Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf

Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf

Meatloaf conjures up thoughts of slabs of bland, dry ground meat for most folks. Even at dinner the other day with friends, one said, “Meatloaf on the menu? Really?”

Guess what? I happen to love a good meatloaf, especially with mashed potatoes and maybe some gravy…. YUM!

Here’s the recipe that your grandma probably didn’t make (not that I’m sayin’ Grandma’s meatloaf was the dry slab I mentioned earlier, but there has to be a reason so many people hate it). I think it’s time you revisit this retro dinner entrée!

Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf
 
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This cheese stuffed meatloaf will have you going back for seconds!
Author:
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground meatloaf mix (beef, pork, veal)
  • 6 strips bacon
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • ¼ cup dried Italian breadcrumbs (Panko is a great substitute)
  • 2 mozzarella string cheese sticks
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain and cool, then crumble it. Add the carrots and onions to the skillet you cooked the bacon in, and sauté using the bacon grease until the onions become soft and translucent, about 5 minutes (bacon grease: yes – it’s bad, but it’s oh-so-good too!). Add the garlic, continue cooking for another 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, gently combine the meatloaf mix, egg, Worcestershire sauce, bacon, onion garlic powder, parsley, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and the onion/carrot/garlic mixture (use a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the pan so you don’t get too much grease).
  4. Move the meat mixture to the covered baking sheet, and spread to ½″ thick – the shape doesn’t matter. Place the two string cheese sticks side-by-side in the middle of the meat, and then shape the meat around the sticks until you get a traditional meatloaf shape, about 9-10″ long. Spread the ketchup evenly on the outside of the loaf.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cheese starts to ooze out the sides. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Looking for a meatloaf recipe that doesn’t use beef, pork and veal? Try my Turkey Meatloaf!

Spaghetti and (Easy) Homemade Meatballs

Spaghetti with homemade meatballs, on the table in under an hour. No way. At least that’s what I was thinking when I watched Anne Burrell make them this past weekend. During my last trip to the grocery store, I bought a package of ground lamb/beef/veal (a.k.a meatloaf mix) and yesterday was the “use it today or freeze it for later” date. So, with my afternoon meeting ending a little early, and the whole family home just before 5pm,  I decided to make Chef Anne’s Excellent Meatballs. And serve them by 6pm.

I didn’t stray from this recipe, with the exception of using dried parsley (about 2 tablespoons) instead of fresh, and shredded mozzarella/provolone, but only because I didn’t have fresh Italian parsley nor enough Parmesan on hand.
The best part? Food was on the table in an hour, and we were eating by 6pm. Next best part? These meatballs freeze well, and the recipe makes more than enough for a family of four. Use what you need, and then freeze the rest for another night!Here’s the recipe if it’s too difficult for you to view it directly on the Food Network site:

Anne Burrell’s Excellent Meatballs

 
Meatballs+Closeup

Spaghetti and (Easy) Homemade Meatballs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chef Anne Burrell's recipe - it rocks!
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, ¼ inch dice
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. The onions should be very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
  3. In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmesan, parsley and breadcrumbs. It works well to squish the mixture with your hands. Add the onion mixture and season generously with salt and squish some more. Add the water and do one final really good squish. The mixture should be quite wet. Test the seasoning of the mix by making a mini hamburger size patty and cooking it. The mixture should taste really good! If it doesn't it's probably missing salt. Add more. Add more anyway.
  4. Shape the meat into desired size. Some people like 'em big some people like 'em small. I prefer meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball. Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides.
  5. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through. If using right away, add them to your big pot of marinara sauce. If not using right away, they can be frozen for later use. Serve with pasta and sauce or just eat them straight out of the pot.

 

How to Cook a Great Rib-eye Steak

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a juicy, slightly charred, well-seasoned steak. In our house, we usually have steak three to four times a month. My husband’s a steak and potatoes kinda guy, and steak also happens to be quick and easy to prepare. How to cook a great rib-eye steak has been a project of mine.

TIP: If you pay attention, you can usually find a good package of steaks on sale at the grocery store every week or two. I stock up on a few packages, transfer them to freezer bags put them in our deep freeze to save both time and money.

I’ve tried various cuts of steak from sirloin to filet, and t-bone to porterhouse. However, my absolute favorite to cook with AND eat is rib-eye. Rib-eye’s consistent fat marbling, along with its tender grain, make for a piece of steak that melts in your mouth – if it’s cooked properly.

Most nights I prep our steak very simply by coating them with Worcestershire sauce, sprinkling the outside with Grill Mates Montreal Seasoning, and then popping them in the fridge to rest for about a half-hour. Then, about 20 minutes before I’m ready to cook I pull out the steaks and let them come to room temperature.

Some nights I get a little crazy and use a homemade marinade like this:

Marinade for Two Rib-eye Steaks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1/2 a lemon’s worth)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
Whisk all the ingredients together, and pour into a gallon zip top bag*. Add the rib-eyes, zip the top, and maneuver the baggy until the meat is completely coated. Let them marinate for at least 30 minutes, but as long as overnight, turning every so often to make sure both sides marinate evenly.

TIP: Pull the rib-eyes out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temp prior to cooking. This allows for more even cooking when they go in a hot pan, or on a hot grill.

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*An alternative to a zip top bag is to use a baking dish – cover tightly with plastic wrap before refrigerating.

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Definition of “sear” from Dictionary.com: –verb (used with object) to burn or char the surface of: She seared the steak to seal in the juices.

Cooking the rib-eyes is very simple, and the only additional ingredient you’ll need is salt (preferable course sea salt). Whether you’re grilling outside, stove top, or broiling, the goal is the same: Sear the outside and don’t fuss with the rib-eyes once they hit the grill/pan/broiler.

(For medium rare with a 1″ thick rib-eye)

A stove top grill pan tends to be my goto cooking choice most of the time. I let the pan preheat on medium/high with a couple tablespoons of olive oil before adding the rib-eyes.

What’s considered “medium/high” you ask? My burner is set just below 8, with a dial that maxes out at 9. And, yes, I have an electric range, although one day I’d love a gas one!Here’s the thing, you don’t want your olive oil to smoke. But, you do want it to sizzle and pop when you flick drops of water in it. Depending on the type of stove you have, and the how heavy a pan you’re using, you might need to adjust your temp a bit.

Back to the how-to….The grill pan preheats on med/high for about five minutes with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt on one side of the rib-eyes. Lay the rib-eyes SALT SIDE DOWN in your hot pan. It should sizzle, so if you hear nothing then you need a hotter pan. Sprinkle an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt on the side facing up. Let it sear for 6 minutes.

VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t fuss with the rib-eyes, don’t move them, don’t pick them up, don’t peek, do anything! In fact, now would be a great time to make your salad, check on the kids, read a chapter in your book…something other than touching the meat. I set my timer so that I don’t forget to come back to them.

When the six minutes are up, flip your steaks and repeat the paragraph above, again for six minutes.

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When the timer goes off the second time, remove your rib-eyes to a plate and let them sit for at least five minutes before serving so that the juices absorb back in. If you were to cut into the steak right after it’s removed from the pan, all the yummy juices would run out.

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After patiently waiting the five or ten minutes before digging in, what you’re left with is a succulent rib-eye, buttery in texture, with a charred undertone (better accentuated by an outdoor grill), and so juicy you’d think each bite was dipped in au jus. Seriously.

The only things that make these rib-eyes better are creamy mashed potatoes and a fresh, crisp salad.
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