A well-made meatloaf represents comfort food at its finest, a moist and tender main dish that's also frugal and easy to make. The only problem with it is that many cherished family recipes make a 2-pound or even a 3-pound loaf, much too large for smaller modern households. It's possible to cook a large loaf and freeze the leftovers, but it's easier to simply divide the large recipe into quick-cooking 1-pound loaves.
Things You'll Need
Small loaf pan, or larger baking dish
Freezer bags (optional)
Cookie sheet (optional)
Prepare the meatloaf mixture according to your favorite recipe. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Divide the mixture into 1-pound portions. Knead the first portion lightly, then pack it into a small loaf pan and mold it into a domed cylindrical shape. If you prefer, you can shape it instead into a log and bake it in a larger casserole or heatproof baking dish. Shape the excess portions into logs and freeze them, either in freezer bags or individual loaf pans.
Brush the top of the meatloaf with a sauce or glaze, if you wish, and place it in the preheated oven. If the loaf comes close to filling the pan, place it on a cookie sheet to catch any potential drips or overflow.
Check the meatloaf for doneness after 20 minutes, by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the loaf. It's done when it reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If necessary, return the loaf to your oven for another five to seven minutes.
Remove your meatloaf from the oven when it reaches the correct temperature, and let it rest for five to 10 minutes before slicing and serving it.
Small 1-pound meatloaves can be cooked at a lower temperature of 300 F to 325 F, if you prefer, for 10 to 12 minutes longer. This gentler cooking minimizes moisture loss as the meatloaf cooks, yielding a moister and juicier end result.