How many pans do you need (to make a meatloaf)?


If you’re a fan of the Food Network show Good Eats, you’ve probably heard Alton Brown say that he only owns one multitasker- a fire extinguisher.  Everything else he puts in his kitchen has at least more than one function.  I love that philosophy and try to keep my kitchen stocked the same way because I truly believe “less is more” in almost all cases.  Today my cast iron skillet does double duty as a baking pan for a low carb meatloaf.

Meatloaf is one of the classic frugal main dishes of all time.  You take the most inexpensive cuts of meat you can get and then add inexpensive fillers to make it go even further.  In addition, you add finely minced vegetables so your kids won’t notice.  Whoever invented meatloaf was either exceptionally lucky or pure genius.  Below is my latest meatloaf recipe that I baked in a cast iron skillet.  So to answer the question above, I’d say “one”.  But the real question is what pans do you need to make a meatloaf, a roast, cornbread, a cake, fried eggs, bacon, hamburgers, etc…   My answer is “just my one cast iron skillet”.

Super Meaty Meatloaf

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1T all purpose seasoning
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 2t thyme, dried
  • 1T sage, rubbed
  • 1t red chile flakes
  • 1T parsley, dried (or 3T fresh, chopped)
  • 4T ketchup (or catsup)
  • salt and pepper (depending on how much salt is in the all purpose seasoning)

Mix all ingredients well and shape into a cylinder.  Place into a lighly oiled cast iron skillet and put into a 350F oven for 1 hour.  After about 40min coat with the ketchup.

You’ve probably noticed that this meatloaf is pretty much all meat.  I’m still doing the low carb thing and its working (down 15lbs so far!)  so I left out the bread/crackers in this one.  You could add in a few slices of bread torn into pieces with some milk to wet the bread.  Crackers would also work.  I’d probably not use more than a cup of crushed crackers or two cups of bread for this amount of meat.  The thyme and sage in this give a little hint of breakfast sausage flavor.  You could also leave those out and use breakfast sausage instead.

To keep this low carb, another nice addition would be some finely chopped mushrooms.  I’ve done that before and it comes out really great.  Just chop the mushrooms into small bits and then fry to remove most of the moisture.  Then just add them to the meatloaf.  You could also add italian seasoning mix (1T) and parmesan cheese (1/2 to 1 cup) to make the meatloaf taste like a giant meatball.  I could probably come up with an infinite number of possibilities.

I served this meatloaf with a Broccoli gratin, which I guess I should include:

Broccoli Gratin

  • 3 cups broccoli, steamed until just tender
  • 2T butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely minced
  • 1T whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup gruyere, or other cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper

Saute the onion in butter until soft, about 10min.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, except broccoli, and simmer over low heat until the cheese melts and you have a nice sauce.  Turn off the heat, add the broccoli and toss well.  Put into a baking pan (or another cast iron skillet!) and bake uncovered for about 30min on 350F.  Serve with meatloaf.

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