This particular recipe was borne out of sheer laziness. Well, laziness and the cold. I had some ground beef in the fridge and was thinking about making some form of Asian influenced meatloaf but was too cold and lazy to hit the grocery store for additional ingredients. It pretty much would have just been soy sauce and water chestnuts - not good! I could have made my usual version, but always wanting to play around, I had to veer off course a bit. This one is now second on my list, trumped only by my Taco Meatloaf.
1 c stuffing mix (I used Bell's)
1/2 c milk
1/3+ c Heinz Hot & Spicy Ketchup
2 T Worcestershire
2 t crushed red pepper
1 T Italian seasoning
1/3 c grated Parmesan
1 large rib of celery
1 small onion
1/2 c fresh chopped parsley
2 lb ground beef
4 slices American cheese
1/4 c shredded cheese blend (I used a cheddar/jack blend)
In a large bowl, stir together the stuffing mix, milk, 1/3c ketchup, Worcestershire, egg, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning and Parmesan. That will give the milk a few minutes to soften up the stuffing and dry herbs while you chop your veggies. I had never used the Bell's before, and when I first saw it, I was afraid that because it was so coarse, it would have a negative effect on the texture, but that was not the case at all.
Mince the celery and onion so that when you cut into your finished product, large chunks won't break it apart. Chop the parsley, then stir all three into the stuffing mixture.
Incorporate the ground beef into the stuffing mixture until well blended, then divide in half and use one of the halves to form a loaf shape on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Press a well into the loaf and layer the cheese in the center, then cover with the remaining half of the meat mixture, pinching to secure the edges where the two halves meet.
Slather the top of the meatloaf with additional Hot & Spicy Ketchup and bake at 350° until the center reaches 160°. In my oven, that took 1'10", but the time will vary depending on the tray you are baking it on, how you shape it, etc.
When I first checked it, I was happy to see that there were no leaks, but of course by the time it was done, there was a little seepage. More bubble than a leak really, but no biggie either way.
Sweet, spicy, juicy, gooey, comforting, you name it - this one hit its mark!