As a rule, when I make dinner it’s usually something I have a hunger for, but there are those times when I just don’t feel all that hungry or inspired. So, I ask my husband, Jack, what he would like.
Now, of all the different meals I have prepared over the years, and I have cooked a myriad of meals, his response every single time is always the same … meatloaf.
A childhood favorite, meatloaf was one of those “special” meals his mother prepared, you know the ones I’m talking about, the kind of dishes we enjoyed growing up, that are our comfort foods today.
Unfortunately, I never thought to get her recipe (she passed away just a few short years after we were married), but I know each and every time I make this “special” meal for him, the meal with the taste that takes you home, he is thankful. I have tweaked the typical classic American meatloaf and rather than using a topping of tomato sauce (or ketchup), I’ve come up with a balsamic glaze.
To me, the best part of making meatloaf is the meatloaf sandwich the next day! Whether you put a thick slab between 2 slices of Wonder bread slathered with mayo or turn it into a meat-y panini, may you enjoy a comforting, soul-satisfying, in your happy-place kind-of meal.
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2/3 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
- 4 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- With a mortar and pestal (or a rolling pin) crush the fennel seeds.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, bread crumbs, onions, sage, fennel, salt and pepper.
- Add the ground beef, mix thoroughly (I use my hands).
- Place the meat mixture into an ovenproof baking dish, form into a loaf (8 x 4 x 2).
- Bake in a 350* oven, 50 minutes.
- To prepare the glaze, in a small bowl, add ketchup, brown sugar, dry mustard and balsamic vinegar, stir until smooth.
- After the meatloaf has cooked 50 minutes, remove from oven and spread with the balsamic glaze. Return the meatloaf to the oven, cook an additional 15 minutes.
Serve warm or turn into a panino. I paired the sandwich with shards of Asiago cheese and a few olives. A glass of wine or a cold beer would be a very “happy place ” indeed. (See my very expensive panini maker below).
Use your favorite bread, I used a ciabatta roll. Slice, brush the inside of both halves with olive oil and grill or broil (oiled side up) until golden brown. On one half put a slice or two of meatloaf, slices of cheese (provolone, fontina or mozzarella).
Place the other half on top, press down with brick (see below) or use a panini press if you have one. Remove the brick, place under broiler until the panino is a delicious shade of golden brown.
I have used this brick for years! I wrap it in a couple of sheets of aluminum foil, when I’m finished using it, I discard the outer layer of foil and voila, easy clean-up.