Summer Cooking: Savory Meatloaf (Includes Solar Cooking Option)

by Texas Homesteader ~
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Meatloaf is a versatile comfort food and we enjoy it often. The recipe below uses a standard oven, but I often use my solar oven during the heat of summer.

Either way – just mix ground meat with eggs, breadcrumbs & a few seasonings and you’re good to go. And I say go ahead, make TWO while you’re at it! 

I'm cooking up our favorite comfort food - meatloaf! I'm using my solar oven to cook it but the recipe includes standard oven directions too #TexasHomesteader

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We’ve been dealing with quite the heatwave here in NE Texas. And much of the country is in the same grip of summer heat too.

When it’s this hot outside I try to keep the cooking heat out of our home. For me, that means I’m using my solar oven almost every day. (have I mentioned how much I love that thing??!!)

Today I’m sharing how I used my Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking to whip up two large loaves of meatloaf.

Sure, I used my solar oven to do the cooking. But my recipe below uses a conventional oven. So whichever method you choose, you’re guaranteed to get a delicious meaty comfort-food entrée with plenty leftover for the freezer too for quick heat-n-eat suppers another night.

Meatloaf Is a Versatile Entrée

I make meatloaf often. Since I’m making two meatloaves at one time I’m utilizing Planned Leftovers. That’s where I intentionally cook up more of a main dish than we’ll eat with plans of remaking it into different dishes later. 

We’ll enjoy hearty slabs of meatloaf for supper, supplemented with a few sides. Then I’ll slice up the remaining meatloaf and freeze it into meal-sized servings.

Sometimes I’ll pull a serving of meatloaf from the freezer to enjoy as meatloaf another night. But other times I’ll bring it out and chunk it up for spaghetti, quesadillas or other things. Meatloaf is a great prepared entrée to have ready & waiting in the freezer!

Mixing Up The Meatloaf

To make my meatloaf I pull out my ground meat from the freezer. I’m using ground wild pork today because we always have that in our freezer. Feel free to use whatever ground meat you have.

I add this meat into a large bowl with the other ingredients except the ketchup. So I’ll add egg, chopped onions, breadcrumbs and a few seasonings.

I'm cooking up our favorite comfort food - meatloaf! I'm using my solar oven to cook it but the recipe includes standard oven directions too #TexasHomesteader

Now using clean hands I mix it all together thoroughly. Then I divide the meat mixture into two glass pans and I’m ready to cook ’em up!

If you’re using a conventional oven, just bake your meatloaves at 350 degrees for about an hour. You’re looking to get the meat to 160 degrees to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly.

Solar Oven Cooking Option

Although the recipe below is for traditional oven cooking, today I’ll be loading these loaf pans into my *Solar Oven.

*About My Solar Oven: For those of you asking, I have a Sun Oven brand solar oven and I LOVE IT!  If you’ve been waiting to get a solar oven of your own – now’s the time!

Because of the moist heat and the power of the sun, it’s nigh impossible to actually burn the meatloaves in the solar oven.

So the amount of time spent inside the solar oven isn’t as important as the meat’s internal temperature attained at the center of the loaf pans.

My Sun Oven solar oven cooks food outside using the power of the sun. #TexasHomesteader

Tracking Meat Internal Temperatures

Ground beef needs an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. I’m able track the meat internal temperature  easily using a meat probe.

Back in the day I used a *meat temperature probe that connected to a little display box. It would beep at me when the selected internal temperature was attained.

Since then I’ve discovered a much better Bluetooth version of meat thermometer and things have gotten even easier!

This *Meater Meat Probe reports directly to my cell phone, which is nice when dealing with a solar oven.

This keeps me from having to go outside each time to check temps or realign the oven. I love this thing!

My *Meater Meat Probe tracks the internal temperature of the meat as well as the ambient temperature of my solar oven.

When I see the ambient temperatures begin dropping I know it’s time to go out & adjust the oven’s direction to repoint it directly to the sun.

