Paradise by the kitchen light


‘Meatloaf again. Or maybe chili this time.’

It’s my darned fault it’s been so chilly here in the Northeast. Not only did I stow my chili (speaking of ‘chilly’) pot away, but I put my meatloaf pans in mothballs. Figuratively, that is. It’s sort of like what happened last week when I took our big fat comforter to the cleaners. It snowed.

But back to the kitchen. When the weather’s cold, there’s nothing we Henrys like better than a big ole batch of Anything Made With Ground Meat. Of course, my Oldest Younger Brother Scott, being a Californian, scorns chili made with ground meat. But the rest of us slurp it up like gangbusters. (I’m featuring a photo of a large pot of a late great batch right there at the top of this post.)

When I was growing up, my Mom made chili a lot. Her recipe for chili was the same as her recipe for spaghetti sauce — except that the chili had beans.

She’d start with onions. (Everything she made started with onions. She once told me she didn’t feel ‘right’ unless she had a whole bag of yellow onions in her kitchen. She felt the same way about potatoes. Oh, and bananas. There were always bananas in varying degrees of ripeness, even decomposition. The black ones were used for banana bread. Which, naturally, was the exception to the everything-starting-with-onions rule. But I digress.)

My Gramma Henry and my Uncle Mike. Looks like they’re enjoying some banana bread. Or maybe that’s a homemade pickle — could go either way

Anyway, she started with onions, chopped and sautéed. Then came some chopped green pepper. Then a can or two of tomatoes. If she added oregano, it was spaghetti sauce. If she added chili powder and beans, it was chili. Either way, it did not go unappreciated. Or uneaten.

Gosh, Roger. Not sure! That looks like scrambled eggs that Aunt M is whipping up. But what I’m chomping into? That’s a Peterson Kitchen, so it’s anybody’s guess. Maybe one of Gramma P’s rolls?

My chili is a tad more complex, if not Authentically Southwestern, or even Californian. It’s not a secret, but I’m keeping the recipe to myself for now. Because this story is about Meatloaf, for which I am going to give you my recipe. (Meatloaf the food, not Meatloaf The Singer of ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’, which I’m only mentioning because some of you, like The Dude, may not have heard of him and won’t ‘get’ my titular pun.)

So here you go: LutheranLiar’s Mom’s Meatloaf

Here’s what you’ll need to make ‘my’ meatloaf. Minus the meat. Raw ground meat looks pretty icky in a photo, so use your imagination

I highly recommend making meatloaf, and making it often. Not that many people do, at least not in the Younger Generation, or in my (ahem) ‘circle’. So it’s rather a treat. And if you serve it to anyone Not From Here, why, it’s downright exotic. I once ‘dinner-partied’ some meatloaf when a Frenchwoman was a guest. She’s still raving about it — and that was at least ten years ago.

Here’s the meatloaf, ready for the oven. All mixed up, that raw meat doesn’t look too icky. I hope

Oh — before I forget. When you make meatloaf — or chili for that matter — it’s a great idea to make an extra one (or for chili, a double batch) so you can stow it away in the freezer for a rainy (or chilly, er ‘chili’) day. Trust me, there’s been many a time I’ve been too rushed (or too lazy) to cook dinner, and I’ve just thawed us out a meatcicle of some sort.

Meatloaf — again. This was last week’s. Yup, there was already a chunk missing before I could ‘capture’ it with my iPhone

So anyway. It’s still cold, it’s still March, and I’m still mad about meatloaf. And chili. And, basically, anything you can throw together with some ground meat. Even The Dude’s Mother’s Pepperless Stuffed Peppers taste pretty darned good when it’s nippy out.

Champagne livens up any occasion. Even an Anniversary Staycation Dinner

And everything tastes good with champagne. Which reminds me. It’s The Dude’s and my wedding anniversary this weekend. I think I’ll get that big ole pot out of storage and whip up a batch of the Duchess of Devonshire’s Beef Bourguignon. Or maybe I’ll just thaw out a chilisicle.

