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There's nothing more cozy on a cool, crisp fall evening than a nice, hot plate of your favorite comfort food. And what could be more comforting than a luscious meatloaf like grandma made, slathered in ketchup and paired with a hearty starch and buttered veggies?
Ina Garten's meatloaf recipe checks all the boxes of what you'd want in a perfect fall dinner: It's tasty and juicy, meaty but light, and doesn't require a special trip to the farmer's market — you've probably got all the ingredients you need in your kitchen right now.
Quentin Bacon, Adobe Stock / Sunny studio
"Ina's recipe for meatloaf was wonderful," one reviewer wrote in the comments of the Food Network recipe. "Moist, delicious and easy to prepare"
Best of all, it's easy enough for a cooking newbie to make. As long as you can figure out how to crack an egg, you'll be turning out her meatloaf like a pro.
"What beginner wouldn't want to make meatloaf?" Garten asks in her Instagram video for the recipe.
A couple tips: Use Heinz ketchup if you can to cover the loaf, since it's got that sweet nostalgic flavor that's perfect for a comfort dish — though you can always improvise to suit your family's palate, of course. (Buy it: $2.89 at Target)
"This is the recipe I ALWAYS use. 100% a crowd pleaser!" another reviewer wrote in the Instagram comments. " I mix my ketchup with some light brown sugar for the top!"
And don't go too crazy on mixing the ingredients when you get to the hand-mushing stage — overworking the meat will lead to tough and rubbery meatloaf when you want light and fluffy. Plus, you should take Garten's advice and fill a baking pan with a little water and slide it into the oven with the meatloaf as it cooks. That'll prevent the top of the meatloaf from cracking and help ensure your meat is moist.
"I have used this recipe and my boys love it," another person commented on Instagram. "I pair it with roasted small Yukon potatoes with lemon, garlic, thyme, olive oil and butter top with Parmesan"
Or you could pair Ina Garten's easy meatloaf with our buttermilk mashed potatoes or garlic-and-Parmesan roasted carrots. If you're feeling more adventurous, sub in smashed parsnips for the usual taters.