This is my basic, and favorite, meatloaf recipe. I've played around with the recipe many times, but it is so good, just as it is, that it has always remained one of my favorite comfort foods. It's juicy, tender, and very flavorful without ketchup, brown sugar or a slew of ingredients. We love it so much that I usually make the full recipe and either eat it for days or freeze one raw loaf for baking at a later date. Hubby loves it for sandwiches, too!
Gather and prep ingredients. Preheat oven to 400° F.
In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Pulse tomatoes in food processor to lightly chop (do not puree!) or use kitchen shears to cut/chop tomatoes in their can. Set aside. (NOTE: You could use a can of diced tomatoes, but the texture will be negatively affected.)
Place ground beef in the bowl with the oats; add 2 cups of the chopped tomatoes and juice (reserve remainder for topping,) 1/2 cup chopped onion and 3 beaten eggs.
(Note: At this point, food safe plastic gloves are recommended, but optional. Also, for easier removal from pan, you may wish to place a parchment paper "sling" in each of 2 loaf pans before adding meat mixture.)
Use hands to combine the ingredients thoroughly, but try to avoid overworking the mixture.
Divide into 2 equal portions; place in loaf pans, patting mixture down well to remove air pockets.
Bake at 400° F, on middle rack, for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven, drain some of the liquid off, if desired (sometimes I do, sometimes not.)
Equally pour and spread 1/2 of reserved tomatoes & juice over top of each meatloaf; return to oven and bake for additional 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for approximately 15 minutes, or more, before slicing and serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. May be frozen raw, then thawed in refrigerator before baking, if using fresh, not frozen ground beef.