Meatloaf is one of those meals where no matter where I am or how old I get, I always feel like I am a kid living back at home. My sisters and I were recently teasing our mom that there were certain meals that always came with the same side dishes and the same traditions. Mom's meatloaf was always served with mashed potatoes and spinach, with a side of applesauce and cinnamon, prepared on Friday nights. (Mine would have been served with those same sides had I been able to spend more time in the kitchen making mashed potatoes-- it just doesn't taste the same with out them!) If we were really lucky, we got to eat on our Cabbage Patch TV trays while watching Dallas. Even as I write this, I hear the Dallas theme music in the background. . . scary, huh?
As much as I tease, I love that this meal has such comforting memories attached to it. I can only hope that one day my own children will be able to look back on the moments that we are creating now with as much appreciation and respect.
3 pounds ground chuck
3 large eggs
2 medium to large onions
1 small or 1/2 large green pepper
25 saltines, finely crushed
3/4 cup milk
barbeque sauce (I always use Sweet Baby Rays)
1 cup applesauce (optional)
Break apart ground chuck in a large mixing bowl. Place eggs into a food processor and add onions and green pepper (both quartered). Process eggs, onions, and green pepper until finely chopped. Add egg mixture to meat along with the crushed saltines, milk, BBQ sauce to taste, applesauce (if desired), and seasonings. Mix well and place meat mixture in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Form into an oblong loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes.
**Note: The meatloaf can be baked adding nothing or you can choose one of the following options: 1.) Brush top with BBQ sauce and also place sliced onion on top, or 2.) Mix one can of tomato or cream of mushroom soup with 1/3 cup of water and pour over meatloaf before baking.