I have convenience foods in my pantry. There. I’ve said it. You’ll find microwave-ready brown rice, fruit in cups, onion soup mix, instant mashed potatoes, organic gravy mix and two boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It’s really hard to be a food snob harboring this sort of secret, but I have my reasons. Those reasons are that some remind me of what I ate at home, being a child of the 60’s and 70’s, and I am sometimes lazy, kinda bummed and only a blue box of mac and cheese will cheer me up. Comfort food isn’t a truffled pate. It’s meatloaf made with onion soup mix. Eaten in the kitchen, in front of the TV, in my ratty red fleece bathrobe.
Now that I’ve fessed up, let me tell you that with all the fancy schmancy meatloaf recipes around, I still prefer a slightly dolled up version of the one I grew up eating, the one on the Quaker Oats box. If you serve it with some of the mac and cheese out of the familiar blue box, I’d be the last one to tell.
Adapted from the Quaker Oats Original Recipe
1½ pounds of lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
1 cup rolled oats
1 large egg
1 cup chopped yellow onion
½ cup chopped scallion, including some green parts
1 cup tomato sauce
1 packet of onion soup mix
2 Tblsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tblsp. of Italian seasoning or 1 tsp. each of dried oregano, thyme and basil
Ketchup for topping, optional
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Take off your rings. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. Spray a small sauté pan with a bit of spray, and cook the onion and scallion over medium heat until softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place the ground meat, the cooked onion mixture, and all the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl. Go wash your hands, and then mix everything together with your hands.
Once it’s all mixed evenly, pack it into the prepared loaf pan. Smooth the top with a spoon or a spatula, and cover top with ketchup if you like (I don’t).Go wash your hands, and put your rings back on before you lose them.
Place the meatloaf in the oven and bake for about an hour, or until an instant-read thermometer reads at least 160°F. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. Makes about 8 slices, how many that serves is up to you.
Doubles beautifully. I make two at a time, and freeze one wrapped in foil for another meal.