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Jan 22, 2010 07:49 PM

I am ready to tackle the meatloaf/mashed potatoes meal! Help!

I want to make a "homey" meal for Valentine's day, similar to something we have eaten at an awesome local restaurant (well, not local, but in NY)-

Meatloaf with gravy
Mashed potatoes mixed with leeks

And some sort of sweet to follow.

I know there are tons of links and recipes for meatloaf - I am therefore overwhelmed by everything I've read and with literally 20 recipes in front of me, I could use some help in deciding how to even go about choosing a few to narrow it down! I am looking for something that I can make a "gravy" with - but I want to be able to cook the meatloaf in a meatloaf pan so the fat drains out. I'm not even sure how you get the gravy. Sad. Also no bacon wrapped meatloaf, and only beef - no pork or veal...but otherwise anything goes.

As for the mashed potatoes with mashed do I do this? Cook the leeks with the potatoes? And will the leeks mash in with the potatoes or do I have to do them seperately??

The funny thing is this all has to look really easy and simple when I make it because I usually tear a tornado through the kitchen when I attempt to cook and at least for this time, I am trying to appear confident... :) I need a little help here..completely and utterly clueless!!

Thank you so much!!

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  1. Here is an excellent meatloaf from an excellent food blog: You'll enjoy the flavor that results from the oats and the caramelized onions even if you don't make the ketchup.

    1. Make the mash and leeks separately since they cook at different rates and need to be treated differently. While the spuds cook, saute thinly sliced leeks in a frying pan with butter and oil so they get nice and golden. Mash the spuds with whatever seasonings and dairy you usually use, then fold in the leeks.

      Random recipe (garlic is optional if you want plain mash):

      If you google mashed potatoes leeks, there's a bunch of flavor variations.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stilton

        Thanks for the replies - the meatloaf recipe looks interesting (I would skip the ketchup. Stilton this is great - Now I know what to do!

      2. I don't know if you can really make gravy from meatloaf, the drippings are pretty much all fat. That's why it gets served with ketchup so often. I use gravy that I made from other sources for the potatoes. If you were making special potatoes like you are planning, I'd go with just butter though, so you could taste the flavor of the leeks.

        After years of experimenting, I got the texture I like by using oatmeal and Ritz crackers, just 1/4 cup of each, instead of breadcrumbs. Don't be tempted to use too much filler, and make sure to use "meatloaf mix" rather than all beef. (Edit: just noticed you want all beef, sorry, meatloaf mix is only my preference, just use a lean chopped beef (85 to 90%) so it doesn't all drain away). I also stopped using the loaf pan and make a football shaped loaf on a sheet pan now, it comes out a lot crispier which is how we like it. You could always try deglazing the sheet pan to make gravy too, but since you want this to look easy, I would skip that step.

        All of this can be made earlier and reheated, so you can enjoy the meal too. Not a "a la minute" kind of deal at all.

        FWIW I always make heart shaped linzer tarts for Valentine's dessert.

        12 Replies
        1. re: coll

          Coll would you pass on the recipe for the linzer tarts? Oddly enough bf loves them and I have put them on a list of consideration along with chocolate lava cakes and carrot cake-
          I like the idea of football shaped because he likes the "crust" the best...and thanks for the tip about the gravy. I think I'll skip it - I can't handle deglazing and I'm not sure it would come out the way I wanted in the end!
          Love that I could make it ahead - I guess I figured that with the meatloaf but a) how do I reaheat the meatloaf? Back in the oven I assume at low temp? and b) how do I reheat potatoes? I didn't realize I could without them getting gummy-

          1. re: lovessushi

            The meatloaf, just put in a baking pan covered with foil, on low (300 degrees is what I do). Potatoes, add a good cup or two of milk or cream and heat the same way, and then mash with a hand masher before serving, to fluff up. They actaully seeem to taste better this way.

            Linzer tarts, I will write out later, have to go out for a while but will do as soon as I get back. It's my husband's favorite too, even though it seems like a cutesy thing it's a favorite of all men I know.

            1. re: coll

              Coll this is great - thank you. It does seem like a cutsey thing, but he loves them :-) The extra milk or cream won't make them runny? I guess not if I'm mashing it all in. I really appreciate the advice because it will be much easier to cook everything ahead!

              1. re: lovessushi

                No never runny for me, I add more milk/cream than I think I should but it absorbs in perfectly. Not a gallon or anything, but soak the top and sides of the dish anyway.

