italian-style meatloaf (and meatballs)

this is only my second try at meatloaf since it does not tend to be a favorite dinner at our house.  when i stumbled upon this particular recipe, though, i developed a sudden craving for it.  and, i'm glad that i did because it's quite tasty!  after dinner david looked at me and said, "this is my favorite dinner since huevos rancheros" and that made me smile because this is what cooking is all about...pleasing the people you love (and the people you write for!). this recipe is great because you can either make one large meatloaf or a smaller meatloaf and 10 large meatballs to freeze for an exceptional pasta dish later on.  knowing me and my love of leftovers and preparing things in advance, i am sure you can guess what route i took!  i hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

italian-style meatloaf:

adapted from cooking light

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  combine 2 pounds of 85/15 ground beef, 1/2 cup of tomato-basil pasta sauce (we used trader joe's brand which is our favorite), 1/2 cup italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, 4 cloves of minced garlic, a large bunch of freshly chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 large egg whites in a large bowl. shape beef mixture into a 8 x 2-inch loaf on a baking pan coated with cooking spray and then, using the rest of the meat, roll large meatballs and place them next to it (should be enough to make about 10).  bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees.

cut loaf into slices.  place meatballs in freezer dish or bag, allow to cool, and then freeze for up to one month.

so, i changed up the menu a bit and served our meatloaf with asparagus...1. because we ate all of our root vegetables over the weekend and 2. because the asparagus looked too good not to buy! and yummy tuscan dinner rolls with butter.  mmmmm!