,(half (4oz) reserved)
1 cup Panko Lemon Pepper bread crumbs (or 6 saltine crackers, crushed)
1/3 cup ketchup
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, eggs, garlic, bell pepper, onions, parsley, dijon mustard, , thyme, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper.


Smush and work everything together (hands work best) until completely mixed.




Add  the can of drained tomatoes, half the tomato sauce and about half the bread crumbs or saltines.  You might not need the entire measure of bread crumbs depending on the consistency of the mixture.


Continue mixing with your hands and decide whether or not to use the remaining bread crumbs/saltines.  You want the consistency of the mixture to be moist and pliable, yet thick enough to be molded into a loaf shape.






When you are satisfied with the texture and consistency of the meat loaf mixture, mold it into a bread loaf shape and place into a standard size bread loaf pan. (Spray a bit of oil on the pan first) In the true tradition of “my Mama’s meatloaf,” it has to look like a loaf of bread and of course baked in a “loaf pan.”


Of course you can shape it any way you like, perhaps molding it into individual servings, or you can even use a muffin pan.






Add the ketchup to the drained canned tomato juice and the reserved tomato sauce, stir, and pour over the meat.








Bake for 1 hour


The tomato mixture on the top should be set and have a “baked” look.


The meatloaf overall should be nice and moist on the inside


This dish will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, and can also be frozen for re-heating for a later meal.  Once it has chilled thoroughly, it can be easily sliced for those wonderful leftover meatloaf sandwiches!


My Notes:  I typically use ground chuck for most of my recipes that call for ground beef.  You don’t want to use too lean a ground beef for this recipe, as you actually want a bit of fat content for flavor.  Any basic ground beef with a lean to fat ratio of 70/30 or 75/25 mixture will provide better flavor, plus it will ensure the meatloaf doesn’t come out too dry.  In keeping with the essential nature of this recipe, just use some ordinary market ground beef from your local grocery store.  Your dish will come out succulent, moist, and indescribably delish. And there’s those leftover sandwiches…oh, my!

Bon Appetit!



papafelipes2 - CopyWill



  1. I love how this perfectly bookends my meatloaf recipe. Thanks for the sweet compliments Dad. I’m humbled. My blog has been sadly neglected as of late with so much going on. Perhaps it’s time to get back to it as well.
    Will definitely try this recipe too Dad. I am a sucker for meatloaf.

    • Thanks Tara! I thought you would like this one. Hey, the “meatloaf hankerin'” is just part of my Southern heritage. Just have to whip up some every once in a while in order to stock the fridge with some good leftover fixin’s….

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