Mother of All Meatloaves (aka Gonzales Meat Loaf)

Meatloaf  is classic southern comfort food, and when I discovered this recipe a few years ago, I have never looked at another. Hence, the mother of all meatloaves.  This is a favorite in our home.  Gathering around the table for a good home-cooked meal with the family is a perishing art form, sadly.  It doesn't have to be gourmet.  It just has to be done.  And to be done, it has to be planned.  Take some time, grab your favorite cookbook, search for simple recipes online, make a list, get to the store, simplify your schedule, and serve your family.  It will be the simple times around the dinner table and the aroma in the kitchen that your children will remember when they are grown, more than any expensive meal out. Cherish the miracle of ordinary days, as Emily is advised in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Our Town, when she is allowed to revisit one ordinary day from her past, "At least choose an unimportant day.  Choose the least important day in your life.  It will be important enough."

Gonzales Meat Loaf Recipe
Prep: 15 min., Bake: 1 hr., Stand: 10 min.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 pounds ground sirloin
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium-size red onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce (I use only one)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients. Shape into a 9- x 5-inch loaf, and place on a lightly greased wire rack in a baking pan.
Bake at 350° for 45 minutes; increase heat to 425°, and bake 15 more minutes or until done. Let meat loaf stand 10 minutes before serving.

Southern Living, OCTOBER 2004
(I have found that it is best to make it a longer and thinner loaf and bake at 375 for the first 45 minutes before increasing the heat to 425.)


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