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My Favorite Part of Winter is My Dad’s Meatloaf

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Alex beggs dad meatloaf recipe

During a glorious week in Michigan, my neighbors built a kid-sized snow igloo on their front lawn (as impressive and amazing as it sounds). We nestled beers into the snow banks on the porch, and I got my excuse to make my dad’s meatloaf.

I love to make Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate, Swiss Miss Chili, and meatloaf in the winter. I revert back to Michigan grandmother mode. This could be related to an ancient instinct that I need to insulate me for winter even if a Nest thermostat is at my command. So I sent a message to my father: “Can you send that meatloaf recipe?”

My dad’s meatloaf recipe is a photo of a page from Real SimpleA magazine and a sticky note with his name on it. The whole point is to get the Real SimpleMake a meatloaf using ground turkey. The turkey is a star. It’s joined with a handful of parm for some added fat and flavor, onion for whatever, parsley, and my favorite detail, chopped roasted red peppers, which bring moisture, pops of sweetness, and a little something-something. My dad, however, knew what would make the meatloaf taste even better. Beef. (And yes, like a lot of dads, mine has his eye on his cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and the climate, so it’s a special occasion meal. As they all are when we’re so rarely together!)

The entire reason this recipe was developed was to showcase an actually good turkey meatloaf, and I appreciate my dad for being like, that’s so nice of you, thanks, but I’ll like it more with beef. A Michigander who’s lived in Texas for decades, my dad has absorbed a Southern accent and strong opinions about barbecue. He likes to make me a Texas martini when I visit, which is a margarita in a martini glass with a jalapeño-stuffed olive and another garnish: a stick of bacon, and right when you’re like, This is a bit too muchHe asks. “Do you want it with, or without, the popsicle?”(Reader: Yes, he adds an orange popsicle in the glass.

Food is his love-language. With a slice of meatloaf,The following are some examples of how to get started: a drink with a popsicle bobbing out of it, he’s silently telling me all those things we never say aloud — “you should visit more often,” and “I’m proud of you.”Instead, we lower the eyes and send old words into the sky, then stuff our faces and discuss the most important question: who would you pick as your coach? The Voice?

I don’t make this meatloaf often. I like to think of my kitchen as a diner run by a salty waitress who’s seen it all, who whips up a few winter specials when the snow is just right. If you stop by when she’s in the kitchen and the meatloaf’s on the chalkboard, order it.

Alex beggs dad meatloaf recipe

Alex beggs dad meatloaf recipe

Alex beggs dad meatloaf recipe

My Dad’s Meatloaf
Adapted from Real Simple

You’ll need:
1 ½ pounds ground beef (or turkey, I’m sure it’s great!)
1 small yellow onions, chopped (any other onion or leftover scallions that are about to wilt can be used)
¾ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped (or what’s leftover in the fridge, even if a few specks)
1 7-ounce can of chopped roasted red bell peppers (or however many are left in the jar).
Salt and pepper

For the glaze:
½ cup ketchup
6 tbsp. Brown sugar (jeez Dad, sometimes I reduce this to 4 tbsp.
2 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dry mustard

Preheat the oven to 400° and dig out your long lost loaf pan. Combine the chopped onion with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, mustard, parsley roasted red peppers and Parmesan in a bowl. Season it with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add a small amount of ground beef at first to get things moving before adding more. This was a trick that I learned at Bon AppétitAvoid overmixing the meatballs as they can become dense.

Bake it for 40-60 mins, depending on the temperature of your oven. The beef fat will bubble up alongside the edges—remember this is a winter Special Offers—and the top will brown. You could measure the internal temp to see if it’s 165°, or press the top center to make sure it’s not squishy and soft. When in doubt, a few extra minutes won’t dry out the loaf. It’s so full of fat and moisture. Let it rest 10-15 minutes before serving. During this time, you can make the sauce in the last 5 minutes. Combine all ingredients into a small pan and simmer until harmonious. Grab a cold beer from the snow porch. Say thanks and then slice your meatloaf. Spoon the glaze on top as desired.

Make a plan and/or freeze: I’ve made the mixture several hours before baking and it’s great. I also like to freeze leftovers in small portions for later use.

Thank you for your kind words Alex!

P.S. Chicken parm meatballs, eggplant “meatballs.”

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