I love a meatloaf, and Barbie’s meatloaf, while not prepared My Way, seemed like it had potential. It has salami in it. Salami. In a meatloaf. Interesting. Better than peas anyway. (Barbie’s tuna salad has peas in it. Ew.. I’m hoping Donna will take that one.)
Unfortunately, perhaps because I already have an internalized meatloaf recipe in my weeknight dinner rotation, I played really fast and loose with Barbie’s perimeters, which is why I wound up having to make the recipe twice in order to get anything close to presentable.
Warning: This post will go on and on and on and on. I really love meatloaf. And apparently I have a lot to say about it.
- 1 ½ pound ground beef
- 1/4 pound salami, ground or ‘chopped fine’
- 2/3 cup chopped celery
- One large onion, diced
- 1/2 cup of tomato paste
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce.
- 2 large slices of bread
- 1/4+ cup milk
- 1 egg
- Salt & pepper to taste
Could anything be more Barbie than naming a food spicy meatloaf and not putting a single spice in it?
Preheat the oven to 375.
So, ingredients. Barbie says the salami should be ‘chopped fine.’ I am not sure what that means, and it sounds weird. Barbie obviously doesn’t have a food processor as the next step in her recipe is to tear the bread into small pieces. We’re going to assume you have a food processor, otherwise, chop fine and tear away.
Turn the two slices of bread into crumbs by sending them through the food processor. Empty the crumbs into a small bowl, swipe out the inside of the processor, and add the salami, perhaps cut into small chunks if you bought it whole. Grind the salami until it looks, well, like ground meat.
Once you have broken down your ingredients, pour the milk over the bread. Ok. Full disclosure. Barbie called for 4 slices of bread and a 1/4 cup of milk. I took a gamble and assumed that sliced bread was smaller in the 60s. Wasn’t everything smaller back then? Anyway, I used two slices from a pretty large loaf, and the milk barely dampened it, so I added more milk than Barbie called for.
Dice the onion and celery.
Mix the meats, the onion, and the celery in a bowl. Once the bread has completely absorbed the milk, add it to the bowl along with the egg and the Worcestershire sauce. Mix all of the ingredients, squishing with your hands if you need to. Finally, add the tomato paste and stir until everything is blended.
Once you have blended all of the ingredients, shape them into a free form loaf on a cookie sheet.
OR don’t do that. I believe that I make a really good meatloaf for someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, and I am a firm believer in the free form loaf. For one thing, more sides of the meatloaf get browned and delicious, and for another, you’re not limited to the size of a loaf pan if you’re cooking for one or two.
Barbie says to press the mixture firmly into a loaf pan. My first attempt, let’s remember, didn’t really turn out that well. I was trying to follow Barbie’s rules for the second one, so I used a loaf pan. You do you.
Barbie also suggests criss-crossing drizzles of ketchup over the top of the loaf, and given my initial failure, I will not go into my ‘if your meatloaf is good it does not need ketchup on the top’ speech, but still. I did not use ketchup on either attempt.
Cook for an hour and a half. Remove from the oven, tent with foil if you made a free form loaf, and enjoy.
-Adapted from Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook
I did NOT take a picture of the final product for my first attempt. Imagine… a damp pile of meow mix that was burned on the outside and falling apart. The result was, at first, a hideous disappointment because oh my god spicy meatloaf smells GOOD when it is cooking.
“How weird can it be?” asked John, and then answered himself when he took the foil off, “Oh.”
Still, we ate it, and it tasted much better than it looked. Much better. The texture was imperfect, but it wasn’t inedible, and the flavor was good enough to make me want to try again with accurate proportions.
AND THEN!!! The day was saved! Barbie says at the end of the recipe “Serves 4 with leftovers for cold meatloaf sandwiches the next day.”
Cold? Meatloaf? Sandwiches?
Cold Meatloaf Sandwich
- 2 slices of bread
- A slice of failed spicy meatloaf (or even decent meatloaf. Whatever.)
- Iceberg lettuce
- Red onion, pickled if you’ve got it
Spread a generous helping of mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Top with lettuce, then the slice of meatloaf, then the onions. Smash the other slice of bread on top and cut the sandwich in half. If you’re currently obsessed with arugula and ranch dressing, serve alongside a pile of arugula with ranch dressing. Feel accomplished for finishing your leftovers.
Tips and notes:
- My big mistakes in the first round were using too little ground beef and too much tomato paste. (Somehow in the course of my kitchen puttering, I became convinced that six ounces was less than half a cup.) Don’t do that.
- Pickled onions are easy to make. I plan to include a recipe in an upcoming post, but there’s no need to wait. There are a lot of versions available online, and they all look good.
- Notice, again, that Barbie’s Spicy Meatloaf has zero spices in it. (But then, I just suggested making it better by slathering on mayonnaise, so maybe I don’t have room to talk.)
Barbie’s Spicy Meatloaf seems to just add a few fancy ingredients (ketchup and salami!) to the basic recipe found in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook For Boys and Girls, first published in 1957. Some vintage recipe nerds speak highly of Betty’s meatloaf, but I much prefer my own recipe to either hers or Barbie’s. Then, I am not a kid, so maybe I shouldn’t criticize a simple recipe intended for young cooks?
Meatloaf seems like a cheesy, old fashioned dinner, but it is SO good, and while it takes a little while to prepare, you can easily double or triple your recipe and freeze some extra loaves, turning it into a convenience meal. And then when you’re done, you have sandwiches. Ooh, you know what else would be good? HOT meatloaf sandwiches with cheese melted on top. Looks like I’ll be making another meatloaf soon, but that was a given anyway.