From an email to my Grandmother, who asked for my Meatloaf recipe:
There are two kinds of cooking. Science based, where you follow a specific recipe with exact ratios and measurements and ingredients, and art based, where you just kind of slap stuff together and go with your gut.
I am much more of the artistic chef.
One egg and one slice of bread (shredded) for each pound of ground beef. Then throw an extra egg in (example: 4 pounds of ground beef, 4 slices of bread, 5 eggs). Also, I prefer 90% or higher ground beef, otherwise there’s waaaay too much fat that cooks out and it turns into a mess.
Add a “healthy” amount of ketchup.
Spice heavily with whatever is around. I like Salt, pepper, oregano, some cinnamon, maybe some paprika.
Add in vegetables. Onions, peppers, carrots, asparagus… kind of whatever you want here.
Drop it all in some sort of container with reasonably high walls (so the fat doesn’t leak out when it’s cooking) and mold it into a “loaf” shape.
Take some very thin slices of butter and place them liberally across the top. These will melt and keep the top from drying out.
Set oven to 350. It probably needs about 45 minutes, but check it after 35 minutes or so, cut into it, and use your best judgement.
Take it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes (if you move it too quickly it will lose structural stability), then move it to a new container. (If you leave it in the current one, it’ll sit on the fat that burned off and that will be gross when it cools)
Cut a slice, splatter some more ketchup on it, and eat!