Meatloaf

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Meatloaf, The best kind of Comfort food.
Story and Photos by Isabel Vera

Cooking is the easiest way to bring together and feed a family. Lucia Vera, a St. Mary’s alumna, has always believed the act of cooking food was a way to provide for her family.

This notion was inherited from her mother who not only taught her how to cook but also about the significance of taking on this role.

“I like cooking all types of food from traditionally Mexican food, Chinese, Italian, American, and even Indian food,” she says.

Coming from a family of 13, she learned that cooking was an act of labor and love and that it brings people together.

“I remember watching my mother roll out tortillas and make enough for all of my brothers, sisters, dad, and herself to have every day,” Vera says.

Vera chose an American comfort food that would be quick to make and to prepare. With St. Mary’s being her alma mater.

She wanted a simple and easy dish to serve and eat. Spring time at St. Mary’s is known for Oyster Bake and that annual event is full of simple foods.

Vera wants to replicate this simplicity with a spring time dish people could enjoy quickly.

“I not only like to cook multiple types of dishes but I like many different types of food and like to infuse that in my daily meal preparations,” she says.

“There are definitely dishes that I like to cook that have cultural significance but this dish does not have any special significance other than it being a comfort food. It is just a nice simple meal to make and eat,” Vera explains.

Meatloaf has many variations such as either topping it with gravy or with a tomato-based product, or even choosing to add certain vegetables like onions.

Although it is a recipe that essentially has you “mixes meat and a few spices and vegetables,” the way the product tastes depends on preference and experience with the dish.

Vera’s advice is to add certain spices such as pepper and salt along the way and not just at one time.

She also advises to put foil on the meatloaf to control how the meatloaf cooks.

Taking off the foil at the 45 minute mark will “brown” the top half of the dish to allow for a more appetizing meatloaf.

Vera suggests to add some side dishes with meatloaf such as mashed potatoes to compliment it.

“Meatloaf by itself can be boring but adding just a simple side dish can make a huge difference. Cooking is a joy of mine that I hope to pass down to my daughters just as my mom did for me,” Vera concludes.

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 lbs. of ground beef
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup of oats
  • 3 tsp. garlic
  • ¾ cup of diced bell pepper
  • ¼ diced onion (optional)
  • 1 tsp. of black pepper
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 2 (6 oz) can of tomato paste
  • 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dice the bell pepper and onion. In a mixing bowl mix the ground beef, eggs, oats, garlic, salt, and pepper into one raw mixture. Add in the bell pepper and onion. Mix in tomato paste and tomato sauce. Spray Pam in the pan that being used for the meatloaf. Place and press mixture firmly and evenly into pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 ½ hours. Take out of oven and let cool down. Makes 15 servings.

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