Meatloaf was a staple of my childhood. My mom used to mix up and bake ground turkey (we rarely ate ground beef) with various seasonings and breadcrumbs for a hearty meal, often served alongside mashed potatoes. I don’t make meatloaf often these days, but when Aldi advertised some frozen meatloaves, they looked like they might hit the spot for dinner on a fall evening after a busy workday and school day.
This meatloaf is sold under the Cattleman’s Ranch brand, which is not a separate company. Instead, it’s the private label Aldi uses for various beef products such as various seasoned burger patties, bacon-wrapped chuck filets, and seasonal corned beef Reuben bites.
The meatloaf comes in two flavors: Homestyle or Texas Barbecue Seasoned with smoke flavor added.
Cattlemen’s Ranch Homestyle Meatloaf and Cattlemen’s Ranch Texas Barbecue Seasoned Meatloaf are Aldi Finds, which means they’re only in stores for a short time. Each store gets one shipment, and after that sells out, they’re gone until whenever Aldi might decide to bring them back. Aldi does not offer online ordering for products that are not currently in stock at your local store.
The meatloaf cost $8.99 for a 28-ounce package at the time of publication. With seven 4-ounce servings per package, that comes out to about $1.28 per serving.
If you’re looking out for allergens, both varieties contain egg and wheat.
In terms of other ingredients, the Homestyle meatloaf is fairly straightforward, containing things such as beef, onions, tomato puree, bell peppers, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, and spices (although the package doesn’t say what specific spices). It does have some fat and sodium (see the nutrition information below), but if you want a frozen dinner that’s less processed, this Homestyle meatloaf looks like a decent option.
The Texas Barbecue Seasoned meatloaf has a longer ingredients list that includes beef, onions, peppers, tomato puree, eggs, bread crumbs, and seasonings, but it also contains some processed ingredients including maltodextrin, corn syrup, and natural flavor. This also not surprisingly has its share of fat and sodium.
The Homestyle meatloaf has 200 calories per serving, with 13 grams of total fat (17% DV), 5 grams of saturated fat (25% DV), 0.5 grams of trans fat, 70 mg of cholesterol (23% DV), 440 mg of sodium (19% DV), 5 grams of total carbohydrates (2% DV), no dietary fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, no added sugars, and 14 grams of protein.
The Texas Barbecue Seasoned Meatloaf has 220 calories per serving along with 14 grams of total fat (18% DV), 5 grams of saturated fat (25% DV), 1 gram of trans fat, 75 mg of cholesterol (25% DV), 430 mg of sodium (10% DV), 7 grams of total carbohydrates (3% DV), no dietary fiber, 2 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of added sugar (2% DV), and 15 grams of protein.
These are packaged in foil trays and have directions for baking in a conventional oven. These were sold frozen, and it’s recommended to thaw the meatloaf in the refrigerator before baking, but they do have baking times for cooking from frozen. It will just take more time if you bake these from frozen.
To bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the meatloaf from the plastic wrap and place it in the included ovenable tray. Discard the plastic wrap. Place the ovenable tray on a sheet pan. Optional: add ketchup to the Homestyle meatloaf or barbecue sauce to the Texas Barbecue Seasoned meatloaf and spread evenly across the top. Place the tray and sheet pan on the center rack in the oven. If the meatloaf is thawed, bake for 45-55 minutes or until the internal temperature taken with a meat thermometer is 165 degrees. If frozen, bake for 75-85 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove the tray and sheet pan from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Then slice the meatloaf and serve.
I chose to bake both meatloaf varieties without adding ketchup or barbecue sauce so we could find out how they taste on their own merits. These smelled terrific while baking. The beef is raw, so you’ll want to make sure you thoroughly cook these to 165 degrees. Mine were done after about 45 minutes in the oven.
They release a lot of juice and grease as they cook, leaving a good amount of liquid and fat in the bottom of the foil pans. This is not surprising considering that it’s common to have to drain grease after cooking ground beef in a skillet. When these were done cooking, I carefully lifted them out of the foil pans using a spatula and set them on plates to slice and serve. You could probably set these on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up some additional grease.
These were both pretty good. The Homestyle version is savory, a little on the salty side, and has a classic meatloaf flavor, while the Texas Barbecue Seasoned version has a mild spicy flavor. My family slightly preferred the Texas Barbecue meatloaf, but they happily ate both. These taste fine on their own, but you could definitely top them with ketchup or barbecue sauce during the baking process to up the flavor, or you can serve sauces on the side during your meal. These also have that classic meatloaf texture with crumbly beef, scattered soft breadcrumbs, and even occasional diced peppers mixed in.
Meatloaf can be easy to make from scratch, so some people may not want to bother with buying store-bought meatloaf. However, if you want easy, this is easy.
My family couldn’t eat all of these in one meal — they do serve quite a few people — so I wrapped the unsliced cooked leftover meatloaves in foil, put them in gallon freezer bags, and froze them so we’ll have a quick and easy dinner another night. All I have to do is thaw and heat them. If you’re not cooking for a crowd, these would also be good to cook and then portion into individual servings to freeze and reheat later.
Cattlemen’s Ranch Homestyle Meatloaf and Cattlemen’s Ranch Texas Barbecue Seasoned Meatloaf are sold frozen and are easy to pop in the oven on a day when you need a no-fuss dinner. We appreciate that the Homestyle version is made with mostly whole, easily recognizable ingredients. Both meatloaf flavors taste good. The Homestyle option has a classic savory flavor, while the Texas Barbecue one is mildly spicy. If you like meatloaf without the work of making it from scratch, these are worth a try.