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Mama’s Meatloaf and One More Day with Dinner on the Table

[1]Some nights, it’s tricky just to get dinner on the table. I like our meals to be special and even more so, now that I’m attempting to write about them. But sometimes what matters is simply providing my family with something to eat.

Luckily this meal was made with all on hand products. It’s taken me years to be able to cook anything, much less a balanced meal, without a trip to the store. If you cook often enough, staples add up and eventually dinner can be served even after being out of town. This isn’t the healthiest meal ever, but it was quick, comforting, and sufficient.

I’m one of those aliens that actually likes meatloaf. Well, my mama’s meatloaf. I’m not sure if I’d like anyone else’s. My mom used to make this meal for me whenever I came home. And because we’re cut from the same mold, she too felt guilty that meatloaf wasn’t “special” enough.

The neon yellow looking rice is Mahatma’s [2] Saffron Yellow. I love these packets for several reasons. They cost about 50 cents, which seems unreal. They are a nice quantity for two adults and two toddlers. I tend to grossly over-make rice quantities and we are not very good at using leftovers. It’s quick, but not Minute Rice quick. The package takes 20 minutes. Minute rice may only take five, but it’s quality is pretty squishy and poor, IMO.

The broccoli came from one of those steamer bags they’re carrying in the frozen aisles these days. My husband bought it, I probably never would have so I’ve no idea how much it cost. In the grand scheme of things, steaming broccoli in a double boiler is pretty easy anyway, and it makes me a little nervous microwaving in plastic. But in a pinch, it was an easy on-hand, not quickly perishing vegetable option.

I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers. A really nice thing about them though, is they freeze well. I freeze a partial in a plastic bag and it will last up to a couple of months, just pull out, slice, and add to your dish, no need to thaw.

1.2 lbs ground beef
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 a small green bell pepper, cored, seeds removed, and very finely chopped
1 egg
1 handful oatmeal
2 tbsps ketchup
6 strips bacon
can tomato sauce
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt

In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, bell pepper, egg, oatmeal, ketchup and spices. Mush into a loaf in a large glass casserole. To cook more quickly, make a shape that is flatter and longer, not more than 1 inch thick. Cover with strips of bacon and cook in oven preheated to 375. After 30 minutes, remove from oven, remove fat from casserole with a spoon. Pour tomato sauce over top of meatloaf and return to oven. Cook another 10-15 minutes and remove from oven. Slice and serve.