Frozen meals are great if you can remember to take them out of the freezer and defrost them in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before you want to serve. I am guilty of forgetting to take things out of the freezer and then having to change dinner plans because our dinner is still frozen. This meatloaf recipe just solved that problem - it goes right from the freezer to the oven - no defrosting! I found this recipe for Make Ahead Meatloaf from the 2011 February/March issue of Cooks Country. I decided to give it a try so I went out and bought 3 disposable loaf pans and went to work, making 3 meatloaves to stock up my freezer for busy nights.
Make Ahead Meatloaf
2 teaspoons oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
28 saltine crackers
1 3/4 pounds bratwurst, uncooked, casings removed
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Heat oil in skillet. Add onion and cook until browned. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Process saltines in food processor.. Transfer to bowl with onion mixture. Pulse beef and bratwurst in food processor until just combined. Add meat mixture, cream, eggs, yolk, mustard, Worcestershire, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper to bowl. knead until combined. Press mixture into 3 disposable 8” loaf pans.
Place plastic wrap on the top of the meat and around the pan. Wrap a second time with aluminum foil. Label pans and freeze for up to 1 month.
Unwrap 1 meatloaf and set it in a roasting pan. Put pan on middle rack in the oven and pour boiling water into pan until water reaches 1” below the top of the meatloaf pan. Bake 40 -50 minutes or until temperature reaches 150. I used the probe that is attached to my oven to ensure that the meatloaf was cooked through, but any thermometer will do.
Whisk together glaze ingredients in saucepan and simmer until thickened.Remove meatloaf from oven, turn out onto foil lined baking sheet and cover top and sides with 2 Tablespoons of glaze. Turn oven to broil and broil loaf 5-10 min. or until glaze begins to brown.
Transfer to serving platter, tent with foil and let rest 20 minutes before serving. Pass remaining glaze at the table.
There was a split decision of this meatloaf. My daughter loved it so much that she ate 3 servings. My son didn't even finish one portion. I thought it was really tasty. The bratwurst gave it a nice smoky flavor and the broiled glaze added a hint of sweetness. (My husband was out of town so he didn't get to weigh in on the meatloaf decision.) The other two meatloaves are still in my freezer and now that I know how easy they are to take out and bake - I can't wait to serve them. This is a great meal for a busy night.
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