Today’s Cook of the Week, Jona Rae Collum, has a recipe for vegetable soup where she uses leftover veggies she’s thrown in the freezer along with leftover meatloaf from the night before. She told me she wasn’t giving me her recipe for meatloaf because “everybody has their own recipe they love.”

I know my mother made meatloaf when I was growing up and I’m sure I enjoyed it because I don’t have any bad memories associated with it. But I never got her meatloaf recipe, so I don’t know if she used bread or breadcrumbs or oats as the filler.

When I worked for the Monroe News-Star newspaper in Louisiana in the early 1990s, I got a recipe for meatloaf from a co-worker, Darlene Tucker. That has been the go-to meatloaf for my family for almost 30 years. But as with most recipes, it has evolved over the years as we’ve tweaked it with substitutions and additions.

I made this meatloaf Monday night and I honestly think it’s the best, so I’ve renamed it, although we’ll probably always call it Darlene’s Meatloaf.

BEST MEATLOAF

MEATLOAF

1 pound lean ground turkey

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

4 ounces tomato sauce

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped bell pepper

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tony Cachere’s Creole seasoning

Salt and pepper

SAUCE

2 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

In a large bowl, mix meatloaf ingredients together with your hands. In a separate bowl, combine sauce ingredients.

Form meat mixture into a loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Top with sauce. Bake 15 minutes more. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

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