Comfort Food - Meatloaf

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Winter is comfort food season. There is something about the cold howling wind and long nights that make me crave warm, comforting dishes. On these nights I don’t want an aggressively crunchy salad, or complicated dish with tons of ingredients and steps, I want a dish that warms my heart and soothes my soul.

I have a whole list of sentimental foods that fit the bill. They tend to be something from childhood, easy to digest, soothing and as easy as a pair of fuzzy slippers. They are home-style dishes and not complex “cheffy” recipes.

The great thing about comfort food is that it varies from culture to culture, person to person and day to day and everyone has their own dish compiled from family favorites.

For me, the comfort comes as much from preparing the food and smelling it as it cooks as much as it does from eating the actual dish. There is something very heart-warming about preparing food for myself and my family. No matter what the day has done to me with my crazy job, long drive home from work, traffic jams, winter weather and modern life in general, making a comforting dish heals the soul and invigorates the appetite.

My husband’s favorite birthday dinner is meatloaf! His birthday is in January or “deepest darkest winter” as he calls it, and he craves warm-welcoming comfort food. Dennis is a professional chef and can certainly make or ask me to make anything he wants and meatloaf is at the top of his birthday dinner list.

I like to make individual meatloaves instead of one big loaf and that way, everyone gets their own.   I call it my Loaves of Love.  The other advantage to individual loaves is that if you try to reheat a larger loaf, it tends to dry out. I like to make my meatloaves with ground beef because of the way beef stands up to the bold and tangy ketchup and I guess, it is what I grew up with and is most comforting.

The Meatloaves are glazed with my Homemade Ketchup and served with a mound of Olive Oil and Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes .  Making your own ketchup is easy and fast to put together and just a little bit of work will yield ketchup that is tastier and better than any store bought product.