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Basic Meatloaf Recipe

With Carol Falkowski's new cookbook, Meatloaf Outside the Pan, dinnertime can become a ground-breaking adventure in meatloaf.

Here is Falkowski's basic meatloaf recipe:

The Basic Meatloaf Recipe


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup dry oatmeal, (or Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, dry stuffing mix, crushed-up crackers, or a combination of these totaling 1 cup)
  • ½ cup diced raw onion
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • fresh garlic (to taste)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


Bake uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35–60 minutes until the internal temperature is at least 160 degrees. The length of baking time varies depending on the thickness of the shape you make with the raw-meat mixture. The thinner the shape of the raw-meat mixture, the shorter the baking time.  Hint: A small meat thermometer is a great idea. Many shapes bake more quickly than you think.

Not a meat eater? Not a problem. There are many vegetarian loaf recipes that can work just well, as long as the consistency is not too runny to hold a shape.

Cake Meatloaf Instructions

For a cake-like meatloaf, form the raw-meat mixture into the shape of a round, single-layer cake. Bake the meat mixture until done. Transfer to serving platter and decorate.

Decorate after baking as you would decorate a cake using mashed potatoes as frosting and little vegetables as sprinkles, confetti or other decorations. Place small onions from a jar around the outer edge to decorate a meatloaf cake. Try small corn kernels (cooked or canned) and/or grated carrots, sliced green onions, peas, broccoli or diced red, orange, or yellow peppers.

For pink mashed potatoes, add one tablespoon beet juice to the mashed potatoes. For yellow mashed potatoes, add prepared bright-yellow mustard from a squirt bottle or jar.

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