Just for the record here, let me tell you that I have never been a fan of meatloaf. Not even meatloaf sandwiches.
And...just for another record, let me tell you that when it comes to ketchup, I can take it or leave it (most often I leave it).
This is a Not Ketchup meatloaf.
And when I say Not Ketchup....I literally mean Not Ketchup
My friend and fellow blogger Erika from In Erika's Kitchen, has launched an amazing new product called Not Ketchup Dipping Sauce. There are currently 3 flavors: Cherry Chipotle, Blueberry White Pepper and Smokey Date, with the promise of 4 more flavors to come. You can see which two bottle Erika sent me...and I couldn't be more thrilled! Not only is Not Ketchup a great alternative to ketchup, but it's made with fresh ingredients (fruit, not tomatoes), natural sweeteners, no artificial flavors or colors, no processed sugar and no preservatives. And....its gluten free.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand, it's delicious!
I haven't figured out what I'm going to make with the Blueberry White Pepper yet, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the spicy tang of Cherry Chipotle.
Let's talk about meatloaf for a minute. People either love it, or hate it. And most who love it, only love the kind they make. I never knew how particular people are about meatloaf. I guess when it comes down to it, if it's not made right, it's not good.
I learned something the other night....part of what makes or breaks a meatloaf, is how you mix up the ingredients. DO NOT squish everything in your hands, making it ooze out between your fingers (cuz I know...that is part of the fun, right?) Well, it makes for a bad meatloaf. Just kinda stir everything together with your hands. I beat the egg before adding it, which made me feel better about not over mixing it.
And here's an amazing tip: instead of using bread crumbs, puree some garlic croutons in your food processor!
Use a meat thermometer. You want the inside to be 155' F. The temp will rise once removed, while it's resting. Using the thermometer will prevent you from ending up with a dried out
Ingredients make a difference too, of course. Swap things around...if you know you don't like bell pepper, swap it for something else. If you're not into garlic, use extra onions or something. Get it?
Cherry Chipotle Meatloaf
Inspired by: Good Eats Meatloaf
3 oz garlic croutons
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp summer savory (if you prefer thyme, then use that)
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1/4 of a bell pepper (I used yellow)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 egg (beat an egg and measure out about 1 1/2 TB. Gets a little tricky, but don't stress, you don't have to be exact on this)
1/4 cup Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup, plus more for serving
1/2 lb ground chuck
1/2 lb regular ground beef
Preheat the oven to 325' F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine the croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder and summer savory. Process until the croutons have becomes fine crumbs. Place in a medium sized bowl.
Put the onion, carrots, bell pepper and garlic in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed. Add to the bread crumbs.
Add in the salt, egg and meat. Combine without squeezing everything together.
Place the mixture on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and form into a loaf, pushing it all together into a solid loaf shape.
Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Pour the glaze of the top and down the sides. Place the thermometer in the meat loaf and bake until done. The length of time will depend on how thick your meatloaf is, which is why I believe the thermometer is really needed here. You want the reading to be 155'. Once temp has been reached, remove from the oven, cover lightly with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Serve with you're favorite sides (mashed potatoes seem to be top on that list) and a little extra Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup to drizzle over your slice.
And....this folks, is the meatloaf that won me over. I can now say: Yes, I like meatloaf. But only the kind I make.
Psst....Stop by Not Ketchup for a list of stores that carry this new yummy sauce, or place your order direct.