meat loaf, gin & ina


i want to be like ina garten.  aka the barefoot contessa. do i really need to explain why?  she is perfect and that is what i strive to be.  well, not really, but you know what i mean.  her effortless way of putting recipes together, arranging flowers, helping gweneth in the kitchen, celebrating jeffery.  you all know jeffery, i assume.   i love that she can talk her way around her kitchen, nyc and paris.  but i think what inspires me the most about her is that she had a career in the white house but turned around and bought a specialty food store without having any experience.  she pushed herself and had tons of support.  i love that.  just the thought of breaking out of routine inspires me.  For example,  i actually like turbulence on airplanes because they shake me out of my day-to-day trance. i appreciate them. 

so let’s get to it, fulford. 

first the recipe.  it’s a barefoot contessa recipe obviously.  it was one of my goals this year to come up with a couple (first rule of goals, be specific) signature dishes i can get props for when we have company.  i think this may be one of them.  mini- meatloaves.  i fixed it once and got rave reviews – it was as a practice before my sister-in-law and brother-in-law came to visit.  susan is a wonderful cook and has entertained rof and me several times at her house in new jersey.  she, like ina, effortlessly whip together some fine, fine food so i was out to return the favor.  however, when i cooked this recipe,  i put those plump little loaves on a baking sheet that has no sides – it’s just a flat sheet.  we’re all in the kitchen when we smell something then open the oven and a huge wahft of smoke comes out because all the juice that should have been inside the meat was pouring all over the place.  not like ina.  farumph.  then i figured out that i couldn’t roast the broccoli and cook the meatloaf at the same time because it was different temperatures.  double farumph.  susan nuked the broccoli and i put a drip pan under the meat loaves and on with the show.  they were so m.  please guess what the m word is because i don’t say that word or use it in writing.  these babies are scrumps and not like your typical heavy, bready, thick meatloaf.

From the Food Network, click here for website

Individual Meat Loaves

2005, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

  • Prep Time:
  • 30 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Level:
  • Intermediate
6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup canned chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
  • 2 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (recommended: Heinz)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don’t mash or the meatloaf will be dense. Divide the mixture into 6 (10 to 11-ounce) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf on a sheet pan. Spread about a tablespoon of ketchup on the top of each portion. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees F and the meat loaves are cooked through. Serve hot.

now for the drink.

how many of you out there are gin drinkers?   come on girls, you can admit it.  no worries.  if you are then you probably love hendricks gin.  i love their tagline “it’s not for everyone”.   In addition to the traditional juniper infusion, Hendrick’s uses Bulgarian rose and cucumber to add flavor. Hendrick’s gin is bottled in a dark brown apothecary-style bottle.

I was first introduced to the gin when we were in new york staying at the metropolitan club (niceness!)  and my wonderful rof (reference here) took me next door to the two E bar at the pierre hotel for a game of gin rummy (we’re addicted) and their proprietary gin gin, a delicious blend of hendrick’s, canton ginger liquor, cucumber puree and ginger ale. oh the divineness!  rof has since recreated this for me at home for a saturday night out on the town prepper.  everything but the cucumber juice because it is not easy squeezing a cucumber and you really don’t get that much juice.  try it… you’ll likey.

lastly, pop some mini meat loaves in the oven, sip a gin gin, kiss your man and listen to this.  before you know it, it will be the weekend!

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