After learning how chef Tony Ridgway makes the meatloaf he serves at his restaurant, Ridgway Bar and Grill, we asked our readers to share their special recipes with us. We received everything from diet loaves to turkey loaves to stuffed meatloaves; some with sauce, some without — but all promising a tasty meal.
The following five recipes represent five very different ways to prepare this classic comfort food.
INDIVIDUAL MEAT LOAVES
“This meatloaf recipe comes from my aunt, Alyce Mann in Philadelphia, PA. It’s been in our family at least 25 years — probably longer — and I like it because the sauce can be made ahead and divided (refrigerated or frozen),” wrote Judith E. Meissner of Naples. “I can make just two for my husband and me, or as many as I need for a comfort food meal for guests, with no slicing, crumbling and dryness and no concerns about leftovers. As written, the meat part makes four individual servings, but the sauce is probably enough for eight loaves.
“Notice that it indicates ground meat, though not the kind of meat. So although I usually make this with ground round or other low-fat content beef, it can be made with a veal-pork-beef-mix or with turkey. The type of bread and/or onion used also can vary, based on individual preference or whatever is at hand.”
* Loaf ingredients
1 lb ground meat of your choice
3 slices (about 2 cups) bread crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
* Sauce ingredients
1 medium onion chopped
½ cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 to 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
* Brown onion lightly in a little butter or olive oil, add all other ingredients and simmer 15 minutes (lid on, but stir occasionally).
* Cool to room temperature.
* Mix together meat, bread, salt and pepper, and add enough sauce (below) to moisten well. Shape into individual loaves and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
— Judith E. Meissner, Naples
“I would like to share my special meatloaf,” writes Dave McDonald. “It’s a very simple recipe.”
1 lb. hamburger
1 can of chicken and rice soup
1 package of McCormick’s meatloaf seasoning
1½ cups of bread crumbs
Barbecue sauce or ketchup
* Combine all ingredients and put in meatloaf pan.
* For flavoring, cover meatloaf with barbecue sauce or ketchup
* Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.
— Dave McDonald, Naples
COLLEGE BOY MEATLOAF
“One day my college roommate (43 years ago at the University of Florida) came back from his home with this recipe. I guess you could call it college boy meatloaf. It is really, really complicated, but if one has 5 minutes or so to spare it can be done!” says Neapolitan Richard Shaffer.
“I prepared this for my wife the first time I cooked a meal in my little apartment. She was less than enthused, but to her surprise really enjoyed it. She’s made her own improvements, but it is still the only meatloaf she likes.”
2 pounds or so 93 percent lean ground beef (a big package)
1 can condensed vegetarian vegetable soup (do not add water)
2 heaping tablespoons of seasoned bread crumbs
* Mix everything together in a big bowl.
* Transfer to a meatloaf pan and cook at 325 degrees until done. I just cook it until I’m sure, because the stuff in it keeps it moist.
— Richard Shaffer, Naples
MEATLOAF WITH VEGETABLES
¼ cup celery, diced
1/8 cup green pepper, diced
1/8 cup red pepper, diced
2 tablespoons red onion, diced
3 tablespoons carrots, sliced about 1/8 inch thick
¼ cup green onions, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
2 lbs. ground beef
1¾ cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* Combine all vegetables and thyme in a mixing bowl and set aside.
* In a separate bowl, combine eggs, ketchup and Tabasco and stir together. Set aside.
* Place half the ground beef into a large mixing bowl, add half the vegetable mixture and half the panko bread crumbs and mix. Add remaining beef, vegetable mixture and egg mixture and fold until fully combined.
* Lightly oil a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. Add meatloaf mixture and pack tightly to fill pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.
* Serves 8
— Arlene Levin, Naples
ITALIAN-STYLE TURKEY LOAF
This is the homemade version of a pre-packaged turkey meatloaf you can buy at any grocery store throughout Italy. It used to be one of my favorite quick meal fixes and, although making it from scratch isn’t quite as fast, I still enjoy it at least once or twice a month. Reserve the pan drippings and use them as “gravy,” if you like.
1¼ pounds ground turkey breast
3 small potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
Bread crumbs (quantity depends on starchiness of the potatoes)
2 tablespoons minced parsley
4 ounces ham, minced
4 ounces grated white cheddar cheese or provolone
Salt and pepper
Small glass of white wine or broth
* In a large bowl mix the ground turkey breast with two of the mashed potatoes, one egg, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Add enough bread crumbs so that the mixture is easy to handle and doesn’t fall apart. Set aside.
* In another bowl mix ham, cheese, one egg, one mashed potato and a little bread crumbs. Mix well and set aside.
