Ruth has made so many of these over the years she can tell when the meat loaf is finished baking just by looking at it. "There should be cracks in top and the juices are kind of yellow, not pink. And if you are lucky enough to have some leftover biscuits, use them instead of bread."
Cold meat loaf makes great sandwiches or try this quick method for using leftovers: Cut the meat loaf into 1-inch cubes and fry them in a little oil over medium heat until they're heated through and browned.
- 2 cups day-old bread (Biscuits, are perfect,otherwise, use good-quality white bread)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 3 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 2 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons tomato puree
- 5 large eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Place a pan of water on the lowest rack. Set the other rack in the center of the oven.
2. Crumble the bread into a large bowl. Pour in the milk and let stand, mixing once or twice,until the bread has soaked up the milk.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the soaked bread except the 3 tablespoons of tomato puree. Mix well with your hands, making sure there are no lumps of unmixed bred or meat.
4. Place the meat on a deep baking sheet and pat it with your hands into a loaf shape about 6 inches thick. Smooth the outside. Spread the 3 tablespoons of tomato puree over the outside of the loaf. Bake on a rack in the center of the oven until the juices from the center run clear, not pink, about 1 hour. Drain or spoon the fat from the pan occasionally during roasting to prevent to prevent the meat loaf from becoming greasy.
5. Let the meat loaf stand about 5 minutes before serving. Slice the meat loaf into 1-inch thick pieces and serve with Meat Loaf Gravy.