From the Chef: Traditional Meatloaf


By Mark Marques

It is fall and I am feeling a bit nostalgic. I recently had a birthday and was thinking back to my childhood. One meal I really liked as a kid was meatloaf. It was delicious and hearty and a true comfort food. I decided to do my own take on this classic.

I created this recipe with the flavors that to me are really tasty with an added update of what my tastes were as a kid. I hope you like this easy recipe. It is great to make ahead and then bake it when you need it. Or bake it right away and take it with you to the tail gate party or as a dish for a pot luck. This recipe makes two meatloaves so you can cook them both and then freeze one for eating in the future. I think that you will really enjoy them if you bake them the night before you need them, and then to re-heat them, slice them fairly thick and place on a grill to re-heat! This will add another depth of flavor and you can even add your favorite sauce to them! Or put them on a bun with some cheese, lettuce and tomatoes for a great sandwich! I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you would like, please email any questions or comments to or to the editor at

(As with all recipes, read completely through. Get all of your ingredients and utensils together and then proceed.) 

Meatloaf Mixture:

  • 2 Lbs. Ground Round or Ground Chuck (85/15 Lean)
  • 1 Lbs. Ground Pork
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 3 Cups Fresh Bread Crumbs (Panko Breading is ok if you do not have fresh)
  • 4oz Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 Small Onion Diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Gloves of Garlic minced
  • 1 Tsp. Italian Herb Blend
  • 2 Tsp. Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • ½ Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper 

Seasoned Topping:

  • ½ Cup Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 Tsp. Coarse Kosher Salt 



Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in the vegetable oil for 5 minutes, until softened. Add in minced garlic and the Italian herb blend and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a Kitchen Aid mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk and stir until bread crumbs are moist. Add in eggs, and stir to combine. Add in the cooked onion mixture, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Romano or Parmesan cheese, and mix well. Add in ground beef and ground pork and mix until well blended. 

Using two loaf pans or two 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pans, place half of the meatloaf mixture in each pan. Using your hands press the meatloaf mixture evenly in each pan. Be sure to press all the way out to the edges of the pan and ensure the pans are filled evenly. Top each of the meatloaves with a ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt and ¼ cup ketchup. You can spread the ketchup evenly or create a design on the top. 

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until the center of the loaves show 160 degrees using a meat thermometer. Remove the foil cover for the last 10 to 15 minutes so the top browns nicely. Remove from oven when done and let sit for 15 minutes prior to removing from pan and slicing.  Serve this with mashed potatoes and seasoned corn or corn on the cob for a hearty and delicious meal. You can also make this recipe a day ahead and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. Be sure to take it out of the fridge for about 20-30 minutes prior to baking so it comes to room temperature a bit prior to baking. 

This recipe freezes beautifully and is also a smart way to plan ahead for meals. Cook both loaves and freeze one for a later date. Be sure to properly cool the unused meatloaf prior to freezing. When needed, thaw it out in your refrigerator for a day or two and reheat in the oven until center comes up to temperature. 

If you have any left overs, the meatloaf can be sliced for amazingly meatloaf sandwiches the next day or over pasta with your favorite sauce instead of meatballs or sausage. You can also place the meatloaf slices on the grill if you cut them fairly thick and are careful when turning them over, to re-heat.

Mark Marques is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School in New York City. He graduated with Top Honors. Mark has several years of experience in the Restaurant industry starting when he was kid working at his parent’s Italian Restaurant, Ducci’s, in Colorado. After serving in the US Navy, Mark attended culinary school and went onto work in some of the busiest eateries in the New York City, including in the Lincoln Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the South Street Seaport and Pier 17. Mark has also run restaurants for Club Med as well in his current city of Las Vegas. Please feel free to contact Mark at this newspaper with any questions concerning food, liquor, beer, wines, and cooking tips.

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