* Place the turkey mixture on a large piece of parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Using your hands or a rolling pin, roll out the mixture so it has a shape that resembles a rectangle about ½ inch thick. Remove and discard plastic wrap. Take ham mixture and place it in the middle of the rectangle, shaping it with your hands in a brick shape. Using the parchment paper wrap the turkey mixture around the ham mixture so that the ham filling is completely enclosed and not visible anymore.
* Spray a Pyrex pan with cooking spray, pour a glass of white wine in it and gently roll the loaf into the pyrex. Discard parchment paper.
* Cook at 350 degrees for about an hour or until golden brown.
— Chiara Assi, recipe adapted from Bonroll Aia
1½ to 2 pounds ground beef, veal and pork combination
½ cup bread crumbs
(such as Progresso plain)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
¼ cup warm milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons horseradish
Salt and pepper
* Combine all ingredients — except bacon — thoroughly and shape into a football size loaf. Place mixture in a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Place bacon slices atop loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
* Serves 6
— Janet Marks, Naples
DIET-FRIENDLY MEXICAN MEATLOAF
(Weight Watchers recipe – 3 points)
“For those of us who love to cook, dieting can be a daunting task,” wrote Maureen Nevaril of Naples. “My husband, Charley, and I recently joined Weight Watchers and we have been amazed at the fabulous, easy recipes available to us through the program. Now, I can continue to enjoy two of my favorite hobbies (cooking and eating) and at the same time lose weight. Imagine that!
“This Mexican Meatloaf recipe is only three Weight Watcher points for a good-sized portion. It’s also great cold the next day.”
½ pound extra lean-ground beef
½ pound lean ground turkey breast
2 large egg whites
2 oz. cornbread stuffing dry mix (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
4 oz. canned green chili peppers, diced
1-8 oz. can enchilada sauce
* Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
* In a large bowl, mix beef, turkey, egg whites, stuffing mix, onion, chili powder, cumin, chilies, and half of enchilada sauce together. Shape into an oval with your hands and place on prepared broiler pan.
* Cook for 1 hour, top with remaining enchilada sauce and bake for 5 minutes more. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.
— Maureen Nevaril, Naples
“In 1967 the meatloaf was the first meal I prepared for my future English wife,” recalls Naples resident Art Robbie. “It was love after the first bite! She took the leftovers to the office and everybody that had some asked for the recipe.”
½ pound Mozzarella cheese or 8 ounce grated package
2 pounds lean ground beef
½ cup packaged seasoned bread crumbs (I use Progresso)
1 cup tomato juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
A few grains of pepper
2 small onions, minced
4 paper-thin slices boiled ham
* Grate cheese; set aside. Combine beef, eggs, bread crumbs, tomato juice, salt, oregano and pepper.
* Sauté onions in a little vegetable oil until golden brown; add to meat mixture; mix well. Turn out on sheet of aluminum foil; flatten into oblong about 1 inch thick.
* Place ham slices on oblong, keeping them about 1 inch from edge. Sprinkle grated cheese on ham. Use the foil to fold meat mixture over ham and cheese, closing all openings.
* Turn loaf from foil into a greased loaf pan 8 by 5 by 3 inches, pat with fingers to fill corners of pan and shape loaf. It will completely fill pan and be rounded slightly on top.
* Bake at 325 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes, depending on degree of rareness desired. Bon Appetit !
— Art Robbie, Naples
PHILLY B's MEATLOAF
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
½ cup dry white wine
2 to 2½ pounds beef and pork mixture
2 large eggs
1 medium onion diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
3 ounces Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
12 ounces seafood cocktail sauce (Crosse and Blackwell)*
* In a large bowl mix all ingredients. Save 4 ounces of cocktail sauce (1/3 of a 12-ounce jar) to spread on top of meatloaf. Mix well, by hand of course. Dig right in.
* Shape into loaf in a 13x 9 inch baking pan. Use remaining sauce to coat meatloaf.
* Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 to 1½ hours -- this is the key ingredient instead of tomato sauce or ketchup. Try it!
— Phillip Boyle
ITALIAN STUFFED MEATLOAF
“This recipe will make two large meatloaves approximately 10 or more inches long,” says Kay Camplese of Naples. “I usually place the two in a large baking dish once they are rolled in the parchment paper. I find the longer the meatloaf sets up the more the flavor of the ingredients come together, so place the meatloaves in a baking dish in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours prior to baking.
