Family Dinner. {back to school}

Right before school started, I asked the kids if there was a favorite meal they wanted me to make for the first day of school dinner.

Almost simultaneously they both said “those meatballs with the mashed potatoes!” AKA… Tomato glazed Meatloaves with Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes from Smitten Kitchen.

The kids love the Italian variation of this called “Polpette al sugo con il mio purè”. (Meatballs and tomato sauce with pureed potatoes)

You can find this on most menus in Northern Italy. Their school cafeteria- which is amazing btw, serves it too and their polpette con puré is a favorite. We make it often, but this time we are sticking with the all American meatloaf inspired version.

I’ve never been a fan of meatloaf, but making meatloaf into meatballs? Delicious!  Really, the most amazing comfort food when paired with mashed potatoes laced with perfect and nutty brown butter.


Usually I don’t make this until there’s more of a chill in the air, the gray days descend upon us and we need to be wrapped in sweaters and cozy blankets.

But who am I to turn down their request? Especially since I am still excited about being back in the kitchen. I even made a double batch this time since I’m being unusually all smart and organized- I put the extra batch of meatballs in the freezer for another day..

Without further ado, the beloved recipe.

Smitten Kitchen’s Tomato Glazed Meatloaves with Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes

{adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook}

I find it well worth the effort to double the recipe and put half in the freezer. I also make a larger batch of glaze, we like to spoon it over the top as we are dishing up.

Meatloaf glaze:

4 t. oil

1/4 c. tomato paste

2 T. cider vinegar

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. Dijon Mustard (I like whole grain mustard)

1/4 t. salt


2 slices of bread

1 onion, chopped

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

Olive oil

2 lb ground beef  (I’ve used ground turkey with good results too)

1 T. tomato paste

1 t. smoked paprika

1 t. Dijon mustard

2 T. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 c. milk

1/4 chopped flat leaf parsley

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the glaze.

Combine glaze ingredients in small sauce pan, simmer and whisk together until combined. Set aside for later.

Making the meatloaves.

In a food processor, add the bread and pulse until it becomes small crumbs. Pour into a large bowl. Add the celery, onion, garlic and carrot into the food processor and chop finely.

Cook the above veggies in a hot skillet coated with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until they soften and begin to get brown.

Add the veggies to the breadcrumb bowl, and add remaining ingredients. Stir together to combine. Use your hands to form the mixture into meatballs. SK makes hers into 12 meatballs, I prefer making smaller ones about the size of a golf ball.

Place meatballs into a baking dish. Brush each meatball with tomato glaze and bake 15-20 minutes depending on the size of meatloaves you made!

Serve over mashed potatoes, drizzle a little additional tomato glaze over it all if you are like us and like to pretend it’s gravy. Add a veggie and a salad and you have a delicious comfort food meal.

Mashed potatoes: 

Everyone has their favorite way of making mashed potatoes. Make yours. (We like ours with the skins on and a little half & half, salt and pepper.) Then stir in the browned butter as you finish them up- they are elevated to a whole new level.

Brown Butter:

Melt 1 stick (8 T.) of unsalted butter over medium-low heat. It burns quickly, so stay close & stir often. Scrape up the brown bits as you stir. The butter will be done when it turns brown and smells deliciously nutty.

I adore Smitten Kitchen. I suggest you GO NOW and check out her website and find something yummy to make. I love how her recipes are so easy to search based on season, type of food or ingredient.

What are you making this week?

<3 H

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