Appetite For Instruction: Kathleen's Meatloaf

Kathleen Ellington of Kathleen's Sky Diner

After 21 years in the restaurant business, Kathleen Ellington can spot a trend. The energetic redhead behind Kathleen's Sky Diner knows what's coming, what's going and what's here to stay...at least for a little while. That's why she and her husband Robert overhauled their place on Lovers Lane back in 2007, transforming neighborhood mainstay Kathleen's Art Café into a "fresher and newer" version of itself. It's all about keeping up with the times.

And in times like these, Kathleen knows that comfort is king. She notes that lately guests have been gravitating toward the flavors of home, perhaps due to certain not-so-comforting economic events. Or maybe it's just because her meatloaf is so damn good.

"It's the most notorious thing we do here," she explains. Whether served in a sandwich or simply sliced with a side of spuds, this meatloaf is a feel-good classic. The key to her legendary recipe? The brown sugar-laced glaze.

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°. Combine the following in a large bowl and mix thoroughly:
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 small onion, finely diced
½ cup each red bell pepper and green bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp each ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp salt and 2 tsp black pepper

Step 2: Sauté a small amount of mixture in a hot pan until cooked through and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Step 3: Pack mixture into a loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature is 145°.

Step 4: Combine glaze ingredients and whisk until smooth:
1 15-oz. can tomato puree
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper

Step 5: Brush over top of loaf and bake 15 to 20 more minutes or until internal temperature is 155° to 160°. Allow meatloaf to rest 10 minutes before slicing. It's not your Mom's, but it's close.

[No step by step photos this time; they prepare oversized batches because sales are so strong.But the finished product looks good]

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