July 02, 2008

Last night, I decided to embrace my Southern roots and make my first "Meat and Three" dinner: meatloaf, green beans, from-scratch mashed potatoes, and squash casserole.  Since it was already 6 p.m., I lost some steam at the grocery store (no doubt thanks to the free cookies at the bakery counter) and settled for the lesser-known Meat and Two.

Squash casserole took the hit, but my dinner didn't suffer at all.  I decided to try a recipe from a cookbook I got as a gift for being in a wedding and, after this success, I fully intend to use it more often than the pastel pink bridesmaid dress.  The cookbook is the Claunch Cafe Family Cookbook from the famed Tuscumbia, Alabama Claunch Cafe.  The restaurant isn't really famous, mostly because the locals are dying to keep it under wraps, but its meatloaf should be.

The secret to the meatloaf, speaking as a budding meatloaf master, I believe is the addition of Dale's Steak Sauce to the meat and the sweet (yes, sweet) glaze made from brown sugar, ketchup, and prepared mustard.  It's nothing like the one my mom made (served with ketchup on the side), but I think there may be room in my life for more than one meatloaf.

If you'd like to try the home-style recipes from the Claunch Cafe (and maybe even find out what that name means), call (256) 386-0222 and order one for yourself.  It's ten dollars worth of deep-South flavor including broccoli casserole, pecan chicken salad, caramel cake, lemon poppyseed muffins, and more.

What's the secret to your meatloaf recipe?  I'm dying to try new variations.

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