Monday, April 8, 2013

Little Cheddar Meatloaves

Dad, on the left, with his brother in the sixties
     Some of you may have wondered if I fell off the face of the earth.  My father became ill last summer and for the past nine months my life has been centered around caring for him at home.  He fought a long and courageous battle but with the help of friends, family and Hospice, my prayers were answered and we were able to keep him with us, in his familiar surroundings, with his cat on his bed, until he passed away at the end of March.  I want to thank all of you who are still checking in on my blog, trying the recipes and leaving such nice comments.  Sitting at my computer was a bit of a luxury and I'm sorry I couldn't reply but knowing you were still out there gave me a big lift. 
     Dad loved life, laughter and good food.  He had more enthusiasm than anybody I know and was so supportive of us in all of our endeavors, especially my dutch oven cooking.  He'd start the day asking what we were having for dinner and loved testing my new recipes.  He'd tactfully offer suggestions when needed, relishing in his new role as food critic, and I came to rely on his opinion before posting a recipe on my blog. 
     I wanted to honor my father in some small way by preparing one of his famous recipes in my dutch oven.  Dad was a master griller, deep dish pizza maker, breakfast chef and he cooked with a smoker long before it became popular.  When we were young we jumped for joy when he made us his delicious 'footballs'.  Basically, he'd form ground beef patties into the shape of footballs, cook them under the broiler and serve them with a side of canned B and B Mushroom Sauce.  We thought we were eating filet mignon at a five-star restaurant. 
     This recipe for Little Cheddar Meatloaves is a big more lavish but much the same in principle.  The original recipe calls for 8 little loaves but I wanted them to be more substantial and made four in my 10 inch oven.  Don't be alarmed when you form them into 'footballs', it makes a wet mixture, however, they bake up into the moistest, juiciest meatloaves I have ever tasted.  They baked for 45 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 24 on top.  After 20 minutes I removed some of the center coals and finished them off with the remaining briquettes in a ring around the outside of the lid. 
     I must confess, I was a little nervous at first firing up my coals today, it's been a while, I had to carefully think about the steps of dutch oven cooking again.  It's been a perfect spring day for backyard cooking, sunny and in the sixties, I know Dad would have loved this recipe and I think you will too.  

Little Cheddar Meatloaves
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp mustard

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Beat together egg and milk.
     Stir in cheese, oats, onion, salt and pepper.
     Add ground beef and mix well.
     Shape into 4 loaves and place in prepared dutch oven.
     Combine ketchup, brown sugar and mustard.
     Spoon topping over loaves.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until meat is no longer pink in center.
     Makes 4 servings.

Shape meat mixture into little 'footballs', then cover with sauce

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

This one's for you Dad


  1. Condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father. I am, however, happy to see you back!

    1. Thank you Becky, it did feel good to cook outside again, Liddy

  2. So glad to see you back. Sorry to hear about loss of your Dad. We'll send a few prayers your way for you and the family.


  3. Thank you for your kind words Scott, Liddy

  4. I ran into your blog several months ago, and have enjoyed it so much-so sorry for your loss.
    this looks awesome! Kathy

  5. Welcome back, Liddy. You have been missed. Thank you for honoring your father, both with your dedication to him and for this post. I look forward to trying this recipe.

    1. Thank you for your kindness Paula, it is nice to know you are missed, Liddy

  6. Missed you so glad you are back. My heart goes out to you. I have lost both of my parents. It will always hurt, but try to keep those wonderful memories in your heart. I have printed many of your recipes, I check often. Good Luck in the future.

    1. Thank you Jeanne for your comforting words, I'm so glad you've found some recipes you like, Liddy

  7. I will echo all before me, sorry for your loss. Experience the same thing with my dad and even though it was thought to watch, he did not want to be in a hospital. Good to be able to honor their last wish.

    Cooking again will be good for you.

  8. Thank you so much Moon, very sorry to hear of your loss, you can always feel good about caring for him at home. Liddy

  9. Lid, I am so glad you are back! As a newbie I really missed you as you are my number one go to for wonderful things to cook in my Dutch oven!

    That said I am so glad you were able to spend such precious time with your dad. He must have been a wonderful fellow, but be assured he will live on in your heart forever! To all things there is (sadly) a season, but to spend times with those you love and treasure is such a blessing. God bless you all!

  10. Thank you Bob, your comforting and kind words mean a lot, Liddy