Ah, meatloaf. The quintessential middle-class dinner. Basically a slab of baked ground beef. My parents used to make a wicked good meatloaf. Naturally, they had no actual recipe. They just threw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and mashed it around with their hands. Then they'd put it in a loaf pan and bake it. They'd top it with a little barbecue sauce and cheese and there you had it. Dinner was served!
I still do fundamentally the same thing when I make meatloaf. However, last Friday was different. The wife and I were discussing dinner options and meatloaf came up. She enjoys my meatloaf quite a bit and said I should make it. I suggested mac & cheese as a side. Then it hit me. A stroke of genius unlike any other. I would put the mac & cheese IN the meatloaf!
|Even Relativity Theory pales in comparison|
|Macaroni & Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf|
For Macaroni & Cheese
- 1 5.5 ounce box macaroni & cheese mix
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup shredded colby-jack cheese
- 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, plus another 1/4 cup reserved
- 3/4 cup shredded colby-jack cheese, reserved
For Macaroni and Cheese
- Cook pasta according to directions, drain and return to pot
- Add contents of cheese packet, butter, cream and shredded cheese, stir until all ingredients are melted and incorporated.
- Set pot aside
|This is what you should have|
at step #4
- Preheat oven to 375F. Put a crappy cookie sheet on the bottom rack to catch the inevitable drippings.
- In a large bowl, add meat, onion, bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. Mix well with hands. Yes, your hands. This is how it's done. Stop being a baby and get in there.
- In a loaf pan, put a layer of meat (about 1/2") on the bottom. Then take more meat and use it to build walls. You should end up with a trench in the middle. It should look like bathtub made of meat.
- Fill the trench with as much of the mac & cheese mixture that you can. Don't go above the top of the pan. Feel free to eat any of the leftover mac & cheese as you cook. That's what we did. At this point, things should look like the picture above.
- Cover the mac & cheese with the last of the meat. Pat it down.
- Put in the oven for about 40 minutes. You're going to need to take it out a couple of times and drain the fat. If you have one of those fancy meatloaf pans (as seen on TV!) it will be much easier. Otherwise, use a wooden spatula to hold the meatloaf in place while you tip the pan to drain the fat. Be careful to not let the top of the meatloaf break off. You'll have to drain the fat a couple of times during the cooking.
- After 40 minutes, take out and spread remaining barbecue sauce over the top of the meatloaf. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the barbecue sauce. Return to oven until cheese is melted, about 10-15 more minutes.
- Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Be extremely careful if you're going to take it out of the pan before slicing. You may want to use two spatulas and come at it from both ends. Cut gently with a large knife. I used my big bread slicer.