                Ok here is my Linzer Tart recipe, approved by guys everywhere:

                1 cup ground almonds (I don't toast because you want a white cookie)
                2 1/2 cup cake flour (I've used all purpose but cake works a lot better)
                1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
                1/2 tsp nutmeg
                1 cup butter, room temp
                1 cup sugar
                2 eggs plus 1 egg white
                1/2 tsp vanilla
                1/2 tsp almond extract
                1 tsp baking powder
                jar of raspberry jam SEEDLESS maybe 12z or more

                Mix ground almonds, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
                Beat room temp butter for 30 seconds.
                Add sugar to butter and beat until fluffy.
                Add eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and blend a little more.
                Add flour mixture to this.
                Make a ball out of the dough and refrigerate one hour.
                Divide ball in quarters.
                Roll out 1/8" thick. Cut shapes as you wish. Before I had heart shaped cutters, I used a thin cordial glass to make a small circular cookie, and the top of the extract jars to make a center hole in half of them. Still haven't found a tiny heart shaped cutter for the center hole but I hear they sell them in the aspic cutter aisle ;-) But anyway, one side/half the cookies have to have a little hole in it.
                Bake on an ungreased pan for 7 to 9 minutes at 375 until starting to brown on the bottom.
                Put a big spoonful of raspberry jam on the whole cookies and sandwich with a cut out cookie, so the jam pokes out the top hole.
                Sprinkle with confectionery sugar when serving.

            2. re: lovessushi

              You can also make the meatloaf ahead of time but stop before you bake it. Wrap it well in plastic wrap, foil and then in a freezer bag (I know, overkill). Simply bake it on Valentine's day. I believe you can also make the entire mashed potato recipe and simpy reheat on V. Day, perhaps using a crock pot on low a few hours before. I'm not positive on the exact time of reheating the mashed pots but I'm sure some other Chowhounds will know.

              1. re: sickpuppygirl

                I was thinking just to make the meatloaf completely the day before, or that morning, whenever you have time, and then reheat at dinnertime. That's what I would do anyway.

            3. re: coll

              Alton Brown "molds" his meatloaf in a loaf pan then flips it out onto a baking sheet. The surface gets crispy all around.
              I'm a firm believer in ketchup for topping meatloaf, but I used to have a recipe from the Yankee Magazine (NE) cookbook that was a glaze, made from tomato sauce, minced onion, prepared mustard, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and cider vinegar, simmered until thickened, that was similar in flavor to ketchup but with a twist and less sugar.
              Lost the recipe, <sigh>

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Equal parts ketchup, spicy preferably coarsely ground mustard and Major Grey's chutney.

              2. re: coll

                I make my meatloaf on a jelly roll pan and you do get drippings ... but I don't know how suitable for gravy they are (although you could just use the fat I guess). Not sure why now that I think about it, but the quality of drippings from ground meat vs a roast seems to be quite different.

                I use ground bison, not sure if that is acceptable, but it's lean and has great flavor. My 'filler' is soft wheat breadcrumbs soaked in milk, sour cream (and of course eggs to bind).

                1. re: foiegras

                  I'm a HUGE meatloaf fan and I always make on a baking sheet or large pan...never in a loaf pan. I love how brown and crispy the surface gets. I am also pretty much a "purist" when it comes to meatloaf (like my Mum made so of course I think it's best!) I only add an egg, onion, salt, pepper and some worcestershire. I don't like a lot of add-ins but to each their own... I think a meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and whatever veg is to your taste is a wonderful meal! Enjoy...

                  1. re: tochowchick

                    I have to admit, I cover the surface completely in bacon, and then glaze on top of that, so I wouldn't know about the brown and crispy surface!

                    I like the soaked soft bread crumbs simply because it makes the loaf so moist and tender, not to try to 'stretch' the meat.

                    I love the idea of the heart-shaped meatloaf--I'll have to try that. I've always done kind of an oval or half egg shape.

                    Btw, I like to serve with baked purple potatoes and asparagus.

                2. re: coll

                  I use meatloaf drippings to make gravy. Just make your roux with it before adding the beef stock. Makes a great, dark country gravy.

                3. You're going to get a lot of recipes for meatloaf, but the main thing with ground meat is not to overwork it or it will get tough. Mix with your hands until "just" mix then stop. Don't keep working it. Good luck.

                  1. Here is a meatloaf recipe that gives me good results each time--it's moist but cuts nicely.
                    I dislike oatmeal in my meatloaf personally, thought I'd give you another option. :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BangorDin

                      I dislike oatmeal too. I used leftover biscuits or white bread crumbs soaked in milk.