One of Pepper’s favorite dishes: Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes 😋

Apparently, Pepper Sisson’s wife hasn’t meatloaf and mashed potatoes in a while, so she may need to work on that! 🤣😂

I LOVE this meatloaf recipe from the Bell’s Best Cookbook. (My Bell’s Best has been used so much it is in about 10 pieces but I manage to keep it together with a rubber band! HA!) Just about everything I have ever tried out of that cookbook has been great! I have altered this original recipe to account for our personal preferences, mainly because I do not like sage!

Gwen’s Meatloaf that Pepper LOVES

1 sleeve of crackers, crumbled (the original recipe says 2/3 c. of day old bread crumbs or 2 slices of toasted bread, crumbled)

1 cup of milk

½ cup or more of onions, chopped

1 ½ lb. of ground beef

½ cup of bell pepper, chopped (I don’t always use bell pepper.)

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp. salt

Dash of pepper (the original recipe says pepper, thyme or oregano – we like pepper)

(The original recipe said ½ tsp. of sage or poultry seasoning – but I do not add that)

(The original recipe also adds 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings – I do not have a “drippings jar”)

For the sauce:

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

¼ cup ketchup

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp dry mustard

Soak the crackers or bread crumbs in the milk; add meat, eggs, onions and other seasonings. Mix well. Grease the loaf pan with bacon drippings. I use a glad pie pan or make the “loaf” into thick patties and use them on a pan with a built in rack. Form a loaf and cover with the sauce. For the sauce, combine three tablespoons (or more) of brown sugar, the ketchup, nutmeg and dry mustard. Mix well and spread over the top of the meatloaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Then, I will cut up the potatoes (I LOVE Yukon Gold potatoes when I can find them!) so that all they will require is placing in the pan of water to boil for 30 minutes. We add four large pats of butter and a splash of milk to our mashed boiled potato cubes. I like firm mashed potatoes and Pepper likes them a little more “liquidy,” so if he is in charge of mashing the potato’s, he gives them two or three splashes of cold milk while I object loudly! (But I am grateful he is taking an interest in cooking these days!!!)

We love it! Usually, I prep this as part of my weekend meal prep adventures. I will mix the meatloaf ingredients together in a glass bowl with a lid. I will mix the sauce and store it separately. I also cut up the potatoes on meal prep day, just to make it all a little easier to deal with on the day we plan to have it for supper, which would typically be the next day, because I want my hamburger meat to be as fresh as possible. If I plan to have this meal later in the week, I will put the meatloaf in a ziploc bag and put it in the freezer. I make sure to remember to set the frozen meatloaf out of the freezer the night before we plan to eat it, so it will be easy to mold into a loaf, the pie plate or patties — whatever I plan to cook them in that night.

I am so paranoid about meatloaf not cooking all the way through, I prefer the pie plate or patty cooking method and kick it up to 400 degrees for an hour if need be. I like the pie plate, so the meatloaf can soak up the grease a little, because it gives it such a great flavor. I use the patties a lot more these days to reduce the grease a little. It is also a little easier to make patties if I froze the meatloaf.

So, do y’all make meatloaf and mashed potatoes on a regular basis? I would love for you to share your recipe below!

Meal prep Sunday afternoon

I LOVE colorful peppers in an omelet or for our stovetop version of Chicken Fajita Casserole-ish.

This has changed my life! I wish I had known about meal prepping 20 years ago!

Weeks that I can’t do this ends up with a lot of take out!

Every Sunday, I try to cut up an onion, peppers, and potatoes. Sometimes, yellow squash. I boil a few eggs and wash a head of lettuce.

When I am being ambitious, I prep breakfast casseroles and mix up a meatloaf and tuna patties.

I will also put together the ingredients for a crockpot meal for Monday. We take roast beef tips and add onions, carrots salt and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom! YUM! The potatoes are cut up and soaking in a jar of water in the frig. Pepper pours off the water in the jar, add the potatoes to a saucepan and covers with fresh water.

Let it boil and in 20 minutes, they are ready for milk and butter and salt to be mashed together. Pepper pours the roast over the mashed potatoes and thinks he is a chef! (And I wholeheartedly encourage his inner Jamie Oliver! A man that can cook is super sexy! Well, I am going to keep saying it until Pep believes it, anyway!!) He sings and dances in the kitchen. He certainly enjoys it more than I do. I am hoping this is a new hobby for the sweet one!

Sometimes I make my own fajita seasoning, other times, McCormick works just fine!

Some people pre-cook their meals for the week. I haven’t evolved my meal planning to that point. I will cook one of the breakfast casseroles, but we will eat it the next morning (and the next). Personally, I would rather have food freshly made. But prepping the ingredients helps me want to make a homemade meal in the middle of the week when I am tired and do not care anymore.

I think this only works if you have a weekly menu.

Where has this idea been all of my life?