7 Meatloaves That (Might) Beat Grandma's Best

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Food can bring back so many different memories from childhood — family meals around the dinner table, weeknight dishwasher duties, Mom’s failed attempt at homemade sushi — but it’s hard to beat the comforting tastes and memories that come with a slice of meatloaf.

Let’s face it: Meatloaf is basically a giant meatball, and no one is mad about that. Juicy ground meat and soft veggies only get better with a big dollop of that classic, sweet sauce. But just like every other classic dinner, there are tons of new spins on the original recipe, like vegetable-packed versions and even meatloaf muffins. Read on for some new ideas on how to take this hearty classic to the next level.

Photo by: Jason Clairy ©Clairy Productions Inc.

Jason Clairy, Clairy Productions Inc.

There’s bacon on top — need we say more? If the bacon doesn’t sell it, the tomato relish will. It’s got all of the classic flavors of a meatloaf sauce, but with some fresh ingredients and great texture. Everything comes together for a sweet, salty, tangy feast.

If you want the kids to eat it, make it mini. Rachael Ray takes cues from this tip for her Meatloaf Muffins, which feature a smoky barbecue sauce on top and creamy smashed potatoes on the side. Plus, since they’re mini, they’re ready in a cinch — dinner’s on the table in less than 30.

For a completely new spin, try this garlic-smothered loaf that’s made with three different kinds of meat. A Spanish onion reinforces the garlic flavor, while flat-leaf parsley and thyme leaves add a bit of freshness to the mix. Be sure to make extra garlic sauce — you’ll want to put it on everything.

The guys made this one together, and the result of their efforts is a meatloaf unlike the rest. It includes beef, pork and lamb as well as saltines, Greek yogurt and their cool Mint Tzatziki sauce on the side.

At only 270 calories per serving, this meatloaf is a great way to get anyone and everyone to eat their veggies in a familiar meal. The balsamic glaze enhances the flavor of the meat, so no one will even know about the extra vegetables.

If you’re looking to make something that tastes like Grandma’s meatloaf, but you can’t get your hands on her top-secret recipe, start with Ree Drummond’s take. The sauce is made with ketchup and brown sugar, while Parmesan cheese brings some tanginess to the inside of the meat.

Ina Garten’s turkey adaptation takes only 15 minutes to prep before you can pop it into the oven and move on to figuring out how to secretly save a piece for lunch the next day. Ina says that keeping a pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf keeps the top from cracking.

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