Comfort for the Coast: Monday Meatloaf

Laureen Pittman's Monday Meatloaf recipe is a finalist in "Emeril's Comfort for the Coast" contest. The winner of the contest will travel to New York next week to prepare his or her recipe on "Good Morning America." The contest focuses on comfort food recipes because many people turn to food in times of crisis and chef Emeril Lagasse lived in New Orleans. He owns three restaurants in the city.

The Story of Monday Meatloaf

My dad was Superman. He canned vegetables, made jams and jellies, cooked huge Sunday breakfasts, beautiful gourmet meals and everyday hash. The kitchen was his domain. The smells and the hustle drew me into the kitchen every night and every weekend. We had meatloaf almost every Monday, so our Monday meal fondly become known as Monday Meatloaf. Over the years, I've tweaked the ingredients a little, but the basic recipe has remained the same. Just mixing the ingredients with my hands evokes wonderful memories in the kitchen with my Dad. Now Monday Meatloaf is a favorite of my sons!

Directions for Monday Meatloaf:

Meatloaf:

1½ lbs ground beef (20% fat)

½ lb ground pork

2 eggs

½ cup milk

1 tsp onion powder

½ tsp celery salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground mustard

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp dried thyme, crumbled

¼ tsp rubbed sage

1 tsp salt

2 medium carrots, shredded fine (or process in food processor until resembles breadcrumbs)

1 cup dried breadcrumbs (plain)

Sauce for Topping:

½ cup tomato catsup

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Pinch (or more, depending on your taste for spice!) cayenne pepper

3 slices cooked bacon (cooked through, but still limp, not cooked crisp)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Crumble beef and pork in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the next 11 ingredients and mix well with a fork so that eggs and milk are thoroughly combined with spices. Add the egg mixture to the meat and mix gently with a fork to disperse the egg mixture into the meat. Add the breadcrumbs and carrots and combine all ingredients thoroughly -- your hands are the best tool for this job! Once the meatloaf mixture is combined, shape it into a loaf in a 9 x 13 inch shallow baking pan. Shape the loaf with your hands to resemble a loaf of bread, but do not let the meat touch the sides of the pan (this will allow the meatloaf to brown beautifully on all sides and will give the fat space to drain away from the meat). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the meatloaf is cooked through (165 degrees).

While meatloaf is cooking, combine the catsup, honey, mustard and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well.

During the last 15 minutes of cooking, top the meatloaf with the sauce and bacon. Coat the top of the bacon with a little sauce, so it does not burn.

Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. It's best served with mashed potatoes!

Serves 4-6 people