Mini Cheesy Meatloaf

While trying to decide what I wanted to cook for the week I got this craving for meatloaf.  I know it seems like a weird craving but for some reason it just sounded so good.  I remember my parents making a cheese stuffed meatloaf as a kid, we didn’t get it all the time but it showed up on the dinner table often.  It was quick and cooked in the microwave; we had a thing for meals cooked in the microwave so much so we have a huge recipe box full of microwave only recipes, who knows maybe I’ll but one of those out in the future.  Now I have had some good meatloaf and the bad, I think there is a fine line between something delicious and just a block of meat; and unfortunately it doesn’t take much to cross into the bad.  I think this is why meatloaf gets such a bad rap often times it is hard and flavorless, I have had many people tell me how gross meatloaf is and then they describe that cafeteria meatloaf from elementary school.  I am sorry there was no way to make that taste good.  So when I think about what I was served as a kid it was always full of flavor and stuffed with cheese how can you go wrong with that.  Now honestly I can’t tell you the last time I actually had meatloaf but I had to do something about this craving so I came up with this:

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Since I did not have my parent’s recipe on hand and I didn’t really know where to start but I did know what I wanted in it, simple flavors and cheese.  I did a little research on the good old internet and crafted my own recipe.  I took bits and pieces from recipes online and my knowledge of how my parent’s always whipped it up or guesses on how they whipped it up.  The biggest decision I made was to make it in small individual loaves versus the large loaf that most people remember being served at the dinner table.  Next I wanted to have a sweet & salty type sauce on top to help with moisture and below you can see the whole recipe.  Don’t forget to make adjustments as you see fit, a little more spices here or less cheese (but who wants less cheese) cooking is fun and should be enjoyed so use what you love!

Mini Cheesy Meatloaves

1 lb ground beef (or any other ground meat you prefer)

1-2 eggs lightly beaten (I used two medium eggs adjust for the size you have on hand)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 medium yellow onion diced

1 tbsp dried orageno

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp granulated garlic or minced garlic

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 cup plain breadcrumbs (you may need more or less depending on how wet your meat is, I used an extra 1/4 cup)

Salt & Pepper

Ingredients for the Sauce

1/4 – 1/2 cup Ketchup

1 tbsp Horseradish Mustard (next time I will up this to 2 tbsp)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

Heat oven to 425° F and then place your oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

While the oven preheats get a large bowl and put in your ground beef, spices, Worcestershire sauce, lightly beaten eggs and breadcrumbs.  The next part is messy but the only way to make meatloaf, remove any jewelry and then get your hands in there and mix it all up.  At this point if it feels really wet add additional breadcrumbs just to soak up the extra liquid and help keep things together.  Once you have it all mixed up throw in your onion & shredded cheese and give it another good mix.  Feel free to add everything all at once then mix it up, I did in two mixes because honestly I forgot those two ingredients on the other side of the counter and I decided to write this exactly how I did it not that it matters but you never know.  The joys of cooking, you can improvise as you go through it is never exact and that is half the fun.  This is how it should look once mixed up, meat doesn’t look dry and everything is fully incorporated.

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Once everything is mixed up you are going to form 4 to 6 loaves with your hands, and place on your greased cookie sheet.  It all depends on how big you make them, I only made 4 this time.  I got two on the larger size and two smaller ones, which was perfect for lunch the next day.

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After you have formed your loaves and given your hands a good scrubbing it is time to make the sauce.  In a small bowl take your ketchup, mustard, spices and sugar and give it a good stir.  Once it is all mixed up spoon the mixture over each of the loaves giving them a nice top coat.  The sugar in the sauce will begin to caramelize and become almost like barbeque sauce.

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By time you have sauced the loaves your oven should be nice and hot.  Go ahead and place them in middle of your oven for 25 – 30 mins or until the center is no longer pink.  At 25 mins I pulled mine out and as you can kind of see below I cut into it to make sure that it was cooked through and it was perfect.  Depending on how the size and thickness you may have to adjust the cooking time.

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Once you remove them from the oven let them sit for 5 mins to rest before diving into your yummy dinner!  Just look at all the melted cheese mixing in the with sauce, yum!  I served mine with asparagus that was tossed with garlic salt and parmesan cheese and red potatoes that I cooked in the microwave and topped with butter, salt & pepper.

I really enjoyed this dish, it has a nice texture not hard like some meatloaves can get if they are over cooked, I think the small loaves help with this.  The nice thing about the onions is that they soften up and add moisture to the loaf which really helps keep the texture soft and more like a really good hamburger.  I ended up bringing the leftovers to work so my mother and I could enjoy them and they were just as good the next day.

I would love to hear how yours turns out or if you made any changes and how they worked, just leave me a comment!

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