Foods, Family Recipes, and Memories: Mama’s Meatloaf

Foods, Family Recipes, and Memories:

Mama’s Meatloaf


Meatloaf… a staple food of the South and definitely not cooked the same way in the North! Hubby made this one – note all the bacon he piled on top!

Mama’s Meatloaf Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I usually use 80/20%)
  • 1 small to medium Vidalia onion – chopped – feel free to use more
  • 2 slices American Cheese – torn in pieces
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup (remember I love Ketchup)
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal or a smidge more… (it’s a judge thing)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt & pepper
  • bacon slices (optional)


The Meatloaf Ingredients…

I mix all my ingredients usually in the same dish I bake in – saves on dishwashing. Spray first with Pam, then dump all ingredients in. Just like mama, I mix all together with my hands and form into a meatloaf shape. Hubby works completely different from me, he preps all his ingredients in measuring bowls… me I just chop and throw right in!

If you make more than one, you can cook them both in the same dish. Sometimes I add chopped potatoes and carrots around the loaves and surround them with water to cook veggies. Near the end of baking time, I’ve even added peas or beans. I learned that from the mother of my husband’s best friend. We had stopped over and when she took her meatloaf out of the oven with the veggies on the side…. it looked and smelled so good. I didn’t refuse an invite to eat! There is no set rules for making meatloaf and how to cook it! Every family has their own specialty! Let me hear yours!!!

After forming your meatloaf, lay slices of bacon on top if you are a fan of bacon… like we are in our house. Hubby likes lots of bacon on top as you can tell by the picture above! Sometimes I even add a few squirts of ketchup on top of the bacon. I recently read about sprinkling brown sugar on top of the bacon…. Hmm, might just have to give that a try in the future.

I have never gone by an exact recipe for Mama’s Meatloaf… it all depends on how much ground beef I’m using, then judge other ingredients by that. Often I make extra so I can freeze one for another day. I like the end slice… extra crunchy… and I’ll make smaller loaves just so there are more crunchy ends for me. I’ve seen where some form their meatloaf mixture into large meatballs and cook in muffin tins so there is extra crunch all around; I haven’t tried that yet, but I plan too!

When you have two grandparents with farms, you have plenty of vegetables in the summer; we always left with a bag full of everything! Mama never bought vegetables in the store, all our fresh corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, string beans, black-eyed peas, butter beans, okra, and even peanuts came from there; I never left without a watermelon either, as granddaddy Bryan had the best watermelon patch, growing both red and yellow melons. He always had one waiting for me by the back porch… first thing I looked for when we ’rounded the back corner of the driveway.

What did mama usually serve on the side with meatloaf…. a big bowl of the best tasting “creamed potatoes” you’d ever sink a fork in; Mama never called them mashed potatoes! They were always so smooth and creamy, no lumps…. guess that’s why she called them creamed potatoes. In the South, “creamed potatoes” go with everything! Mama never called them Irish potatoes, she would say Iced potatoes…. not sure why or how that pronunciation came to be…. but I’d definitely lose the battle in trying to correct her!

When I moved to Connecticut, I quickly learned that all meatloaf is not created equal! No one made meatloaf like Mama’s, they made it more like a meatball mixture… guess that was the Italian way! All their food was so new to me and my Southern taste buds didn’t jive with those Northern foods for a long time. But I have to say that now after 46 years here, my taste buds have changed and I love Italian food and cook the specialty holiday dishes quite well; the family has told me often through the years that I cook them as well as they do, if not better…. now that’s a compliment! I’ve never forgotten my Southern food favorites, and when I’m home, I hunt them down… and I’m never satisfied until I’ve eaten them all!

My mother-in-law made meatloaf quite often, but I learned quickly that she never made it twice the same way… she also had no recipe! It was usually whatever she had at the moment, as to what went into her ground beef. It was good, but not Mama’s!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my “meatloaf” story, memories and recipe… now let me hear yours!


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3 Responses to Foods, Family Recipes, and Memories: Mama’s Meatloaf

  1. Evelyn Smith says:

    Haven’t made meatloaf in a while but I don’t make with cheese, Ketchup or bacon. I do use either breadcrumbs or Oatmeal and eggs. No particular recipe just what ‘feels’ right and I use Tomato paste to top mine. As for vegetables, I like corn and green butter beans. I also have potatoes, either mashed or creamed. I use an electric mixer to make creamed potatoes, just like Grandmother Grace did, with butter and milk. More than not, though I just do the mashed potatoes and add a bit of milk and butter.
    Now I want some meatloaf.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the recipe and the story..will save the family recipe…sounds yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

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