Meatloaf! Making, Freezing, and Small Batch Options!

Meatloaf - It's supposed to taste good, not look pretty :)

Meatloaf - It's supposed to taste good, not look pretty :)

I received an email from one of my readers recently asking me how I make my meatloaf. You know after that email I was craving me some good old meatloaf!

Its such a simple meal, and quite homely, but still so darn good! I often think my mother makes it purely so they can have meatloaf sandwiches with the leftovers the next day!

One of the great things about meatloaf is the versatility in making it ahead of time. You can form a meatloaf in a size to feed a smaller number and freeze individual ones, either before baking or after, for convenient anytime meals. Keep on reading for more!


Now you don’t have to buy lean beef or ground chuck for meatloaf, but it will help you to have a less greasier outcome so I usually get one or the other when I make mine. If you use regular ground beef, just strain off the juice (a nice way of saying “grease”) when  you pull it out of the oven and you’ll be fine :).

You’ll need: 2 lbs ground beef, a can of Hunt’s Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf, 2 eggs, and 1 Cup oats (quick or old fashioned).

I love this Hunts stuff. I try not to endorse a specific brand on a lot of things but I gotta tell you, this stuff is awesome. I could literally drink it from the can. Yes that sounds gross but if you get it and don’t at the very least dip a spoon in to taste it I’m going to be awfully disappointed in you. Go ahead, no one is looking. If they are, then you are kinda late getting supper going, aren’t you?

Speaking of being late getting supper going. Meatloaf is an excellent dish to make ahead of time. I usually make two meatloaves at at time and freeze one. When ready to bake, just pop your frozen meatloaf in a cold oven and then turn it on. It thaws out while the oven is preheating and then just needs to cook for about fifteen minutes longer and you’re all set!

If you are cooking meatloaf for a smaller bunch (two people or so), you can always separate it into mini loaf pans. One recipe will yield about four small meatloaves. Freeze the ones you don’t need for a quick main course on another night!

A great hint when freezing meatloaves is to line your pan with aluminum foil. When the loaf is frozen remove it from the pan and wrap tightly in foil or place it in a zipper bag and return it to the freezer, leaving your pan free to use. When its time to bake your meatloaf, pop it out and put it back in the original pan – it fits perfectly!

Yet another thing to do with meatloaf is to bake them in little muffin cups. Once done, allow to sit in the muffin pan for about ten minutes before removing to cool. Place those you don’t need in a freezer bag and then you can simply heat them in the microwave or pop them right back in the muffin pan, top with fresh ketchup, and heat up in the oven!


Place your meat, eggs, and oats in a mixing bowl.


Add the entire can of meatloaf sauce.

I know the wrapper says just to add half the can but Mama and I like to add it all in there.

This creates an incredibly flavorful and moist meatloaf.


Moosh all of that up together well with your hands. If the very thought of mixing, mooshing, and blending ground beef with your bare hands bothers you, feel free to wear latex gloves.

I actually keep a set of those  yellow heavy duty gloves in my kitchen. I marked “meat” on them with a permanent marker and wash them really well with hot water and dishwashing liquid after each use. I don’ t use them often but sometimes if I am making up a large batch of meatloaf and the meat is straight from the refrigerator, the coldness just makes my hands ache! My gloves come in handy as an insulating layer on those days :).  This also works when I am making meatbals with overly cold meat and such.


Once it is well mixed, place it in your pan and pat it down to form your loaf. I am using an 8×8 pan here.

This is going to make enough meatloaf for two meals for us.


To help it all cook evenly, take a knife and cut down the center of the meatloaf…


Like this.

This is a little trick Mama told me about a while back that will prevent your meatloaf from being all done on the outer edges but still pink in the center.


You can leave the topping off if you like and sometimes I do, depending on my mood.

Isn’t it fun to have whims every now and then? Makes me kinda feel like Zsa-Zsa. For this tutorial I went ahead and added some ketchup on the top and spread it around a bit.


Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour. The can instructions will say to bake it for thirty minutes at four hundred but I like to go a little slower for a little longer.

Plus, I have never in my life seen a meatloaf truly done after half an hour.


Have you ever tried to take a pretty picture of meatloaf? Oh the trials and tribulations of my life! ~laughs~

Let your meatloaf sit in the pan for about ten minutes before cutting slices, this will help keep it from falling apart.

