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~Kid's Stuff: Souper Fix-Quick Bowling-Night Meatloaf~

IMG_1340Bowling night.  When I was growing up, depending on what league my parents were in, bowling night was either a Tuesday or a Thursday.  They got my brother and I a babysitter, went out with their friends, and, on that night, we were allowed to stay up later than usual.  We ate either a TV dinner, or, my favorite, mom's bowling-night meatloaf dinner.  On the floor we two siblings sat, "Indian-style" (knees bent, ankles crossed) with one-foot-high TV trays in front of us (I had a Barbie tray, David had a Batman tray).  In front of the television we ate dinner while arguing over programs to watch on the thirteen-channel cable lineup.  Those were kinder, gentler times.

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like eating meatloaf...

IMG_1348This meatloaf was nothing fancy and it wasn't particularly pretty either, but, keeping things in perspective, it was made at home with love, as opposed to 'burgers and fries from a drive-thru.  It was, genuinely kid-friendly delicious, and, we particularly loved it served with macaroni and cheese.  As a matter of fact, the combination of this meatloaf served with macaroni and cheese, is (in a not-so-odd way) the carnivorous equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich served with a bowl of tomato soup.  It's a priceless blast from my past, which, I occasionally crave to this day.

My recollection of the origin of the meatloaf recipe I am posting today (my mom's rendition), is:  I believe it to be a combination of several.  The Campbell's Soup Company had their own, the Lipton Soup Company had their own, and, back in the 1960's newspaper columnist Ann Landers published her recipe, which was a combination of both companies -- she put the soup and the dry soup mix into hers, and, substituted meatloaf mix for ground beef.  Her recipe became so popular, she printed it in her column once a year.  My mother took Ann Landers' recipe and substituted saltine crackers for breadcrumbs and milk for water.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

... at home on the floor, sitting cross-legged in front of the TV.

IMG_12882 1/2  pounds meatloaf mix (a store-bought mixture of beef, pork & veal)

4  ounces Nabisco Premium Saltine Crackers (1 sleeve of crackers from a 1-pound box), crumbled by hand into small bits and pieces, not processed to crumbs.

1/2  cup milk

1  tablespoon Lee & Perrin's worcestershire sauce

1  10 3/4-ounce can Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup 

1  envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix

2  large eggs

no-stick cooking spray, for preparing loaf pans

IMG_1292 IMG_1292 IMG_1292 IMG_1292~Step 1.  Place the sleeve of crackers in a large bowl.  Using your hands, crush them into small bits and pieces.  Add the milk and worcestershire sauce, followed by the tomato soup and give the mixture a thorough stir.  Set aside about 5-10 minutes, to give the crackers time to soften.

IMG_1303 IMG_1303 IMG_1303 IMG_1303 IMG_1303~Step 2.  In the same measuring container the milk was measured in, use a fork to whisk the eggs, then add them to the bowl along with the contents from the onion soup packet.  Give the mixture a thorough stir. Add the meatloaf mix.  Using your hands (this is truly the best way to do this), thoroughly combine the meatloaf mix with the pasty cracker mixture.

IMG_1316 IMG_1316 IMG_1316~ Step 3.  Spray 2, 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2", 1 1/2-quart loaf pans*, with no-stick cooking spray.  Divide the meat mixture in half, form each half into a very rough loaf shape and place one in each pan.  If you have a kitchen scale, now is an ideal time to use it.  There will be approximately 3 pounds of meatloaf mixture.  Using a large rubber spatula or your fingertips, pat and press the meatloaf mixture flat into the pans.

*Note:  My grandmother and mother always baked meatloaf in clear glass dishes and so do I.  The advantage is being able to see exactly how fast and how well the loaves are browning.

IMG_1327 IMG_1327~ Step 4.  Bake meatloaves on center rack of 350° oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer placed in the the thickest part of the center reaches 168°-170º.  Loaves will be bubbling and juices will be running clear.  Remove from oven and place, in pans, on a wire rack to cool about 15 minutes.  Use a spatula to remove loaves from pans.  Slice and serve hot, or, warm or cool to room temperature and refrigerate.

Humble & homey, this meatloaf recipe, served w/mac & cheese...

IMG_1357... is as heartwarming as a grilled cheese w/tomato soup. 

IMG_1375Kid's Stuff: Souper Fix-Quick Bowling-Night Meatloaf:  Recipe yields, 2, 1 1/2-pound meatloaves.

Special Equipment List:  1-cup measuring container; fork; 2, 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2", 1 1/2-quart loaf pans, preferably glass; kitchen scale; large rubber spatula (optional); instant-read meat thermometer; wire cooling rack

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d27640d2970cCook's Note: Bowling night was bowling night.  Understandably, it was all about fixing a great-tasting kid-friendly meal in as little time as possible.  That said, my mom had a "special meatloaf" recipe too.  It was full of sautéed onions and celery, and was oh-so-moist and tender. ~ I Love My Mom's Old-Fashioned All-Beef Meatloaf ~.  Humble and homey, great-tasting, comfort food.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


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