Continuing in last week’s vein, I’m not sure if I should be surprised or insulted.

Also on the 13 forgotten classic foods list is traditional meatloaf. Meatloaf is one of my favorites and not forgotten in my house.

It’s too bad the Cheat Sheet didn’t poll me for its list. I checked the website and couldn’t find the facts behind their findings.

By the way, the Cheat Sheet describes itself as “dedicated to providing audiences the information they want in an approachable, entertaining way.” The Cheat Sheet adds, “We want you to save time and live more, so we closely follow, research and write about topics to bring you the most up to date guides, reviews, lists and advice.”

Based on the accuracy of the forgotten-ness of their list, I’m glad I didn’t have to pay to read it.

Meatloaf can be a quick, satisfying meal, with leftovers going into the lunchbox; and if your family is on a budget, it’s inexpensive.

My basic meatloaf is slightly unconventional. I prefer using old-fashioned oats in place of traditional breadcrumbs. I'm not a fan of the dense texture breadcrumbs give to ground-meat recipes, so I usually use oats whenever crumbs are called for.

This recipe is so user-friendly it can be dressed up in a number of ways. For one of my Alpha Pi sorority forays into fixing dinner for the Valley’s senior centers, we used the following recipe and made single servings by baking individual meatloaves in muffin tins. 

So, take meatloaf off the forgotten list and make it soon.

Here’s my version, but feel free to dust off your own family recipe.

Basic Meatloaf

1½ lbs. lean ground beef (Meat mixture can be part ground turkey.)

1 c. uncooked old fashioned oats

1 Tbsp. dehydrated chopped onions

1 Tbsp. dried parsley

One 14½-oz. can Italian style stewed tomatoes

1 egg

Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Drain canned stewed tomatoes, saving liquid for use in soup stock, and chop. Combine with remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand until completely blended. Pack firmly into a large, ungreased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing.

Meat mixture can be part ground turkey.

Using the basic meat mixture above, here are a couple variations.

Call this one pizza-meatzaloaf and the kids will love it.

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Add 1 teaspoon dried oregano to basic recipe, divide into thirds and layer mixture into loaf pan alternately with sliced mozzarella. Leave a 1/2-inch border on all sides of meat layer to form a seal and enclose cheese. Top with remaining cheese and either homemade or store-bought spaghetti sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. Let stand at least 15 minutes before slicing. 

Here’s another tasty version.

Stuffed Meatloaf Florentine

1 recipe basic meatloaf (above)

One 8-oz. package frozen chopped spinach

¼ lb. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. butter

Two 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

Thaw spinach and drain well. Add mushrooms to medium-sized frying pan and cook over medium heat until browned. Turn heat to low, add garlic and butter. Squeeze spinach to remove any excess moisture and add to pan. Stir to blend, remove from heat and mix in softened cream cheese. Place a little more than half of the meatloaf mixture in a large loaf pan and make a slight well in center, leaving a ½-inch curb on all sides. Spoon spinach mixture into well, top with remaining meatloaf and seal to completely contain filling. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 1 hour or until well-browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Santa Ynez Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com.

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