1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck (80% lean)
1 medium (or half of a large) onion, chopped
1 medium (or half of a large) green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (I use my food processor to make crumbs, but you can pinch tiny pieces up with your hands, or use store-bought crumbs. You can also use quick oats or saltines.)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Ketchup for the top (or glaze – see recipe below-make 2 hours in advance)
Saute’ onions and bell pepper in skillet with a little canola oil until they’re softened; allow to cool. Mix eggs, ketchup, milk, breadcrumbs, salt, onion powder, and pepper into a mixing bowl and beat with a fork or whisk; add cooled peppers and onions; stir together. Add ground chuck. Gently mix with hands until combined. If you can roll a meatball that holds, there’s enough bread. If it still seems too “crumbly” and wet, you might need a few more bread crumbs.
Shape into a rectangular loaf in a 7×11 or 9×13 baking pan, and cover with ketchup (or glaze), even rubbing it on the sides. Bake @ 350 for about an hour and 15 minutes. Ovens vary, so just keep an eye out so it doesn’t burn, but you want it kind of brownish/caramelized on the ends and sides..it makes it better. Remove it from baking pan by using a couple of large spatulas (might need to cut it in half first), to prevent it from reabsorbing the grease that has developed. You can also carefully dip out the grease instead of removing. Allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing. This meatloaf will feed 3 or 4 adults, with possible leftovers.
Note: For a bigger crowd, I usually double this recipe. Also, you can substitute the ketchup and milk for one cup petite diced tomatoes, but it may take a little less bread crumbs if you do.