Meatloaf is usually made with ground beef and it is either shaped into a loaf by hand or cooked in a loaf pan. Lamb, veal and pork can be used to make this classic dish too, and chicken is another option. These loaves originated in Europe and they were cooked as far back as in the fifth century.

This traditional Dutch, Belgian, and German dish is closely related to Italian meatballs. American meatloaf evolved from scrapple, which is a Pennsylvania German-American cornmeal and ground pork mixture. Scrapple was popular in Colonial times but modern meatloaf recipes did not feature in cookbooks until the late 1800s.

A lot of meatloaf recipes can also be used to make meatballs. The only difference is the size and shape. Ketchup or tomato sauce features in some recipes and small bits of bread soaked in wine or milk go in others.

Herbs, spices, salt and finely chopped vegetables are also popular and you can fill meat loaf with cheese, herbs, mushrooms, eggs, or vegetables if you want to. There are also microwave and crockpot recipes for meatloaf, although it is best to cook individual portions in the microwave rather than one loaf, to make sure it cooks evenly.

International Variations

German meatloaf often features boiled eggs and the Italian version sometimes has cheese or ham inside. Ground pork and beef is used to make the Danish version of this dish and strips of bacon are popular on top. It is served with brown sauce, redcurrant jelly and boiled potatoes. In Hungarian recipes, you will often find three hard boiled eggs in the middle, added for decorative effect.

Boiled eggs, wienerwurst, or pickles sometimes appear in Czech meat loaf recipes and you might already know that meatloaf was voted the seventh most popular dish of all time in the United States on the Good Housekeeping website. This dish was a tasty economical way of making dinner during the Depression because the ingredients were cheap. Grains were often added to the recipe to make the meat go further.

Recipe for Meatloaf with Chicken

This dish has Greek influences, noticeable mainly from the Greek seasoning, lemon, and pita bread. You can top this meat loaf with lettuce, kalamata olives, crumbled feta, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and yogurt if you want to continue the Greek theme. Else some ketchup or garlic dressing is good on top.

What you will need:

2 lbs ground chicken
1/2 cup frozen diced bell pepper, celery and onion mix
2 beaten eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel
Split pita rounds
How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Saute the vegetables in hot oil for about six minutes or until tender. Stir the chicken with the eggs, salt, pepper, Greek seasoning, parsley, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, and lemon peel. Stir in the sauteed vegetables.

Put the mixture in a greased nine by five inch baking dish and bake for an hour or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Let it stand for ten minutes, and then serve in slices in pita rounds, with whichever toppings you like.

Meatloaf is traditionally made with ground beef but it is also nice made with chicken. If you enjoyed this dish, what about making a baked chicken rice recipe next or trying some delicious and easy grilled chicken recipes? - Chicken so delightfully moist, you can almost smell it through your monitor.