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Cooking meatloaf is a classic comfort food dish that's easy to prepare. Here's a basic recipe and method for cooking meatloaf:

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- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or a combination of ground beef and ground pork)

- 1 cup breadcrumbs (or crushed crackers)

- 1/2 cup milk

- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 2 eggs

- 1/4 cup ketchup

- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

- 1 teaspoon salt

- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

- Optional: additional ketchup or barbecue sauce for topping


1. **Preheat the Oven**: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). 

2. **Prepare the Meatloaf Mixture**: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, chopped onion, minced garlic, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper. Use your hands or a spoon to mix the ingredients together until well combined. Be careful not to overmix, as this can result in a dense meatloaf.

3. **Shape the Meatloaf**: Transfer the meatloaf mixture to a baking dish or loaf pan. Shape it into a loaf shape, making sure it's evenly packed and smoothed on top.

4. **Optional Topping**: If desired, spread additional ketchup or barbecue sauce on top of the meatloaf for added flavor.

5. **Bake the Meatloaf**: Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C) as measured with a meat thermometer. 

6. **Rest and Serve**: Once cooked through, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes for easier slicing. 

7. **Slice and Serve**: Use a sharp knife to slice the meatloaf into thick slices. Serve warm with your favorite side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, vegetables, or a salad.

8. **Store Leftovers**: Leftover meatloaf can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage. 

Enjoy your homemade meatloaf! Feel free to customize the recipe with additional seasonings, vegetables, or toppings to suit your taste preferences.
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