Meatloaf is one of my all time favorite foods! It is warm and comforting and you can mix a variety of different ingredients together, depending on what you have on hand, and still come out with a delicious dinner.
This is one of our favorite versions and my girls both love it, which is key when cooking for toddlers.
This is my first time actually writing up one of my recipes so bare with me. I tend to cook by feel, based on what I have available. So the following recipe and quantities can easily be modified to taste. I always save my bacon dripping to use in recipes like this but if you don’t have any on hand oil works just as well. Not a fan of thyme? Skip it! Don’t have spinach? Switch to kale or leave it out! A bottled BBQ sauce can easily be substituted for the one I make. My point is, have fun with it, and feel free to ask me any questions you can think of.
2 lbs ground pork
2 tbsp bacon grease (or cooking oil)
1 medium/small apple (grated or finely diced)
1 medium small onion (finely diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
½ cup spinach (chopped fine)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp mustard
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1.5-2 cups panko breadcrumbs (or 2cups fresh breadcrumbs)
½ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar (alternately ½ cup white sugar and tsp of molasses)
½ onion (finely chopped by hand or blended in a food processor)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp mustard (I use stone ground)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ground pork in a large mixing bowel. Heat a large skillet to medium and add the bacon grease. Sauté the onion 2-3 minutes then add the apple. Sauté them together another 3-4 minute until the onion begins to look translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Add the spinach and sauté until the greens are wilted. Add the thyme, mustard salt and pepper. Last splash the apple cider vinegar into the pan to loosen any bits that may have stuck to the bottom and bring all the ingredients together.
Mix the sautéed ingredients into the ground pork. You can use a spoon to do this but I find mixing it all together with my hands is the best way to make sure all the ingredients really meld together. Next, add you eggs and breadcrumbs, and mix again by hand. Your meat should still be moist but hold together well when pressed. Choose a medium-size baking dish and mold the meat into a long loaf in the pan. Place in the preheated oven for about 50minutes.
While your loaf is baking mix all your sauce ingredients together in a small sauce pan and heat until the ingredients combine and the sauce gets a smooth glossy look. If you do not like the texture of the onion in your sauce you can strain it through a wire strainer after heating but this is completely optional.
When the 50minutes are up, remove the loaf and cover with your sauce. Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes so the sauce can adhere to the loaf. Check the temperature in the center of the loaf to make sure it reaches 160degrees (pork chops and roasts are good at 145 degrees but ground pork should be taken to 160)
Slice and serve!
I hope this recipe works out for you all, I would love to hear any feedback you have!
Mother of 2 beautiful girls! Our growing family is the largest drive we have to build a life filled with good food and a connection to the land.