As far as comfort food goes, meatloaf is way up there on my list. My most recent loaf turned out really yummy, so here goes:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet. I like to use a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with pan spray. I find this technique helps with clean up.
I started with two pounds of the leanest (96%) ground beef available.
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 sliced colossal green olives (optional, but super nice)
2 cloves crushed garlic (Optional, but you're a fool if you skip it.)
3 Tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons thyme
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of mint
Mix all of this together very thoroughly in a large bowl along with your two pounds of ground beef.
Form into a large loaf and place in the center of your prepared cookie sheet.
Using an additional 3-4 Tablespoons ketchup, glaze the top and sides of the loaf. You can use a pastry brush if you've got one, or a large soup spoon works pretty well.
Slip the loaf into your preheated oven and bake for 1 hr and 15 min or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 145 degrees.
A nice accompaniment is gratin potatoes. I like to use Yukon golds, which I slice into 1/4" coins.
Butter any large baking dish with tall sides and layer potatoes on the bottom. Lightly salt and pepper the potatoes and sprinkle some minced onion and grated cheese on top. Apply a second layer of potatoes and repeat the salt, pepper, onion and cheese. Repeat this process until all the potatoes are gone. Finish with cheese on top. Beat three eggs in a large bowl and add approximately 2/3 cup of heavy cream or whole milk. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes. I believe I used a two-pound bag 'o taters in this recipe, half a minced onion and about 2/3 cup of cheese.
(This illustrates and intermediate stage in potato gratin construction.)
If you've done this after you put your meatloaf in the oven, you should be able to bake the potatoes for 45 minutes and the loaf and taters should both come out of the oven at about the same time. You'll know the potatoes are done when you can stick a sharp knife into the center of the dish and it will slide through with only the slightest resistance.
This was our dinner last Friday, when Dr. Snickerdoodle knocked me on my ass with whiskey.
We had avocado/tomato salad with our dinner, but if you really want to go for middle American comfort food I recommend steamed broccoli and/or asparagus and carrots.
Just like Mom used to make. Except my Mom hardly ever made it because my brother lives in pathological fear of meatloaf.
It's a long story.