Cheap Recipe: Mozzarella-Stuffed Mini Meatloaf to Die For…

18 Mar

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

Best. Meatloaf. EVER.

This is the yummiest new recipe post I’ve had in a long while. I had this idea maybe a year or two ago, but never actually tried making it because I was concerned it would just wind up a big gooey, lumpy mess. Boy was I wrong!

I finally bit the bullet Monday night and tried it out. Lo and behold, these meatloaves* turned out to be absolutely perfect and the cheesy middles were just divine! (Well, as divine as meatloaf can possibly aspire to be…)

*It should probably be noted that you could attempt this with a regular-sized meatloaf as well as minis, by increasing the bake time (doubling it should be about right), and then you could simplify things even more by simply placing a few string cheese sticks in the center of the loaf rather than dealing with the shredded stuff. 🙂

Turkey and sausage.

I like the minis for 2 reasons: (1) dinner is cooked and on the table in half the time, and (2) the meat-to-cheese ratio turned out wonderfully. The loaves kept their shape and texture while a little bit of yummy, melty cheese worked its way into each bite.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and coat an 8-portion mini loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

A bit of fresh produce...

In a large bowl, combine 1 lb. thawed ground turkey (I got mine on sale for 99 cents) with 1 lb. hot-and-spicy pork sausage (or mild if you like a more conservative meatloaf).

Resist the urge to start mixing early!

♥Chef’s Note: When using turkey instead of beef I like to err on the side of spicy because turkey tends to otherwise “absorb” some of the sausage flavor leaving a blander meatloaf.

Dump 1 cup fine bread crumbs over the meat and sprinkle with one teaspoon each of: garlic powder, oregano and onion powder to taste. (But do not start mixing the ingredients together yet!)

Finely chop half of a yellow onion and half of a bell pepper (I used a red one) and add to the bowl. Crack an egg or two into the bowl and squirt approximately 1/3 cup ketchup into the mix as well.

Use back of a spoon to make indentations in each one.

Now it’s time to start mixing it all together. I never even attempt to use a spoon when making meatloaf–I just dive in and start “kneading” it together with my clean hands. It seems to make for a much nicer texture after it comes out of the oven; I think that’s probably because you’re not over-mixing any part of it. Just work it until the big chunks of individual ingredients are no longer discernable. (This concept is akin to stirring muffin mix only until moistened and not over-mixing your muffin ingredients to get a pleasing baked good in the end.)

Fill each hole with shredded cheese.

Once blended, divide the raw meat mixture into 8 lumps, placing a lump in each of the mini-loaf pan-forms. Flatten the mixture as best you can into all corners of the loaf shapes.

Seal those babies back up!

Take the back of a spoon and press down into the tops of the raw loaves, leaving an impression about 1/2″-3/4″ deep. Now sprinkle shredded mozzarella into each of the holes you just made, packing it as densely as possible. Mound the displaced meat mixture up over the top and press down to seal in the cheese. I used between 1 and 1-1/2 cups total shredded cheese for 8 loaves.

I loves me some ketchup!

♥Chef’s Note: Be sure that if you’re using bagged shredded cheese, you either transfer an appropriate amount to a handy bowl first, or wash your hands at many intervals during the stuffing process to avoid contaminating leftover cheese shreds that are going back in the fridge for later meals!

All done! (Those little white spots are cheese that rose to the surface.)

Once all the loaves are stuffed, squirt a thin layer of additional ketchup over the top of each raw loaf. Bake uncovered approximately 30 minutes for 8 miniature loaves; be sure to adjust times appropriately for other sizes of loaf pans.

Remove from oven when meaty tops begin to brown or any mozzarella that escapes to the surface begins to turn a golden yellow.

You're getting hungry...very hungry.

Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftovers; they reheat beautifully! I nuked 4 leftover mini loaves (covered loosely with a piece of plastic wrap) on one plate for 5

Easy weeknight meals are rarely this satisfying!

minutes on HIGH power and they were thoroughly heated without any underheated or overly hot patches.

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One Response to “Cheap Recipe: Mozzarella-Stuffed Mini Meatloaf to Die For…”

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  1. Fancy Foods | Coffee Maker Info - March 18, 2010

    […] Cheap Recipe: Mozzarella-Stuffed Mini Meatloaf to Die For… « The Red Kitchen Project […]

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