Grilled Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

Growing up I went through a phase of requesting meat loaf for my birthday dinner. My Grandmother’s recipe with a tangy tomato sauce was the perfect accompaniment for a chilly winter evening. We always had it with mashed potatoes and home-canned green beans. I’ll admit the green beans were not my favorite part. As we were a clean-plate family, I begrudgingly ate the five or so that were put on my plate.

I usually don’t make meat loaf in the summer, mainly because we don’t have air conditioning in our kitchen. Happily I stumbled on a recipe for grilled meatloaf in a magazine (it was a “special advertising section” for a grill). It sparked my imagination to try a family favorite—meat loaf, mash potatoes and green beans—all on the grill.

As luck would have it, my husband and I were in Virginia last weekend visiting family. Who better to try a redux of a family standard?

I believe the first response to my proposed meal was, “That sounds interesting” with “interesting” stretched out and the last syllable raised like a question. Then it was “That will take FOR-EVER” followed by “Have you USED Mom’s grill lately?”

“Pish-posh,” I replied as I mixed the meat with my hands. My sister then began busying herself making her kids a separate meal. I’m not sure if it was taste preference or time concerns. To be fair, the later is legitimate. I’ve been known, to my Mom’s chagrin, to sit down for dinner at 9 or 10 at night.

Mom has a gas grill. The ignition switch has long been broken, but with a quick strike of a match we were off and grilling. I set the heat to medium and carefully set the loafs on the grates and closed the grill. In no time, the bottom of one was chard pitch black. Oops. My sister was right about the grill; apparently it has quite a hot spot. She was also right about the time. Aside from the uber-well-done bottom, the meatloaf was coming along nicely but the potatoes were rock hard. My quick-thinking husband popped them into the microwave then returned them to the grates for a grilled finish.

The green beans were the least trouble, if you don’t count losing a few through the grill grates. The whole meal was on the table in about an hour. The kids still preferred the cheese quesadillas but the adults were all quite happy with the grilled feast, burnt meat and all.

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