Solar Cooking The Meatloaf

So I slide my meatloaves into my solar oven and adjust the angle to where the solar oven is pointed most directly toward the sun. (This is made much easier with the Sun Tracker Cube option on my solar oven)

I'm cooking up our favorite comfort food - meatloaf! I'm using my solar oven to cook it but the recipe includes standard oven directions too #TexasHomesteader

I check my temps occasionally and take an opportunity to re-adjust my oven as the sun moves across the sky.

About 1.5 hours later, my meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. This solar cooking time can vary based on how strong your sunshine is, how much cloud cover is present and how often you adjust your oven to follow the track of the sun.

I bring in my meatloaves and spread a little ketchup on top of the loaves. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle dried herbs, a couple of drops of Worcestershire or a drizzle of honey into my ketchup before spreading it across the loaves, but all of that is optional. Then I pop them back into the solar oven for about 10 minutes just to set the glaze.

Dinner is served!

Now I bring my meatloaves into the kitchen and allow them to rest while I put together my sides.

When it’s so hot outside I often pair it with a cool sides. Such things as pasta salad seasoned with fresh herb bombs, raw carrots, sliced cantaloupe, sliced boiled eggs and a few homemade refrigerator pickles. Delicious!!

Plus after tonight’s meal I’ll have many more servings in my freezer. So when RancherMan & I drag our tired bodies into the house after a long, hot, grimy day in the pasture, I’ll have plenty of heat-n-eat options as close as my own freezer.

No need to start from scratch every time you enjoy a home-cooked meal…  Aaaah the joys of having already-prepared homemade entrees in your freezer! It’s my best tip for serving Homemade Meals Daily The EASY Way!

Use shortcuts to have homemade meals every day the EASY way! #TexasHomesteader

Here’s my meatloaf recipe for oven baking. It makes 2 large loaves:

4.67 from 3 votes
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Savory Meatloaf (makes 2 loaves)

I like to make several meatloaves at a time as part of my Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking. This meatloaf is one of RancherMan's Faves! #TexasHomesteader

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword batch cooking, ground meat, meatloaf
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 2 loaves
Author www.TexasHomesteader.com

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground meat (I used a mixture of ground beef & ground wild pork)
  • 2 carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1.5 - 2 cups)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced (I use 3 cloves, we like garlic!)
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-4 tsp Herb seasonings of choice (I used 2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp roasted ground coriander, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/4 tsp garlic powder )
  • salt & pepper To Taste (I used 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper)
  • ketchup for topping optional

Instructions

Directions:

  1. Into ground meat add all other ingredients except ketchup and mix with hands until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  2. Separate meat mixture into 2 glass loaf pans and pat into a firm loaf, gently sloping to the sides. This helps drain off the fat.

  3. Bake in 350 degree oven for about an hour or until meat is brown & fully cooked (thermometer inserted into center of meatloaf should read 160 degrees.)

  4. Remove meatloaves from oven & spread ketchup on top of the cooked loaves and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

NOTE:  If your ground meat is very lean, it could result in a more crumbly meatloaf.  It's helpful to add another egg and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs for each pound of extra lean ground meat used

Looking For Other Solar-Cooking Recipes?

You can see our other SOLAR oven articles here

~TxH~

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2 thoughts on “Summer Cooking: Savory Meatloaf (Includes Solar Cooking Option)

  1. Farmer Phyl

    4 stars
    Now that it’s just hubby and me left at home, it takes a while for use to eat a full size meatloaf. Have found that jumbo muffin tins make the perfect helping of meatloaf. Cooks much faster in either the oven or the sun oven. Leftovers can be easily frozen in a Ziploc bag. Then when we want meatloaf, just bring out the number of muffin size servings you need. Once they’re thawed it only takes a minute or two to warm in the microwave. Easy.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Thanks for sharing. I used to do this when the kids were home. It got supper on the table fast, and was already made into serving sizes. I remember I used to stuff the little meatloaf muffins with cheese – the kids loved that. I suppose you could stuff these muffins with more grown-up things like sauteed peppers/onions with the cubes of cheese. Thank you so much for sharing this tip, I know it will inspire many to give it a try! ~TxH~

      Reply

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