When a good cooking idea catches on, many people line up to take credit for its creation. However, who needs credit when you a mouth-watering meat loaf is at stake? Cooking food in a baking bag is virtually guaranteed to produce a juicier, more flavorful dish because you literally trap the juices inside the bag and prompt them to circulate. As good as your homemade meat loaf probably is, give it new life by intensifying the flavors in an oven-baking bag. Then by all means: take some credit for your ability to improve upon perfection.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the meatloaf on the lower rack in your oven, so remove the upper rack, if you need to make room. Open the cooking bag and place it in a roasting pan.
Mix your meat loaf ingredients in a large bowl. Stir the ingredients thoroughly. Shape a 9-by-4-inch meatloaf on a large plate sprayed with nonfat cooking spray. Use an actual metal baking pan as your guide, if you wish.
Place the meatloaf into the oven-baking bag. Put part of the plate into the bag and push the meat loaf inside with a spatula – a safer strategy than trying to hoist the meat loaf from the dish and risk it breaking into pieces.
Ring the meat loaf with some seasoned vegetables and potatoes, if you wish. Choose slow-cooking vegetables, such as carrots and onions.
Close the bag loosely and secure it with the tie that came with the oven roasting bags. Hold the top part of the bag as you puncture four to six holes in the top of the bag with a fork or knife. Holding the bag upright will help prevent you from unintentionally creating holes in the top of your meatloaf.
Bake the meat loaf for 1 hour at 350 F. Remove it from the oven and test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, if you wish. It should register 160 F if you have used only ground meat; it should register 165 F if you have included ground turkey or chicken. Remember, you cannot tell if meat is properly cooked solely by a visual check. Cut up the entire meat loaf or slice a juicy wedge, if someone wants it to preserve the juices created from the oven bag.
Mary Wroblewski earned a master's degree with high honors in communications and has worked as a reporter and editor in two Chicago newsrooms. She launched her own small business, which specialized in assisting small business owners with “all things marketing” – from drafting a marketing plan and writing website copy to crafting media plans and developing email campaigns. Mary writes extensively about small business issues, and especially “all things marketing.”