How to Make Meatloaf

Nothing says everyday home-cooking quite like meatloaf. This comfort food staple has graced American dinner tables for many years--though, like many New World traditions, the dish actually has its roots in the Old World. In fact, its earliest origins date back as far as Fifth-century Rome. It's best known in German, Belgian and Dutch cuisine, however, and can even be considered a cousin to the Italian meatball. Since recipes for how to make meatloaf have been passed down from one generation to the next, there are tons of variations that are probably all qualify as "just like Mom used to make." Traditionally made, however, meatloaf isn't exactly health food. With some clever substitutions and ingredient choices, the dish can be remade into a lower-calorie, lower-fat version that is not only good, but good for you. This recipe, for instance, even sneaks in some veggies to make home-style meatloaf nutritious and delicious fare for the whole family to enjoy.
Hey, everyone, I'm Judith with, and today, we're gonna be making Mom's Meatloaf, a good old hearty American classic. So what you're gonna need is a quarter cup of carrots which we've finely chopped. We've got a quarter cup of red pepper which we've also finely chopped. We have a pound of ground beef. We have 5 green onions which we've sliced into small pieces. We have half a cup of saltine crackers which we've finely crushed. We have 2 egg whites which we've lightly beaten, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar, half a teaspoon of dried oregano, 2 tablespoons of low-fat milk. We have about a quarter teaspoon of dried black pepper. We have 2 tablespoons of bottled chili sauce. I'm using Tabasco this time, and we also have a quarter cup of bottled chili sauce, also Tabasco. So first of all, we have lightly coated our small skillet with some cooking spray, and we're gonna take it up to a medium heat like so. Now, what we're gonna do is we're gonna get all our lovely veggies in there, so the green onions go in there. Get them nice and hot. The chopped carrots. And the red peppers. So, we're just gonna fry them up for about 5 to 8 minutes until they get nice and tender. So it's been about 7 minutes and we've let our vegetables get nice and tender and we've left them to cool ever so slightly there. Now, for the main part, so, let us get our egg whites, put them in there. Our milk. All the liquids go in. The chili sauce. And our saltine crackers go in there, too. We'll put our dried oregano. You can also use dried basil, and you can use fresh if you have it, too, even better. And, of course, our black pepper goes in there, too. Now, we'll put in our vegetables. Toss them all in there. And last but not least, we'll get our ground beef, really inexpensive beef, and just great and quick to cook with and just makes this beautiful meatloaf get all together nicely. So, we're gonna stir that in. You can use your hands if necessary because sometimes, a spoon just doesn't do it. There we go. Get all of that in. All of those ingredients, nicely together. I have completely embraced this gorgeous American dish as it's the best, the ultimate comfort food you can think of, and it just tastes so good. Now...we have preheated our oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit to get that oven nice and hot for our meatloaf. So what we'll need next is our loaf, our loaf pan. We've got one. It's about 7-1/2 inches to 3-1/2 inches wide, and about 1-1/2 inches deep. So, we are basically going to put in our lovely mixture. Let's see. Get handful by handful. All right, so as all of that is in there, we're gonna press it down lightly. You can use your hands, you can use a spoon. That's fine. And just-- we just wanna let that mixture mold in so we get a nice-- a nice loaf for our final product. All right, let's get our baking dish. So we have our baking dish right here. That's-- Make sure to get like a nice shallow baking dish because we're gonna empty our contents of our loaf pan into there, so basically what we're gonna do is we're just gonna invert the pan, give it a nice good knock, and that should do it. And there you go, we have our very easy and simple meatloaf and we're gonna put that in the oven now for 30 minutes. So it's been about 30 minutes. We've removed our meatloaf from the oven, our delicious looking meatloaf, and now we're gonna do a nice little glaze to put on top of there, so let's put in our chili sauce, our brown sugar. Watch for it flying everywhere. And our vinegar. And we're just gonna whisk that all together. A little bit more, get all that sugar in with the chili sauce. It's gonna give it a nice bite to our meatloaf. Great, and we're just gonna spoon that over. So, once that's done, now we're gonna put our meatloaf back into the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. We've taken our meatloaf out of the oven. Now, you can check if it's done by inserting an instant-read thermometer and it should read about 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and ours has so it's done, it's ready to serve on a hot platter, slice it up in pieces, serve it with some veggies, and that's it. That is your Mom's Meatloaf. Well, thanks for watching, everyone. For more great recipes and savings, go to

What You'll Need

  •  Nonstick cooking spray or cooking oil
  • 5   green onions, sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2  of a small red and/or yellow sweet pepper, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2  of a medium carrot, finely chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 2   slightly beaten egg whites
  • 1/2  cup finely crushed saltine crackers (14 crackers)
  • 2   tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 2   tablespoons bottled chili sauce
  • 1   tablespoon snipped fresh basil or oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano, crushed
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1   pound extra-lean ground beef
  • 1/4  cup bottled chili sauce
  • 1   tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1   teaspoon vinegar

Step By Step

Lightly coat a small skillet with cooking spray or cooking oil. Add the green onion, sweet pepper, and carrot. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Combine egg whites, crushed crackers, milk, the 2 tablespoons chili sauce, basil or oregano, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked vegetables and ground beef; mix well.
Pat meat mixture firmly into a 7-1/2 x 3-1/2x2-inch loaf pan. Invert pan with meat mixture into a shallow baking pan; remove loaf pan. Bake meat loaf in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for glaze, stir together the 1/4 cup chili sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar in a small mixing bowl. Spoon glaze over meat loaf. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more or until no pink remains and an instant read thermometer registers 160 degree F. Transfer meat loaf to a platter. To serve, cut into slices. Makes 6 servings.

Make Ahead Tip
  • Prepare meat loaf as directed above, except do not shape and bake. Cover bowl; chill meat mixture up to 24 hours. Shape meat loaf as directed. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes or until meat loaf is nearly done. Spoon the glaze over meat loaf and bake about 15 minutes more or until done.
While there are countless takes on how to make meatloaf, a recipe that keeps the hungry mouths at your dinner table asking for seconds--without packing in extra fat and calories--is one you'll want to go back to time and time again.

nutrition information

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 190, Fat, total (g) 8, chol. (mg) 48, sat. fat (g) 3, carb. (g) 12, fiber (g) 0, pro. (g) 16, vit. A (IU) 923.21, vit. C (mg) 9.45, sodium (mg) 352, iron (mg) 2.34, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Back to Top