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Posted on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 8 a.m.

Cheesy sausage mini meatloaves - updated recipe packs dish with flavor

By Mary Bilyeu

minisausagemeatloaf.jpg

Mary Bilyeu | Contributor

Meatloaf has a bad reputation.

I understand that — I grew up eating a variety that was made with onion soup mix. (It was the 60s/70s, when convenience foods were all the rage.) This particular dinner is also often a way to hide leftovers — a few bread crusts here, some mashed carrots there. Really, meatloaf is traditionally not appetizing. Virtually everyone I know winces and groans when the word is even uttered.

But that doesn't mean that meatloaf still has to be vile. There's no requirement to use dehydrated ingredients, or to top it off with a glaze of ketchup.

My son Jeremy loves meatloaf... my meatloaf. Several months ago, he went somewhere that offered meatloaf for lunch; he was happily anticipating it. And then he tasted it, only to find a dry, flavorless mass. He finally understood why this dish is so loathed.

So, let me redeem it for you!

This is a cross between meatloaf and meatballs, with lots of flavor from adding Italian sausage to the ground beef. Topped with tomatoes — not a corn syrupy tomato product — and stuffed with cheese, this is an easy, hearty, delicious meal.

Meatloaf. Who knew it could be so good?

Cheesy Sausage Mini Meatloaves

1 pound ground beef
1 pound Italian sausage
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic paste
generous pinch kosher salt
generous pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 ounces + 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup fire-roasted diced tomatoes (reserve rest of can for another purpose)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine beef, sausage, onion, garlic paste, salt, and pepper. Divide into 4 portions.

Combine the 1/3 cup Parmesan and 4 ounces mozzarella in a small bowl.

One portion at a time, form the meat mixture into a 6-inch patty; fill center with one-quarter of the cheese mixture, then fold up sides of the meat and wrap them around the cheese. Seal the ball and form it into a football shape and place into a 9x13-inch baking pan. Repeat with remaining meat and cheese mixtures.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Place 1/4 cup tomatoes over the top of each meatloaf. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 2 ounces mozzarella, then sprinkle over the top of each meatloaf. Bake 15 more minutes.

Makes 4 mini meatloaves.

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Mary Bilyeu writes for AnnArbor.com on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, telling about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests, meeting new friends ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions, comments, or suggestions: yentamary@gmail.com.

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — where she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related; and look for her monthly articles in the Washtenaw Jewish News. "Like" her on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter, too.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.

Comments

arborlib

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

Mary, what is garlic paste exactly? I've Googled it and can't find an answer. These look amazing!

Billy

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

That sounds awfully heavy and dry without any kind of breading or additional liquid. I guess the cheese would help with the dryness...but it's still going to be dense and heavy. Really this isn't meatloaf at all, it's more like a cheese stuffed meatball. I think to be considered a meatloaf it needs to have some kind of breading and egg in it...I've never seen a recipe without them in it for meatloaf. Klops even go a step further with the egg and stick a whole hardboiled one in the middle. You've just gotta have egg in it both as binder and to enhance the richness of flavor. Also, by having extra breading in it, that helps soak up liquid so if you're using a traditional meatloaf pan you can top the loaf with some stock/broth/wine while it cooks and that makes it VERY moist. When I make meatloaf this way no one ever puts gravy or ketchup on it. Oh...one last thing........put it on the grill...either in a pan or make little patties....but grilled meatloaf...it's just magical.