Meatloaf wasn’t something I ate growing up. In fact, it always kind of turned me off. It was literally a brick of ground meat, a load, truly. Around the time hubby and I first moved in together (before marriage, gasp!), he requested I make him meatloaf. As a meatloaf novice, I did my best using my knowledge of making meatballs and it turned out to be THE BEST MEATLOAF EVER!
Well, according to him. I didn’t even eat it. I actually made something else for myself that night. I have no clue what I put into that meatloaf. No idea. Nada. But to this day he remembers it, asks me to make it and raves to friends about “my” meatloaf.
I decided to give meatloaf another whirl, but this time lighten it up a little, add some sophistication and make it something I would eat. I used my knowledge of making a good meatball. Instead of using fresh bread, I opted for breadcrumbs, wanting to dry out some of the ingredients that wound’t have the chance to drain. My research showed that some folks just use straight up beef, bread crumbs and egg, while others like a blend of celery, garlic and onion in the mix. The most common problem seemed to be not cooking all the way through and “stuffed meatloaf” was by far the most popular, although generally stuffed with mozzarella cheese.
I made a nice blend of Parmesan cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs, farm fresh eggs and paste of onion and garlic, opting to use fresh veggies as my “stuffing” instead of gooey cheese. Finely shredded carrot and zucchini would add color, a bright, fresh snap in each bite and also keep the inside moist. I might add goat cheese next time around, but really, this was enough. Now I didn’t need to worry about the interior cooking to temperature because it wasn’t made of meat.
Lastly, the topping. Some use plain ketchup, while others prefer BBQ sauce. Many make a sweet blend of ketchup, brown sugar and mustard for some bite. But what if I used the sauce from my Cocktail Meatballs? A blend of ketchup and grape jelly to add acidic flavor with a little bit of sweet.
Now what to serve it with. Mashed potatoes are a likely choice, but it was a nice spring day and mashed potatoes seemed too heavy, like a snowy night comfort meal, so I made up a Bacon Potato Salad served chilled or room temperture. Red wine vinegar, bacon, minced bell pepper and pickled red onion have a great texture and taste that isn’t too overwhelming, but keeps in line with traditional “meat and potatoes.” May family loved it and I’m looking forward to hearing if yours will too! I even went out and purchased a meatloaf pan to expend my loafy horizons. Stay tuned!
Don’t forget to PIN Stuffed Meatloaf.