New York City. March 2018



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28 thoughts on “Paradise by the kitchen light

  1. I don’t know many people who admit they love meatloaf. But to me, there’s nothing better than a cold meatloaf sandwich on whole wheat bread with ketchup. I’ve always wanted to make a meatloaf. Maybe now I’ll actually get off my rear and try it. Loved your blog. I found it through Fatty Cupcakes. I’m a new follower and fellow meat-loafer.

    • Well, hello there. And welcome! Fatty McCupcakes is one of my Humor Heroes. So glad she could ‘introduce’ us. And that I could introduce you to my meatloaf recipe (actually, it’s my mom’s). I hope it’s not too hot where you are to give it a try. (Spring has not yet sprung here in the Northeast; one can still crank up one’s oven in comfort) Now you’ve made me hungry for a meatloaf sandwich! Thanks for the serving suggestion — and the nice words!

  2. Yes! Like you I’ve come to a point in life when meatloaf is a treat. I haven’t made one in ages and now I feel inspired to do so. Fun post, thanks for the idea.

    • Mike Howorko

      Dear LL,
      A lovely read, Alice. How do you do it? I have been working on this reply for over an hour now, eliminating all the digressions you have inspired and finally here is my pared down reply:
      Thank you. I’ve got to copy the recipes. Ha , as if i don’t have enough recipes already. I will die before making even 1% but am an acquisitive sort.
      I make a pretty good meatloaf myself, and am always open to modifications/improvements. Eileen’s is even better. Mine are typically one-of-a-kind-take-a-chance-never-the-same-twice as a dearly departed friend from church once said about his culinary creations . God rest his soul wherever it may be.
      Yes indeed, Champagne is the perfect complement. TJs Champagne works for me. I buy that or get it at at Joe’s brother’s company, ALDI for a lot less than Veuve. I popped open a bottle yesterday to celebrate the Wolverine’s moving on from final Four to the Final Two in the college hoops play offs and found it to be quite delightful.
      It exhibited all the characteristics of a true champagne that it is: A nice straw yellow color, a good proliferation of small bubbles a semi dry biscuit nose, and some very pleasant tasting notes I have no idea how to describe except to say there was no slate or chalk involved.
      So, thank you again for more recipes. Eileen hauled my thrift store crock pot down from the shelf a couple of days ago to make some collard greens w ham bone but it looks like I will be getting it down from the shelf again.
      Ohhh, and it appears that your basic multi purpose sauce might also be good to apply to baked enchiladas. And yes, I see the meat loaf is double sauced as it was meant to be.

      • Yum! And thank you, dear Michael. I’m so glad you devoured the story as well as the recipes. Sounds like you make a pretty darned good meatloaf yourself (double-saucing is absolutely key). Your description of a good champagne makes me want to have some right this very minute! (But we had a nice bottle of Dom P last night — it was a gift; 2006 vintage; very nice indeed!) I really do appreciate a good comment; thank you for taking the time to compose such a special one. Happy Easter and keep on reading!

  3. Unbound Roots

    Gosh, I’ve loved meatloaf forever. And, I love it even more since it’s easy to make gluten-free for those of us who are blessed with Celiac. Anyway, your sweet mother’s meatloaf looks delicious. I’m going to give it a try next time the craving hits, which won’t be too long. Thanks for the recipe, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!??

    • I knew I liked you, O Kindred Spirit! What’s not to like about an Anniversary-Wisher, much less a Meatloaf Lover! Glad this recipe will work gluten-freely for you (and I didn’t even think of that!) ?

  4. Ruth Meisenheimer

    Now I don’t know whether to thaw chili or meatloaf for tonight after a rainy afternoon playing bridge? I now add quite a bit of finely chopped kale to my meatloaf .. Painless way for Harold to enjoy something green. Of course, my sister said it was good, but what is that green stuff in it? I’ll also toast ? Your anniversary! ❤️

    • Decisions decisions! With both chili AND meatloaf in a thawable state, I’d be sooo torn! I love the idea of chopping up the kale and ‘hiding’ it in meatloaf. Too bad your sister ‘busted’ you, Ruth. And she seemed like such a nice girl (!) Oh! Thanks for the anniversary wishes. We have some bubbly on ice right this very minute!

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