Four days of rain and much cooler temperatures means that Sunday dinner isn't going to feature a cold soup (my favorite Gazpacho?), a salad, and something grilled. Instead I thought about making something more suitable for cooler weather.
I decided on my favorite family meatloaf recipe. It started out as my mother-in-law's, although I don't think she'd recognize it with all the added garlic. We never have many leftovers and everyone wants seconds, so I think we've gotten it right. It's really easy.
Slice 3 large onions into thin half-circles and chop 10-12 cloves of garlic. Saute the onions in 2 Tbs. of vegetable oil until soft and golden. Add the garlic, continue sauteing until brown with some dark spots. Add some water or broth if it seems dry. Mix half the onion mixture into four pounds of ground beef (I use chuck, 80% lean -- it seems too dry if you use a super lean blend) with 2 tsp. Kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. ground pepper, and the liquid from a large (28 oz.) can of Italian plum tomatoes. Form into a meatloaf in a large pan (10x13"). Mix the rest of the onion mixture, the tomatoes (smashed a bit), and one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce. Pour the sauce over and around the meatloaf. Cover the pan with foil and bake in a 350 oven for 90 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes to brown the loaf.
If you want to serve the meatloaf now, you will want to skim the fat from the sauce before serving. Otherwise, cool everything, wrap the meatloaf in foil, and refrigerate the sauce in a covered container. Before serving, remove the fat from the sauce and, if you like, blend it in a food processor to make a smoother sauce. Then heat the meatloaf covered in foil (I slice it first) and heat the sauce separately.
We always serve this with mashed potatoes and a salad. Leftovers are delicious reheated, cold, or in a sandwich.