Monday, August 27, 2012

Grandpa's Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf

     Why does meatloaf get a bad wrap? Is it because of the countless disappointing school lunch meatloaves  made of "mystery meat," or is it just the few bad home cooks that served tasteless hunks of ground meat to their families that bred the common air of discontent? Perhaps it's the name . . . a loaf made up of meat doesn't sound particularly appetising; but when done the right way, it is.  Do you see the cheesy goodness above? Just give this one a shot, and then you be the judge - "good eats" or not.
    While my mother in-law was visiting us this summer, my amazing husband asked her to make her meatloaf. He has fond memories of eating it as a child, and he wanted to share that experience with his wife and kids. So, Grandma made her meatloaf, but she made it Grandpa's way. That is to say that she stuffed the middle with cheese. My mother-in-law said that she probably prefers the meatloaf without, but this is the way that my husband likes it - so this is what he got.
   It's a pretty traditional recipe. I took pictures of her making it, and approximated the measurements (she cooks by feel like me . . . I think all seasoned cooks do). If nothing else, you should try this recipe as a twist to an old favorite. I think I still prefer my meatloaf, but this is nice for a change. - It's also nice to bring up happy childhood memories for my hubby when I can. ;)

Here's how it starts:

She put about 3 pounds of ground beef into a large mixing bowl with one medium onion, diced. (She said she thought it was about 3 pounds. She scooped it out of the big Costco sized package we bought.)

Next comes the bell peppers. I try to always have some already diced and ready to go in the freezer. No need to thaw, as they will do so quickly in the mix. This was 1/2 cup (I actually measured this one.)

Next comes 1 egg and 2 Tbsp of Ketchup.  (How do you spell Ketchup? Catsup, or Ketchup? Silly that some people use both spellings. Decide America! lol OK I'm done.)

A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce go in.

Then the bread crumbs. Does this look like about 2/3 cup? That's what I'm going with. She just poured from the container - wanting to get enough bread crumbs to bind the loaf together.

She also added about 1/2 cup of rolled oats.

Salt and pepper come next. Perhaps 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper?  This is, as always, to taste.

Then she just started mixing by hand. There really is no other way if you want it really combined well.

While she mixed, I chopped up some cheddar cheese into cubes. I measured this as well - 2/3 cup.

When the meat mixture is thoroughly combined, she dumped it out into a large loaf pan, evened it out and the scooped out the middle.

The cheese gets put into the ditch,

and the meat put back on top.

The whole loaf pan gets put on top of a cookie sheet (in case any grease tries to spill out while baking), and it goes into a 350F oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, ketchup gets spread on top (or in this case, drizzled on top) and it goes back into the oven for another 15 minutes.  Grandma was trying to make it pretty for my Princess. She likes things drizzled and decorated. She won't eat a hot dog unless it has the ketchup and mustard drizzled back and forth in a zig-zag pattern, just like on TV.

When the meatloaf is done, drain off any grease that has rendered out of the loaf . . .

and serve it up.  (It would probably be best to let it rest for 10-15 minutes, to help it all hold together after cutting, but we were hungry.

This is my piece. A nice cheesy one from the middle.

It's funny. I don't care much for cheeseburgers - but this is basically just a cheese burger baked in a loaf shape. . . Hmm . . . quizzical.  Oh well. No need to hurt my brain trying to figure that one out. All you need to know is that it's yummy. We had ours with baked potatoes and peas, but serve it as you wish.
Here's the recipe:

Grandpa's Meatloaf

3 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 egg
2 Tbsp ketchup
a few dashed of Worcestershire sauce (maybe 10?)
about 2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper (to taste)
2/3 cup cubed cheddar cheese
ketchup for top

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a large mixing bowl. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. Put unto a large loaf pan and even it out. Scoop out a ditch down the middle and add the cheese in the middle. Replace the meat you scooped out and even it out again. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Take out of the oven and top with ketchup. Bake another 15 minutes. Drain off any grease. Let rest 10 minutes and serve hot.

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