“This recipe should serve eight to 10 people easily. I usually serve this meatloaf with rigatoni tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. I use a four-Italian cheese blend — provolone, Parmesan, Romano and Asiago — but you can use whatever you prefer; a pan of roasted red, green, orange peppers, sliced onion and fresh sliced fennel (one bulb), two or three gloves of fresh garlic heavily drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with coarse black pepper, salt and some crushed red pepper.
“You may add a fourth cup of roasted pine nuts. Place a bowl of spaghetti sauce on the buffet for the rigatoni and to top off the meatloaf if desired. Of course, great Italian bread and a large green salad make for a hearty and beautiful buffet table. Enjoy!”
2 supermarket packages of meatloaf mixture; pork, veal and ground beef
3 or 4 links of (hot) sausages (optional)
Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, to taste
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup Italian bread crumbs
½ cup grated cheese
1 small sweet onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves chopped garlic
Freshly chopped parsley, rosemary, basil and oregano
1 cup spaghetti sauce
Deli salami, thinly sliced
Provolone, thinly sliced
15 ounces ricotta
2 to 3 tablespoons large-curd cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
Chopped parsley, chopped onion flakes, Italian bread crumbs, to taste
Pinch of cinnamon
* Season meat mixture with black ground pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper. Add oats, bread crumbs, grated cheese, onion, garlic and herbs. Add approximately a cup of any brand of spaghetti sauce to moisten the mixture. Mix well.
* Place a 20 by 15-inch sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Secure the corners and then place one half of the meatloaf mixture in the center of the paper. Flatten the mixture into a rectangle approximately 13 by 10 inches in size and approximately 1½ inches thick. You will need to roll the mixture once you place the filling across the flattened meat mixture.
* Place thin deli-sliced pieces of hard cooked salami from one end of the mixture to the other. This should be placed in the center of meat and overlapped. On top of the salami, place deli sliced pieces of provolone cheese, overlapping those as well.
* Prepare in a separate bowl your ricotta cheese mixture. Place a 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese in bowl. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of large curd cottage cheese. You may also add some chopped fresh parsley, some salt and pepper to taste, tablespoon of dried chopped onion flakes, sprinkle some Italian bread crumbs in — approximately 1 tablespoon — to mixture. Add a small dash of cinnamon and two egg yolks. Mix well.
* Top the meat and cheese slices with the ricotta cheese mixture trying to keep it on a mound so you can pull the sides of the parchment paper up and over the meat mixture. Once you have the meat mixture closed over the stuffing, roll the parchment paper down on the top of the loaf and then tucked the ends of the paper under the meatloaf roll. Place this in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish and place in refrigerator preferably overnight or for several hours.
n Place in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes or longer if needed. Check meatloaf doneness by opening the parchment paper. When cooked, the meatloaf will pull away from the ricotta stuffing which will be somewhat visible when done. Allow meatloaf to rest and cool down before transferring to serving platter for slicing.
— Kay Camplese, Naples
“This recipe is adapted from one that appeared July 22, 2009, in the New York Times magazine. It’s adapted from a recipe by Mark Ladner, chef of Del Posto restaurant, New York. We think it’s so good we’d serve it for a company dinner,” wrote Naples Daily News staffer Harriet Howard Heithaus.
To lower the cholesterol count in our recipe, she does this:
* Substitute Gimme Lean vegetarian sausage, which can be found in one-pound-equivalent chubs in most supermarkets, for the sausage.
* Use soy milk instead of whole.
* Substitute soy bacon bits, added to the sauce at the last minute, for the bacon.
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh bread crumbs of any provenance
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup whole milk
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound sweet Italian pork sausage, casing removed, crumbled
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces bacon, chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
28-ounce can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, seeds removed
1 cup red wine
¼ bunch mint.
* Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
* Combine 2/3 of the garlic, the rosemary, pepper flakes, bread crumbs and liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Add the milk and mix. Add the meats and mix once more to combine; don’t overmix.
* Transfer onto a board and shape into a fine meatloaf, about 9 inches long and 4 inches wide.
* Place in a baking pan with high sides, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and bake for 25 minutes, turning halfway through to brown evenly. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees.
n Meanwhile, fry the bacon in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until it starts to curl and its fat is rendered. Add the onions and remaining garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil.
* Pour the sauce over the meatloaf, cover tightly with foil and bake until a meat thermometer inserted at the center reads 150 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes.
* Transfer the meatloaf to a platter and let stand, tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Cut into thick slices, spoon tomato sauce over the top and scatter with torn mint leaves.
Serves 6 to 8.
— Harriet Howard Heithaus, adapted from Mark Ladner, chef of Del Posto restaurant, New York