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My Favorite Meal —

April 4, 2014

Okay, I had planned to publish a big response this week to a paper I’ve been researching, but work and life have colluded to disrupt my plans. So instead, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite meals to make, which has become a family favorite: Panko meatloaf with oven-roasted spicy sweet potatoes.

Panko Meatloaf


1 pound ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
½ cup ketchup (more if you like ketchup on top of your meatloaf)
1 tablespoon salt-free seasoning blend
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking pan.
  • Place the ground beef, eggs, panko, and ½ cup ketchup in a large bowl. Mix by hand, and season with salt-free seasoning blend, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Form into a loaf shape, and place on the prepared baking pan. Drizzle with as much ketchup as you enjoy on your meatloaf.
  • Bake one hour in the preheated oven, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

When it comes out, it will look a little something like this:


To make it extra tasty, let it cook a little longer (watching it carefully) so the top and edges get crackly and crispy, but not overdone. One loaf can feed a family of four or five, depending on how you slice it.

Now, I always enjoy making some kind of fresh veggies to go with it. We make it with roasted green beans or a broccoli/cauliflower mixture, but my favorite are these spicy sweet potatoes.

Spicy Sweet Potatoes


2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (some like it hot and some sweat when the heat is on)


  • DO NOT PEEL YOUR SWEET POTATOES, DAMMIT!!! Scrub, rinse and dry them.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Slice the sweet potatoes into one-inch discs, then cut each disc into nine cubes. Put all the cubes into a big bowl or a large Ziploc bag.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the sweet potatoes. Add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (our one daughter does not like anything even remotely spicy, so we set aside some that we just coat with the coarse salt, and those are delicious as well). Stir or shake to coat. Make sure all the potatoes get coated. Add extra olive oil if they don’t look coated.
  • Dump sweet potato chunks onto a greased baking sheet and bake ~40 minutes, flipping with a spatula after 30 minutes. You will have to keep an eye on your sweet potatoes, though, as they can burn easily. The final cooking time will depend greatly on the size of your cubes and the efficiency of your oven.
  • When the edges are golden brown, take a larger chunk out and pop it in your mouth (after it cools off). If it’s to your liking, pull those bad boys out. Each chunk of roasted potato should have a crispy edge and a buttery, soft interior.
  • Serve piping hot.

Sweet Potatoes

This meatloaf and these spicy sweet potatoes make such great companions that when I made the meatloaf the other day in advance to save time, we waited three days before we were finally able to get to the store for the sweet potatoes to accompany it. You can definitely prepare in advance and keep in the fridge a few days for convenience sake.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Kala permalink
    April 4, 2014 1:30 pm

    Shannon, what’s in the “salt free seasoning mix”?

    • April 4, 2014 10:01 pm

      I think this is the one we have. It’s Paul Prudhomme (the master fatty). I can definitely taste it in the final product. It’s kind of a smokey, spicy flavor. Not overwhelming, but definitely there.


  2. Nof permalink
    April 4, 2014 3:03 pm

    Hmm, I might have to try those sweet potatoes. A lot of recipes try to play up the sweetness, but I really like sweet potatoes with something spicy or bitter.

    • April 4, 2014 10:02 pm

      I love the play of sweet and spicy. And you can adjust the cayenne to suit your own tastes. They are FABULOUS.


  3. April 5, 2014 1:28 pm

    [slaps forehead] This looks similar to the technique I use to roast regular potatoes (adding rosemary and thyme in lieu of cayenne, usually). But it never occurred to me to do sweets that way.

    Do you put the pan right on the center rack in the oven, atchka?

    • April 5, 2014 10:02 pm

      Yup, center rack does the trick for me. They turn out perfect.


  4. April 7, 2014 6:25 am

    Why did I have to read this at 5:30 A.M. with a half hour left to go on my shift when I’m starting to get hungry?

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