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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

Thirty plus years ago in a small town in Western Nebraska I met Stevan and Debbie Dittmer.  Debbie was a new bride transplanted from Cincinnati, Ohio  and Stevan’s job in the cattle industry brought her to Nebraska!  Steven was often times the cook in their household.  As Debbie and I were both learning to cook, Stevan taught us his special meatloaf recipe.  Through the years nobody’s meatloaf has ever compared to this rich and tasty, slightly spicy, recipe as far as I am concerned.  I included it my Walnut Grove Family and Friends recipe book and it was also included by our friend Linda, in the Littleton Fire Department recipe book simply under the name Dittmer Meatloaf.  After all, what else could we call it?!

Today, I changed up the tomato sauce by simmering some of our own garden Roma tomatoes and adding a bit of chili seasoning.  Oh my word … I believe this meatloaf just got better!  I hope you will try out this recipe.  If you like it a little spicier just add in an extra sprinkle of the cayenne pepper.


  • 2 lbs. hamburger
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs (take some bread and crumble in your hands, or you may use cracker crumbs)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp red cayenne pepper (very important ingredient)

Mix the above and shape into two round loaves.  Place in 9″ x 13″ baking dish.


  • 16 ounces tomato sauce (or in this case chunky fresh roma tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons vinegar (white, rice wine, apple cider)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons  prepared mustard or spicy brown mustard
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix these ingredients and pour over the round loaves.

Bake 1 1/4 hours at 350 degrees.

Note:  We always serve with baked potatoes, green beans, and honey wheat bread! Delicious!

Dittmer Meatloaf

The cayenne pepper—also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper—is a hot, red chili pepper used to flavor dishes and for medicinal purposes. Named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, it is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapeños, and others. The Capsicum genus is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae).

The fruits are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make the powdered spice of the same name.

Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form (such as in Sichuan cuisine), or in a thin, vinegar-based sauce. It is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. It is also used as an herbal supplement, and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his 17th century book Complete Herbal.

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