Posted in Being Healthy, Cooking

The Closet Italian makes Italian Meatloaf and Meatballs (Momentum/PointsPlus 5)

My passion is cooking, but my bliss is cooking Italian…anything Italian. Since I happened to swing by the specialty grocery store today, I went ahead and picked up the ground veal and ground sausage (both organic and corn free) to make Italian meatloaf.

Now most folks know meatloaf as that hearty, budget-saving dinner staple: a ground beef, egg, ketchup, bread crumbs and spice mixture, perhaps with some diced veggies thrown in and a quick ketchup or bbq sauce carmelized (or burned) on top. Yep, I sure love that too. My PaPa’s recipe is still our family favorite.

But this is Italian meatballs made into a mini-loaf; it’s also much more dense than traditional American meatloaf. And it’s also perhaps the second hardest recipe for me to transfer. You see, there are no measurements…none, whatsoever. So I’ll do my best with guidance.

The thing to remember is that if you mix and combine to your taste, there’s little chance of going wrong.

Ingredients (this comes from the very first time I made this):

  • 1 lb ground beef (for hearty flavor and density)
  • 1/3 lb ground pork (for sweetness and fat)
  • 1/3 lb ground veal (for the smooth, silky texture)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce (make your own GF/CF/SF with this recipe)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 1-2 T each: basil, oregano, hot red pepper flakes (depends on how you like the flavors)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Dump all of this into a large mixing bowl. Wash your hands thoroughly. Using your hands, mix and blend and squish everything together, working the mixture for about 5 minutes.

Now, here’s where the rubber meets the road in making meat mixtures…you need to taste it…yes, while it’s still raw. This is why it is so important to use organic meats, local if you can get it so you know exactly where the meat comes from. Just a tiny bit, now, to make sure you’ve got a pleasing blend of herbs and spices.

And now come the options. This is originally an Italian meatball recipe, but is wonderful for a variety of presentation options:

  • Meatballs–shape very small spoonfuls into 1-inch meatballs and bake at 350 for 30 minutes
  • Meat Muffins–shape into 3-inch balls and bake in a sprayed muffin tin at 350 for 30 minutes
  • Meatloaf–shape into a log or in a loaf pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes (for mini-loafs as well)
  • Meat Cut-outs–“roll” out the meat mixture to 1-inch thick (or just pat it out with your hands if you want) and cut out with large, simple cookie cutter shapes; this is great for getting kids to eat meatloaf. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
  • Stuffed Meat Loaf–select a “filling” such as any sauteed veggies (or combination), cheese, nuts…or all of these mentioned. Using half of the meat, make a “bowl” and fill with your filling. Shape the remaining meat over the top and seal the seam well. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

And then there are the sauce options. Tonight, I’ve gone “nude,” but typically I’m a classic Roman when it comes to dressing my Italian meatloaf…it has to be traditional Roman marinara: roasted tomatoes, anchovy paste, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. I’ve had a couple of requests to share my marinara technique, and I will; just waiting on my local fresh tomatoes to come into season. When that happens, I’ll buy about 60-80 pounds of tomatoes and make about 4 gallons of basic marinara. I use this as spaghetti sauce base, bolognese base, in cabbage soup, in gumbo and jambalaya, in taco soup, and more!

Italian dishes to come: traditional Roman marinara, risotto (northern Italian), homemade pasta (egg, no-egg, whole wheat, flavored), white/cheese sauces, and more!!!

This recipe made six (6) mini-meatloafs for 5 points each, Momentum or PointsPlus.


If you've had my cooking or heard me sing, you've shared some of the happiest and most memorable moments of my life. But if you've been lucky enough to listen to me sing while I cook, well, then you've seen the real me. And if you've sung and cooked with me, you know what being loved by me is!

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