This has been the most difficult post to write so far. I nearly killed us with this but learned an extremely important lesson. I was using beef, pork and turkey for the first time so I wasn't sure how it would look when done. I decided to use the rest of a small jar of pizza sauce brushed over the meat loaf. There was a bit more than I needed but I thought it would mostly evaporate while the loaf cooked so I poured the whole jar on. I brushed it a bit to make sure all sides were covered but left a thick blob on top. I thought it would melt and run down the meat as it heated up. I inserted the meat thermometer into the centre of the loaf and put it in the oven. It took about an hour and a half to reach 165ºF so you would think it must be fully cooked once the centre is done. I served up some slices and Fern said it's far too pink, it's not done. "It got to 165ºF in the centre, it has to be done." I had an end piece and a centre cut. Fern had the two in between. The two end cuts were cooked but the top of my centre cut was raw. How could that be?
I went back and examined the meat loaf. The blob of pizza sauce was still a blob of pizza sauce unchanged from it's application. It has stabilizers and thickeners that don't melt so instead it formed insulation to top of the meat and prevented it from cooking. I put the loaf, sans sauce, back in the oven and finished cooking it. I was extremely lucky we didn't get sick. I think that speaks to the cleanliness and quality of the meat I bought at Safeway. Once it was cooked it was wonderful, maybe my best so far. From now on I won't assume meat must be cooked, I'll take it's temperature if it doesn't look right.
I like meat loaf and we haven't had it for a while so I bought ground pork, beef and turkey (instead of veal). Fern asked for mashed potatoes, I guess we've had rice quite a bit lately. I wanted broccoli and carrots but when I reached in the fridge for the broccoli, it was gone. Frozen peas instead.
I sweated to golden a diced onion and a few cloves of garlic. I mixed up the meat and seasoned it with salt and black pepper. I chopped up about a tablespoon of fresh rosemary and added a tsp or two of dried thyme. I mixed in the onion and garlic, formed into a loaf and covered with tomato sauce. It would have been difficult to sear the sides without breaking the loaf so I didn't try.
After it's second stint in the oven the meat was finally cooked. Ordinary mashed potatoes and fresh carrots with frozen peas completed the plate. I used one of Fern's 'ketchup' condiments, anything tomato based will be fine.
I'll definitely make this loaf again but pizza sauce won't find it's way into my cart again.