Building A Legacy: Part 1 of 3 - Mom's Meatloaf

This is a three-part series on building a legacy for your family. It is about preserving family traditions, creating memories, and readying your family for the inevitable in a loving and responsible fashion.

Part of being a homemaker and homesteader is stocking up my children with good childhood memories. From crawfish boils to collecting eggs in the morning, I love to fill up my children’s memory banks with magnificent memories. There memories, like mine, are filled with moments and not “things.” These moments take place when the ordinary becomes the extraordinary in their little minds.

One ordinary thing – my meatloaf—has become extraordinary for my little ones. They love my meatloaf! They would eat it every day of the week if I let them. The other day, my daughter and I were discussing some of her favorite foods that I make for them. I had recently unearthed my recipe box with old recipes that had been curated from my younger years. There were some good recipes, but my cooking has certainly evolved over the last 20 years. What was missing were my most recent memories and many of my kids’ favorite meals.

And then I realized that part of establishing a legacy, for my family, at least, is the memory of food. I have many fond memories of childhood meals that my mother made me, but I don’t have the recipes. I don’t even think she had recipes, but I remember my mother made the most amazing pancit (a Filipino noodle dish), but I did not know how to make it myself.

Thus, began my little recipe box project. I asked my children what some of their favorite meals were, and then I wrote out the recipes and put them in the recipe box for them. When I’m no longer here, and my children or my children’s children want to experience a taste of mom, all they have to do is pull out the old recipe box. This is a gift I give to the Wilson/McClellan legacy, and is another way that I demonstrate my love for my family.

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Recipe:
Heidi’s Memory-Making Meatloaf
2 ½ lbs Ground Beef (80/20) – the fat ratio is important
1 cup panko , regular bread crumbs or also works well with gluten-free breadcrumbs
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp onion power (or used sauteed onions; my kiddos don't care for onions...but they will eventually!)
1 tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ground beef, panko, onion, eggs garlic salt, salt, pepper and ¾ cup of ketchup in a large bowl. Mix until well combined and the meat holds together well. Coat a cooking dish with cooking spray. Shape the meat into a loaf shape (let the kids help!). Top with half a cup of ketchup and spread over the meatloaf evenly (another great job for the kids!). Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Let set for 10 minutes, slice and serve.
If you try this and have a tip or some feedback, I’d really appreciate it. I’ve been working on this recipe for some time, and while the flavors vary, the mixing of the meatloaf and the amount of time you do it for is important. If you don’t mix well enough, it may fall apart when you cut it.

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