It’s meatloaf night. Again. You would think my kids would grumble at the thought of it. Instead I have them asking, “What kind tonight, Mom?” We have experienced the joy of meatloaf variety, and here is how it’s done.

We’re a little fruity. I hate cranberries. There is nothing about them that I find even slightly enjoyable. The canned ones scare me with their gelatinous shape that holds true long after they have escaped from the can. Imagine how surprised I was when I tasted my first bite of Cranberry Meat Loaves and loved it! Other recipes can be made using apples, oranges, or cherries.

            Cranberry Meat Loaves

            1 pound ground beef
            1 cup cooked rice
            1/2 cup tomato juice
            1 egg, slightly beaten
            1/4 cup chopped onion
            1 1/2 teaspoons salt
            2 cups whole cranberry sauce
            1/3 cup granulated sugar
            1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine ground beef, rice, tomato juice, egg, onion and salt. Shape into individual loaves; put into pan. Mix remaining ingredients; pour over loaves. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Spice it up! We love Tex-Mex at our house, so this is a natural choice for my family. By adding extra onions, green peppers, green chilis, and black olives, you can give your meatloaf a little kick! Top with salsa before baking, or substitute corn chips for the breadcrumbs for extra flair.

That’s amore. The flavor of little Italy can be applied to meatloaf, too! Substitute spaghetti sauce for the ketchup or tomato juice in your favorite meatloaf recipe. Mix in shredded mozzarella, and bake with a thin layer of additional spaghetti sauce. Top with freshly grated parmesan just before serving.

I love fast food. Craving a double cheeseburger from your favorite artery-clogging drive-thru? Check out this version of the Bacon and Double Cheeseburger Meatloaf. I didn’t say it was healthy, but you shouldn’t hear any complaints. Pickles, anyone?

Everyone loves a sandwich. If in doubt, throw a few slices of some fresh or leftover meatloaf on a slice of bread or a hoagie roll, and drown your sorrows with some good brown gravy. Excellent with some mashed potatoes and the vegetable of your choice.

Even if you are just sticking to your grandmother’s ketchup and brown sugar variety, you can add pizzazz by being creative in your presentation. Mold mini meatloaves for individual servings. Top with potatoes and cheese for a unique look and taste. Substitute ground chicken or turkey for a leaner affair. The choice is yours, and the options are plenty! (For even more meatloaf recipes, check out Melanie Barnard’s Everybody Loves Meatloaf.)