Shirley’s Family Meatloaf

IMG_5163This is real, old-school meatloaf.  It is the actual meatloaf mentioned in my sister’s 1993 movie The Lotus Eaters, and our family did take wax-paper wrapped packets of meatloaf sandwiches while sailing with our parents.  We probably ate this once or twice a month during the school year while growing up.  It is an ultimate comfort food in our home, usually served with baked potatoes, which cook in the oven alongside the loaf.

Several years ago I tried to replace the soup with a homemade thick & creamy mushroom stew, but even though I felt better about serving and eating it (the purist I am), condensed mushroom soup seems to be essential (the only reason I usually have a tin in my pantry).  Even using the tinned soup, this is a pretty healthy meat dish.

Who knows where this recipe came from, probably torn out of a newspaper sometime in the 1950’s?  Our family had lots of love but not lots of money, so thriftiness was instilled in us all, and I am sure this was one of Mom’s ways of stretching the food dollar.  This makes fabulous meatloaf sandwiches, and if memory serves me right, we used to be served this on a Friday night and then be fed it in sandwiches over the weekend.

If you want to up the amount of meat used to 2 lbs. the recipe still works well.  Just be sure that the internal temperature is 80° c before removing from the oven.

Also, if you want it to be gluten-free, you’ll need to be sure you use GF oats and GF condensed mushroom soup (Campbell’s isn’t). 

Click here for printable version.

Serves 6


1 small onion

1½ lbs. lean ground beef

2 eggs

1 T horseradish

1 t dried thyme

1 t dry mustard

2 T chopped fresh parsley (optional)

½ t salt

½ t pepper

1 cup oats (quick or large flake, just not instant)

1 tin condensed mushroom soup (284 ml or 10 oz)


Preheat the oven to 375°

Mince the onion.

In a large bowl mix the ground beef with the two eggs & the minced onion.IMG_5151

Use a spoon, or get in and mix it with your hands.IMG_5152

Add in the horseradish, thyme, mustard, salt & pepper and mix well.

Add in the oats and condensed soup.IMG_5153

Again, mix well until uniform, using a spoon or your hands.IMG_5154

Scoop mixture into a 9” x  9” pan, a 9” x 5” loaf pan, or another baking dish of a similar size. IMG_5156

Bake the meatloaf in the center of the oven for 1¼ hours.IMG_5158

If you like, bake some potatoes alongside – simply wash them and pierce them before baking (it’s always a good thing to double up on a heat source!).

Let the meatloaf sit for 10 minutes before serving.  The potatoes can rest out of the oven, under a cloth or an oven-mitt, while you wait for the meatloaf to be ready.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. When chilled through, the meatloaf slices well for sandwiches.  IMG_5159

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