The Case of Clueless Chef

No, it’s not lasagna!


Looks a little anemic, I know…

You see, this is what happens when my wife goes to a bridal shower, we have a pound of thawed ground beef that has to be cooked today, and I’m left to my own devices. As some of you may know, it’s only been recently (coming up on two years) that I’ve been made an ‘honest’ man and entered the state of wedded bliss. Before that, for twenty something years, I was a bachelor.

A bachelor who lived off whatever sustenance the George Foreman grill and frozen dinners could provide.

Anyway, I got to thinking of things I could make from ground beef…..besides hamburgers….and came up with meat loaf. I like meat loaf and my wife makes a heck of one, so I figured I’d give it a try and surprise her when she got home.

Step one was….look up a meat loaf recipe. Easy enough. Doing a search for “easy meatloaf recipes” brought up one on It looked simple enough….


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1/3 cup ketchup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, egg, onion, milk and bread OR cracker crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and place in a lightly greased 5×9 inch loaf pan, OR form into a loaf and place in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. Mix well and pour over the meatloaf.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour.

After an exhaustive search to see if we had all the ingredients, which we did except for breadcrumbs but I could improvise, I went to work. Seeing as we didn’t have any breadcrumbs, I opted for some crushed up Ritz Crackers.

I had read another recipe that called for celery, so I deviated a bit and decided to chop some of that up along with the onion. Now, it called for a whole onion and as soon as I got to chopping it….I knew it was going to be too much.

But what do I know about cooking?

I get it all chopped, mixed, put it into the pan and add the top glaze stuff. It didn’t look half bad and I was anxious to see how it was going to turn out after an hour. I gave it about an hour and a half, just to make sure it was thoroughly cooked, and then took it out.  I had, amazingly enough, remembered to grease the pan so getting it out was no problem. It was a little loose and I can only guess that was due to not having bread crumbs, though it still held together fairly well.

I took a picture and sent it to my wife.

Her reply was “What is it?”

When I told her, she seemed excited to give it a taste. In the meantime, I cut a couple of slices for myself and found it….

….a little bland.

I then remembered the part in the recipe calling for salt and pepper…which I had, in my rush, totally skipped over. I also meant to put a bit of garlic powder in and forgot that too. It was too oniony, which I sort of expected…that was a lot of onion. It overwhelmed the celery completely. The top glaze was really good though and, if I put some salt on it, the whole thing wasn’t half bad for a rookie.

Of course, I had to brag when my wife got home and I told her it wasn’t bad with improvised bread crumbs. She then asked “Why didn’t you use these?” and proceeded to pull a full can from the pantry.

I don’t care what you think, they weren’t there when I looked!!

Anyway…..bon appetit!!



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