Italian Meat Loaves

My amazing friend, Betsy, brought these little meat loaves to us after the birth of our son.  We have made them often since then, and I always appreciate the yummy meal as well as the sweet memory of my thoughtful friend.

By the way, that son Betsy helped us celebrate is making this recipe for supper tonight.  He’s (gasp!) fourteen now and will eat more than his share of these tasty meatloaves with multiple helpings of the peas and mashed potatoes he’s making to accompany them.  I asked him if he wanted to make the loaves in heart shapes for Valentine’s Day; he declined.

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c. cracker crumbs
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. finely-chopped onion
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 t. salt
1 t. Italian seasoning
2 lbs. ground beef, pork or turkey (or a combination)
1/4 c. ketchup or barbecue sauce

In large bowl, combine eggs, crumbs, milk, cheese, onion, Worcestershire, garlic, salt and Italian seasoning.  Add ground meat and mix well.

Shape into 10 mini loaves; place on rack in a shallow pan.  (A broiler pan works great!)

Drizzle ketchup or barbecue sauce over mini loaves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-55 minutes, or until no pink remains.

These little guys freeze beautifully both before and after baking.


Italian Mini Meat Loaves

My sweet friend, Betsy, brought these little meat loaves to our family after one of our babies were born. With it, she brought a mashed potato casserole and an applesauce gelatin dish that fed us for three meals. I certainly felt spoiled!

We often make a triple batch of these mini meat loaves in order to share some with a friend or to put some in the freezer for another time. I like that they bake more quickly than a big meat loaf, and I can change the sauce on top to suit different tastes. Betsy initially made these with ground pork, but I usually use ground beef just because it’s what I have on-hand. I have shared the recipe many times, and I know people who use a mixture of beef and pork, ground venison or even pork sausage. Quite frankly, they’re pretty hard to mess up and that’s a good thing!

2 eggs, beaten
¾ c. cracker or bread crumbs
½ c. milk
½ c. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c. finely chopped onion (I usually use more.)
1 t. Worcestershire sauce (I usually use more of this, too.)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 lbs. ground pork (or whatever)
¼ c. ketchup

In large bowl, combine eggs, crumbs, milk, Parmesan cheese, onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and Italian seasoning. Add meat and mix well.

Shape into 10 individual loaves; place on rack in a large, greased, shallow pan (or on broiler pan).

Spread ketchup over loaves.

Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until no pink remains.

You can freeze them before baking (which is what I usually do) and then thaw and bake accordingly.  I freeze them on a cookie sheet (see below) overnight and then divide them up into meal-sized portions and put in freezer bags before putting them back in the freezer until I need them.

meat loaves for the freezer

You can also freeze them after baking and just re-heat when needed.