Sometimes I like to think back to when I was a newlywed, and I was trying to cook like how I imagined a wife should cook. This was funny for a few reasons. One, my dad did a good majority of the cooking when I was growing up because my mom was busy saving lives at the hospital; and two, I was a terrible cook.
One of the first dishes I tried to make for my husband was meatloaf. It tasted bad and looked worse. I couldn’t figure out why such a seemingly simple recipe could have gone so wrong. It was bland, dense, and wouldn’t stay in loaf form. My husband suffered through far too many failed meatloaf attempts before I learned that the key to tasty meatloaf is very finely chopped vegetables, enough salt and pepper, and the proper ratio of meat to bread crumbs. We like our meatloaf without big chunks of onion and bell pepper, and the bread crumbs keep it from becoming too dense.
Really, though, I finally mastered meatloaf when I was introduced to my mother-in-law‘s recipe. Until now, her simple and delicious recipe has been cooked in the oven (at 350 for one hour), but today we’re making it in the Crock Pot, and we’re throwing some carrots and potatoes in with it!
You can use whatever vegetables you like with your meatloaf, and if you want to use ground turkey in place of the beef, go right ahead. If you don’t like glaze on your meatloaf, you can skip that step and your meal will turn out just fine. My kids and husband like the glaze, and in the last few years, I’ve come around to the glaze, too. When we ate this Crock Pot Thursday dish, one of the kids said it was like “Frosting for the meatloaf,” which sounds gross, but totally isn’t.
I used my 6.5-Quart Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker to make this Crock Pot Meatloaf and Vegetables. (affiliate link)
Crock Pot Meatloaf and Vegetables
- about 3 cups baby carrots
- about 4 small to medium potatoes, quartered
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- 1½ tsp pepper, divided
- 1½ lbs ground beef
- ½ cup onion, chopped very finely
- ½ green bell pepper, chopped very finely
- ⅔ cup bread crumbs or crushed Saltines
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 eggs
- For Glaze
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 2 tsp mustard
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- In the bottom of slow cooker, place baby carrots and quartered potatoes.
- Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef, onion, bell pepper, bread crumbs or Saltines, milk, eggs, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper. Using your hands, mix the ingredients well.
- Shape the meatloaf mixture into a loaf, and place directly on top of the carrots and potatoes.
- If desired, mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl, and spread over the top of the meatloaf.
- Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.
- To serve, carefully transfer meatloaf to a platter, and add vegetables to the platter.
I was worried that cooking meatloaf in the crock would make it turn out mushy, but it worked great! And with chopped potatoes and baby carrots on the bottom, the meatloaf concoction on top created enough juices to give the veggies great moisture and flavor. Next time I might try adding a half of a brown gravy packet to the veggies. Usually meatloaf is for weekends in our house due to baking time, but now we can make this yummy comfort food any day of the week!
This was genius! The carrots and potato chunks on the bottom were very moist and tender. I did salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash them before covering them with the meatloaf. I cooked everything on low for 8 hours and it was perfectly done.
I've made this twice now, and it's a great way to make a whole meal in one pot. Winner, winner, meatloaf for dinner!