In our house there was almost a war over whether or not meatloaf should be baked by itself or with vegetables. My husband grew up eating meatloaf that was form fitted to the pan and cooked independently. I grew up eating meatloaf that was centered in a pan and surrounded by vegetables. I went ahead and started cooking it both ways to see which we preferred now. I will tell you we still cook it using both methods. When you shape it to the pan it seems to stay a bit more moist (especially since we don't top ours with ketchup like many people do). When we form a loaf and center it in the pan it is often cooked with vegetables around it and it causes a bit more of a "crust" on the meat. Whichever method you use this recipe works wonderfully! It also freezes really well (check out the Recipe Notes at the bottom of the recipe if you think you'll be doubling the recipe or freezing it ahead of time).
- 1 lb Ground Beef or Turkey
- 1/2 cup crushed Ritz
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Ketchup
- 1/2 chopped Onion
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 1-2 cubed Potatoes
- 1-2 sliced Carrots
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Decide if you will form the meatloaf to the pan (more moist) or form a loaf to be centered in the pan (often with vegetables, creates more of a "crust" on the meat"
Spray loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray
Combine ground beef, crushed Ritz crackers, egg, milk, ketchup, chopped onion, salt, and pepper.
Mix by hand until well combined (if you have little ones helping in the kitchen they love this part). If you are really squeamish you don't to use your hands but it does help make it easier to get the ingredients mixed in.
Spread meat mixture into pan or form into a loaf
If using vegetables wash, peel, then cut into pieces no larger than 1/2 inch wide
(optional) Toss the vegetables in a bowl with a little olive oil and desired seasonings
Place vegetables in pan around the loaf
Bake for 1 hour or until center is cooked thoroughly
It is worth noting that these loaves (excluding veggies) freeze extremely well. I often double the recipe and form this into 2 or 3 loaves and wrap the extra loaves in plastic wrap and freeze them to bake later.
If doubling the recipe for a single loaf add 15-30 minutes additional cooking time.