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It's not your mother's meatloaf

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck

Something happened last Friday that has never happened in all the years Tom and I have been a couple.
As he was readying for work, I asked him what he wanted for dinner that night.
Usually he asks me what his options are, but this time without pause he answered.
“Meatloaf….or sloppy joes.”
After I got over the initial shock, I filed the info away, went to work and forgot about it.
But as the time approached for me to leave that afternoon, the thought of cooking dinner came back.
Now, I am not a meatloaf fan.
I can eat it twice a year, if I have to, but truth is, I’d rather not.
And I didn’t want sloppy joes.
I mentioned this to Chris and before you can say, “Bring on the ketchup”, he was online reading the names of assorted meatloaf recipes.
Finally, he named one that grabbed my attention.
Long story short, I looked it up, scanned the ingredients and became completely intrigued by what I read.
“This is it,” I told Chris. “Tom will get his meatloaf.”
A quick trip to the grocery provided the two ingredients I didn’t have on hand and I set off to make it.
By 4 p.m. the experiment was on and by 7 p.m. we were sitting down to dinner.
I, the lesser adventuresome of the two, took the first bite and waited for Tom’s verdict.
If I hadn’t asked, I would still be waiting as he was shoveling in meatloaf and mashed potatoes to beat the band. I had my verdict. The experiment was a success.
The recipes I share with readers are all fairly easy to make and do not require major cooking skills. That’s why the column is called Real Food for Real People. We are not all chefs but we all have to eat.
The only warning I offer with this recipe is don’t bother if you are a vegetarian, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a heart condition.
And Tom, be careful what you ask for–you will get it in some form or the other.

Bacon Chili Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1 (12 ounce) package center-cut smoked bacon, diced
1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia®), chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds ground sirloin
4 ounces shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs

1 serving cooking spray
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper

Directions
Cook and stir bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until bacon is translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes; stir in onion and continue cooking and stirring until bacon is browned and sweet onion is translucent, about 5 more minutes.
Mix 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, cumin, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Mix in ground sirloin, bacon-onion mixture, Cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, eggs, and bread crumbs until thoroughly combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.
Place loaf into the prepared baking dish. Mix 1/2 cup ketchup, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile in a bowl. Spread the mixture over the loaf.
Bake in the preheated oven until the loaf is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear, 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. An instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf should read at least 160 degrees.