Mary’s Meatloaf and Beverly’s Mac and Cheese

platter with meatloaf and a plate with a slice of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans

This week on Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens podcast, my friend Christianne Beringer shares her family recipes for two quintessential comfort foods—her mom’s meatloaf and her grandma’s macaroni and cheese. 

Or, listen here or anywhere you get your podcasts.

Christianne's family
Christianne’s Grandma Beverly (sitting), Christianne directly behind her, and Mary behind Christianne

Welcome to supper on a school night.

Whether you like meatloaf or not, if you have ties to the Midwest, emotions of nostalgia will drench over you like ketchup just thinking about it.

Join us for a conversation about Midwest comfort food, the story behind Christianne’s family’s meatloaf recipe, how to make her Grandma Beverly’s mac & cheese without a written recipe, who she got her love of cooking from, her version of funeral potatoes, how many books she read in 2022 and who her favorite author is at the moment. 

Bonus, Christianne shares something on the podcast about Velveeta cheese that I did not know.

Two of my favorite side dishes to eat with meatloaf are homemade mashed potatoes and a vegetable. But now I’m thinking…how good would Mary’s meatloaf be paired with Beverly’s mac and cheese?!?!

plate with mashed potatoes and gravy, a slice of meatloaf and green beans

What is Meatloaf?

I grew up eating my mom’s meatloaf which was a plain mixture of ground beef, ketchup, hardly any onion, milk, eggs, saltine cracker crumbs, salt and pepper all topped with a simple layer of ketchup—a common way of making it. 

But Mary Bjerke’s (Christianne’s mom) recipe uses breadcrumbs instead of crackers, has more onion, and adds sage. Plus, instead of ordinary ketchup slathered on top, she makes a sweet and savory glaze made with ketchup, brown sugar, nutmeg and dry mustard which she adds for the last 30 minutes of baking and it becomes sticky and caramelized and glorious. 

Christianne's Mom's meatloaf recipe on a tattered recipe card
Christianne’s recipe card for mom’s meatloaf

Yes, I said glorious in reference to meatloaf. 

slice of meatloaf with caramelized edges

Some recipes use a mixture of ground beef and pork or veal. Either way, all of them combine meat, some type of binder using eggs and a liquid like broth, ketchup or milk, mixed with cracker crumbs, bread, stuffing mix or bread crumbs, seasonings, and oftentimes a veggie like onion or green pepper.

I’ve also seen people mix in onion soup mix such as Lipton.

Mary’s meatloaf recipe is from a community cookbook from Volga, South Dakota. Katherine Algood is the original recipe submitter.

community cookbook table of contents page
Mary’s copy of the community cookbook

Although we may have a love-hate relationship with it, there’s no denying that the one-pan dish which hit American kitchens heavily in the 1950s is here to stay.  

For a fun history lesson and a recipe for Beef-and-Bacon Meatloaf, read this article from Bon Appétit.

Can We Call It Something Else?

Before recording the episode with Christianne, my daughter and I had a talk about meatloaf.

She wanted to know what’s in it and said the name makes it seem sketchy. Like, why are we making a loaf of meat? What is hidden in there that you don’t want us to see so you smother it with ketchup? 

Well, it’s not much different than meatballs.

So after making Mary’s meatloaf recipe and frying slices in a frying pan to make them crispy, I decided to rename it Fried Hamburger Slices with Caramelized Brown Sugar Sauce. Now that shouldn’t scare the kids.

slice of meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans

Making Meatloaf is Easy

There’s not much to know about making meatloaf except whatever recipe you are using, you’ll get the best texture if you combine the meat mixture with your hands. 

Mary’s sauce is a mixture of ketchup, brown sugar, nutmeg and dry mustard.

When it bakes, the sweet sauce becomes bubbly and caramelized.

Mary’s Meatloaf in the Oven

What You Need For Beverly’s Mac & Cheese

  • Listen to Christianne walk us through how to make mac & cheese on the podcast
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • 6-7 American cheese slices (or 1 Fresh Pack of Velveeta cheese)
  • Make it: boil about 1/2 a box of elbow macaroni. In a small saucepan, stir in about 1/4 pan of milk, 3 tablespoons of butter and American cheese. Add the sauce to the pasta.

Also, because you’ll likely have a partial box of Velveeta cheese if you make Beverly’s homemade macaroni and cheese, my family’s taco dip recipe will help you use it up.

What’s your family’s version of classic meatloaf? Or, better yet, do you still make it?

Be sure to tune-in to Christianne’s episode on Funeral Potatoes & Wool Mittens. She also reveals two of her favorite restaurants in the Brookings and Bruce South Dakota area.

Sweet wishes,


Mary’s Meatloaf

Staci at Random Sweets
Elevate your classic meatloaf by topping it with a sweet and savory brown sugar sauce that caramelizes as it bakes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 318 kcal


  • 1 loaf pan



  • lbs ground beef
  • cup bread crumbs, or panko crumbs
  • ½ cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground or rubbed sage
  • ½ tablespoon salted butter


  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard



  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Place ground beef in a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, onion, milk, beaten eggs, pepper, salt and sage.
  • Using your hands, gently mix the ingredients together until well combined.
  • Place the meat mixture in a buttered loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.


  • Mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, nutmeg and dry mustard.
  • Remove the meatloaf from the oven and spread the sauce over the top. Return it to the oven and bake an additional 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Calories: 318kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 18gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 513mgPotassium: 344mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 159IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 2mg
Keyword comfort food, ground beef, ketchup

All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets

Tried this recipe?Mention @RandomSweets and tag #OurSweetMidwestLife

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