Meatloaf is a real budget breaker that gets a bad wrap in sitcoms but is actually the perfect family meal - cheap, easy and kid friendly. As we enter the cooler months we start to enter my favourite comfort food territory so here's my meatloaf recipe perfect for those nights in.
All the better is that most of these items can be stored in the freezer or bought cheaply making it a great option to stretch out the budget or just keep yourself filled at the end of the month. For staple foods like this I have no problem with buying the cheaper grocery options as you can see from the pictures making this meatloaf coming in around $10 to easily serve 4 portions.
500g mince lamb or beef
250g middle bacon
1.5 cups breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Get a large mixing bowl and put the mince meat into the pan. I prefer lamb for meals such as this, it mixes well with the bacon and has a higher fat content than beef but if you have fussy kids beef is just as good and will taste more like hamburger.
Dice the onion into very small pieces and grate the carrot - this is a great way to hide vegetables from fussy kids. If you think they won't eat carrot substitute for a second onion because you want to retain the moisture. Place the vegetables in the mixing bowl with the meat.
For the bacon buying cheap bacon is actually for the best, you want a high fat content to render through the mince meat as it cooks so middle bacon with lots of streaks is perfect. Don't use Picnic or Short cut bacon as this won't render and look for higher fat content bacon - often the cheapest is the best for this recipe. Cut off the rind and dice into small pieces.
Place the diced bacon in the mixing bowl with the wet ingredients and mix.
Season as you go, when the ingredients are well mixed through add a cup of breadcrumbs and knead with your hands or two wooden spoons.
When it is complete it should look similar to uncooked hamburger.
Place into a loaf tin, if you've made too much it is okay if the mixture mounds over the top of the tin because it will shrink slightly as it cooks.
You should still be able to see the sides of the tin however. You do not need to line the tin with paper or oil as the fat from the meat will stop the meatloaf from sticking to the tin.
Wrap the tin in foil and place into the oven for an hour at 180 C
After an hour take the meatloaf out of the oven and remove the foil, return to the oven for an additional 10 mins to crisp up the outside before serving.
Don't forget to run a knife or plastic spatula around the side of the meatloaf before attempting to remove and slice. Serve with your favourite vegetables and gravy or mustard.