This 2-for1 recipe is what our family uses to make both meatloaf and meatballs. A great go-to recipe for both of these classic Italian dinner dishes.
This classic meatloaf recipe is a no fail way to use ground beef.
What to serve with meatloaf for dinner?
Mashed potatoes are always a great choice. Check out my sour cream and chives mashed potatoes recipe, it's delicious!
Add a roasted or steamed vegetable and/or salad and dinner is complete!
This meatloaf is freezer friendly.
You can freeze this two ways — raw, then you'll need to thaw it and cook as directed. Or go ahead and cook the meatloaf then freeze it. Then just thaw the meatloaf, slice it and microwave it by the slice for about 1:30 - 2:30 minutes or until warmed to your liking.
This meatloaf recipe doubles as a meatball recipe.
All you have to do is instead of forming a loaf, just roll the beef mixture into 1" or 2" meatballs and cut the cook time down. For 1" meatballs, they can be done in about 30 minutes. 2" meatballs might take closer to 40 minutes to cook all the way through.
You can leave off the ketchup and you do not need to cover the meatballs.
How to cook meatloaf in the crockpot.
Form a loaf and place in the center of your slow cooker. Cook the meatloaf in the crockpot for 6 hours on low or until meat has cook through to the center. You can tell the meat is cooked when its no longer pink.
How to cook meatballs in the crockpot.
Form 2" meatballs and place them in the slow cooker close together without touching. Cook on low for 2 hours or until meatballs have cooked through to the center.
Try making turkey meatloaf or meatballs.
You can use ground turkey instead of ground beef or, as I prefer, a half and half blend of ground turkey and beef. Using turkey is a great way to cut fat.
Choose a lean beef.
OK, you don't have to choose a lean beef. However when you cook meatloaf most of the fat is going to cook out of it anyway. So by starting with a lean mix of ground beef, you'll have less grease to drain away.
Experiment with different fillers.
To keep your meatloaf moist and to ensure it binds together you need to add milk and some sort of filler to the meat mixture. Typically bread crumbs are a classic filler choice. You can even make your own bread crumbs (check out my How to Make Bread Crumbs from Toast tutorial here) . However you can also add a different flavor and texture by using something other than bread crumbs for your filler. You could use crumbled crackers, cooked rice, or even instant oatmeal.
Want more delicious dinner ideas?
This classic meatloaf recipe was featured on Menu Plan Monday!
Classic Meatloaf and Meatballs
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper OR 4 oz can green chilis (adds mild spice)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder OR use ¼ cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic poweder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 3-4 tablespoon ketchup
- Knead all ingredients together and form into a loaf.
- Spread a thin layer of ketchup over top.
- Cover & bake at 350˚ for 1 hour or until meat is brown all the way through. Drain off grease as needed.
I did modify this recipe just a bit. First I had so much ground beef that I doubled the recipe. If I thought ahead of time, I would have taken out Italian sausage and use that with the ground beef just for a little added spice. I also cut up about 2 cups of celery because I like it so much and I cut up one large red bell pepper. I also cut up Monterey Jack cheese to get it used up and I cut it into cubes about a quarter to a half inch squares and put it inside the center of the meatballs. It would’ve worked in the meatballs two but this time I wanted meatballs. It’s getting ready to be put in the oven right now and I’m excited to see how good it turns out. Oh yeah, one other thing, I put in about a half a cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese with breadcrumbs.