Special thanks to Cynthia of Chicks and Cubs for asking me about meatloaf and prompting this tutorial!

  • 2 Lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can Hunts Seasoned Meatloaf Sauce*
  1. Place all ingredients (including entire can of sauce) in a bowl and mix up very well with hands. Form into loafe and place in an 8x8 pan or make smaller loaves and place in mini loaf pans, muffin pans, or two regular sized loaf pans.
  2. If making an 8x8 loaf, score a "t" down the center with a knife before baking. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. *If you can't find Hunt's Meatloaf seasoning where you are, you may substitute 15 ounces tomato sauce, ½ onion finely chopped, ½ chopped bell pepper, and salt and pepper to suit your personal taste. Unfortunately, our Wal Mart has quit carrying Hunt's meatloaf seasoning but I have found it at the local Piggly Wiggly and the people are so very nice there!

I just finished watching the episode of Little House On The Prairie where Caroline stayed up all night using the fabric she had bought for her new Sunday dress to make a dress for Mary and Laura as a surprise for the Visitor’s Day at school. Laura stood up when it was her turn to read her essay for the school event and read a story about how wonderful her mother was and how much she loved them, telling how she had sewn all night to make their new blue dresses instead of making one for herself. The only thing was, Laura couldn’t write beyond a kindergarten level and she only pretended to read all of that because it was what she wanted to write so badly. Never can watch that episode with a dry eye.

I think the would world be a better place if everyone watched Little House on the Prairie more, don’t you?


My Little Legacy

photoBrady got A Honor roll again! Go go gadget Brady!

Last week, he and I had an evening out together and as he was placing a fry in his mouth, he paused with it mid air and said “Ma, you know, if you ever die, you don’t have to worry about Southern Plate. I’ll keep it running for you and I’ll post all the recipes and instructions.”

I smiled and told him I knew it would be in good hands. Hopefully he won’t be taking it over anytime soon, but nice to know my baby is prepared to carry on the family dynasty!


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  1. jeanette atha says

    I love meatloaf but can never get mine to taste as good as other peoples. I’ll have to try yours, it sounds wonderful. When you cut down the meatloaf do you cut all the way to the bottom?

  2. Grace says

    I love your recipes and have followed you for a while now.
    I am writing to tell you I love Little House on the Prairie too…
    one of my favorite shows. And yes, the world would be a better
    place if more people watched it.

    Keep those recipes coming!


  3. Sue Wilkins says

    My daughter makes her meatloaf just like this but uses a sleeve of Ritz crackers crumbled up instead of the oats. It is soooo good.
    I love Little House on the Prairie too. My Dad was born in 1905 only a hope skip and a jump from where they lived.

  4. Deb says

    Do you use the same temp and baking time if you do two 1-lb meatloafs and one 2-lb meatloaf? I like the idea of two, but was thinking it would affect the time. And do you put them on the middle rack or use top and bottom?

    Love that meatloaf, and the idea of freezing one for later!!

  5. Betty819 says

    Never seen the Hunts Meatloaf sauce, will have to look for it the next grocery store day. I often wondered if you could mix up all your meatloaf ingredients and freeze in smaller portions; we tried your Italian meatloaf recipe on Saturday using either 1 1/2 or 2 lbs. ground chuck, and used milk chunky salsa and it was delicious but we had to eat meatloaf all week. I finally threw the rest out when I cleaned out the refrigerator leftovers on Wednesday. I know that was wasteful but next time, I’ll make it in those smaller loaves..and freeze the rest. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

    • Betty819 says

      Just went to the kitchen and added the Hunts meatloaf sauce to the grocery list pad so I don’t forget it!

      I had a male neighbor that would make their meatloat in an 8×8 pyrex brownie dish, so they ate squares of meatloaf all week or for at least several days. Said when it was in squares, easier to dish up on a plate with other leftovers and heat in the microwave when they got home from work and everybody was starving! I’ve heard of making the meatloaf into muffin pan; same concept as my neighbor’s. Also it is another way to use portion control.

  6. Lisa Weaver says

    I cam across your blog and recipes and tried this one out. It was extremely good. I made it in little muffin pans and we loved it! Especially leftovers! I found that Hunts makes the dinner starters sauce now and that is where the meatloaf sauce is. I found it at our local Tops (just a chain store supermarket). The label looks like this now

    Thanks again for the recipe!


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