Tips for making a terrific meatloaf

Meatloaf has long been a standard main dish in America, and according to
John Mariani, was first seen in print as early as 1899. For many, meat loaf is
an ultimate comfort food, bringing back pleasant childhood memories of family
meals. There are many ways to cut the calories and enhance the flavor of
ordinary meatloaf, from tasty additions to spicy toppings.
Ground round is the best choice if you're using beef for your meatloaf,
since excess fat in fattier ground meats is absorbed by breadcrumbs. Use soft
bread crumbs in place of dry for a moister meatloaf, or substitute grated potato
or carrots for a portion of the meat, which will also eliminate some of the
calories. Baking the meatloaf on a rack will keep it out of the fatty
drippings. Sharon Tyler Herbst, author of "The Food Lover's Tiptionary," recommends
making your own pan by piercing holes in an inexpensive loaf pan then setting
it on a rack in a baking pan.

Another great thing about meatloaf is you can bake it in the oven,
microwave, electric roaster, or crock pot. Truly, the only limit is your imagination!
If Mom's basic meatloaf has lost its appeal, create your own with some of the
tips below.

Tips and flavor-enhancing ideas:

a.. For more flavor and a juicier meatloaf, add about 1/4 cup of tomato
juice, wine, or broth for each pound of meat.

a.. Bake in muffin tins or mini-loaf pans for individual servings.

a.. Use leftovers sliced in sandwiches or crumbled in sauces or chili.

a.. Replace some of the liquid in the recipe with red wine or dark beer.

a.. Add a cup of grated or shredded cheese to the meatloaf and top with more
cheese about 10 minutes before it's done.

a.. Replace liquids with red wine or dark beer.

a.. Make the finished meatloaf extra fancy by frosting with mashed potatoes
and topping with cheese; return to the oven and cook until the cheese is
melted.