How I make an easy weeknight meatloaf dinner for my family. The best part is it is very hands off, just set a timer and walk away.
With seven kids it can be hard to make something that will make everyone happy. Luckily, almost all 9 of us enjoy my homemade meatloaf, with Gage being my exception. Cooking dinner on a busy weeknight with homeschooling, soccer, and kids and animals running around like crazy can be more than a little difficult. I would be lying if I said we were never tempted to hit a drive thru. I would also be lying if I said we didn’t take that easy way out entirely too often.
One of my biggest set backs when it comes to making a homemade dinner every night seems to be time. Well time and just plain old laziness on my part, but we are talking about time here and not my own internal battles. I try to make things as easy as possible every chance I get, while still trying to provide my family with a well balanced meal. Sometimes this means freezer meals for the crock pot, other times it means throwing something quick in the instant pot.
One of my husbands favorite meals is meatloaf, and I simply don’t make it often enough for his liking. I have no issues with making it, I enjoy it and so do the kids most of them time, I just seem to forget to put it in the rotation. Now I am trying to make a solid effort to meal plan more efficiently and put more variety in our meals. This week I decided to see what I could do with food I had on hand. This led me to meatloaf, and I almost always have the 4 items needed on hand.
Simple and Easy Meatloaf
Simple is an understatement when it comes to my meatloaf. 4 ingredients is all you need, well 5 if you count the topping/ glaze. For this you need 3 pounds of ground beef, 1 egg, 1 cup of old fashioned oats, and around 3/4 cup ketchup. Plus an additional 1/2 cup ketchup and 1/4 cup brown sugar set aside for the glaze.
First, take your thawed ground beef and add in the egg, oats, and ketchup. Mix until well combined. For mixing you can use a kitchen aid with either the paddle attachment or the dough hook, but I always just use my hands. It gets a bit messy but I find I can really get things mixed evenly with my hands.
Once combined, shape into a “loaf” and place into an oven safe pan. I generally use my 9*13 baking dish. Leave some room on the sides, if you are using ground beef with a higher fat content your grease will need a place to collect.
Mix your 1/2 cup ketchup and 1/4 brown sugar in a seperate bowl and brush on top of meat.
Place into a 350 degree farenhight oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until done. When I remove the fully cooked meatloaf from the oven I check to see if there is any grease around the edges. If there is I take a few slices of bread torn into strips and place into the grease. This will soak it up and help prevent it from making your meatloaf too greasy.
Electric Pressure Cooker Mashed Potatoes
One of our favorite sides to eat with meatloaf is mashed potatoes. The peeling and cutting adds time away from the babies for me. When you have 4 children under 2 years old you try to minimize your amount of time out of the room. Pressure cooker to the rescue.
I had my daughter, Olivia, get me 6 potatoes and wash them off for me. I place them in my pressure cooker in a steamer basket with 1 cup of water to help build pressure. Put the lid on, turn it on for 15-20 (depending on the size of your potatoes) and walk away.
Once the timer has gone off I do a quick release and remove the lid. I now have baked potatoes, just one step away from mashed potatoes. The skins on the potatoes come off so easily, I use my finger ( careful, very hot) and peel it off. My daughter had done it by rubbing the cooked potato with a clean kitchen towel. It only takes me a minute or two to peel them.
I place the peeled potatoes in a bowl with a 1/4 cup butter and around 1/2 a block of cream cheese. Mash until combined and melted. I then pour in milk, little by little. In this case I used about 1/2 cup of milk, but that changes based on potato size and your thickness preference.
Once I have them all mashed and combined I add 2 hefty pinches of salt. This is very much to taste. I like mine salty, my kids disagree. My advice is to taste them as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take it back out.
For this meal we ended up adding a simple salad with lettuce, sweet peppers and radishes to make it a bit more healthy. I did neglect to get a photograph of that though.
We really enjoy this dinner. It may not be pretty or fancy but it tastes good, and my photo doesn’t do it any justice. It is one of the very few reasons we keep ketchup in the house and well worth it.