Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hearty Twists on a Classic: 3 Unique, Delicious Meatloaf Recipes {Guest Post}

As a kid, like many other children, I was never a fan of meatloaf. It just seemed “blah” and I wanted something delicious and decadent like mac 'n cheese. But after a little digging (and growing up!), I found what makes a good meatloaf recipe - extra spices and variations that can turn ordinary meatloaf  into an extraordinary dinner that I can even get my kids to enjoy.

And the best part is, meatloaf is so easy to make! So say goodbye to the excuses and try out one of our favorite meatloaf recipes that your whole family will love

To make your meatloaf even more delicious, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider adding tomato sauce to the mixture. It'll not only make the dish more moist, but it'll add a kick of flavor. 
  • For recipes that call for breadcrumbs, soak them briefly in milk for a more tender end result. 
  • When serving a whole meatloaf (instead of those made in a muffin tin), let it stand for about 20 minutes prior to cutting into it. This will help set the dish and make it easier to serve. 

Easy Layered Italian Meatloaf
This hearty combination includes ground beef, fresh veggies, and gooey cheese for a dish that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. The recipe calls for zucchini and mushrooms but if you're feeling brave, toss in a few red peppers, chunky tomatoes, or another favorite vegetable.

6 servings

1 pkg. (6 oz.) stuffing mix
1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce, divided
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, divided
1-1/2 lb. extra-lean ground beef
2 cups chopped zucchini
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix stuffing mix with half each of the spaghetti sauce and oregano. Add meat; mix well. Pat into 13x9-inch baking dish.

Mix vegetables and remaining spaghetti sauce and oregano. Spoon over meat mixture; cover.

Bake 25 min. Top with cheese. Bake, uncovered, 10 min. or until meatloaf is done (160°F).

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Cheesy Salsa-Mini Meatloaves 
There's never been a better dish for dinner on-the-go. Use muffin tins and create a Mexican variation on a home-cooked favorite. And the best part of these little guys? The small size makes them bake much quicker. 

6 servings

1 lb. ground beef
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 egg
12 saltine crackers, finely crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups Mexican-style shredded cheese, divided
1 cup salsa, divided

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Mix first 4 ingredients with 1 cup cheese and 1/2 cup salsa.

Press into 12 muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray. Use back of spoon to make indentation in center of each. Place muffin pan on foil-covered baking sheet.

Bake 20 to 25 min. or until meatloaves are done (160°F). Top with remaining salsa and cheese; bake 3 min. or until cheese is melted.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Fiesta Meatloaf
Pair this delicious dish with broccoli and mashed potatoes for a full-fledged meal. This  meatloaf spins an old favorite into a tastebud fiesta party. 

8 servings

2 lb. lean ground beef
1 pkg. (6 oz.) stuffing mix
1 cup water
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. chili powder
½ cup salsa, divided
¾ cup Mexican-style shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Mix all ingredients except ¼ cup salsa and cheese.

Shape into oval loaf in 13x9-inch baking dish; top with remaining salsa.

Bake 1 hour or until done (160ºF). Top with cheese; bake 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

About the author:
While not working part-time as a bank teller, Jennifer fills her time with golf, tennis, pottery, and - of course - cooking. Jennifer has been on a quest to prepare the perfect croissant for years...she is happy to say that she is getting very close. ***Recipes adapted from Kraft Recipes***

Disclosure: Monetary compensation was received for this post, however all opinions are my own.


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