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I’ve never really been a fan of meatloaf. I’m not sure why-the idea of it is amazing! A loaf of juicy meat cooked to perfection SHOULD be something that I enjoy, but I just have never found a taste for it…or at least the recipes I’ve tried before. I enjoyed a recipe one of the mom’s I nannied for made once, but when I asked her for the recipe she said “I just threw in a little of this and a little of that.” Oh Awesome! I just happen to have this and that in my pantry! Don’t get me wrong-I cook like that too-but I really wanted to recreate that meatloaf.
Fast forward 10 years, I was trying to think of some new ways to liven up my family’s dinners. I love trying new things and coming up with new ways to make some of our favorite meals to keep it exciting and interesting while teaching my boys that foods that may look different are still delicious! We love spaghetti and meatballs. LOVE. LURVE. It’s a weekly dinner around here and I’ve pretty much perfected this semi-homemade meal (I use store bought sauce most of the time). My kids also enjoy meatloaf, and one day I got struck with the idea to make my meatballs into a meatloaf! Why not? It would be a guaranteed way for me to enjoy meatloaf, and I knew my kids would love it too!
I started by mixing up the meatball mixture, put half into a slow cooker over a little spaghetti sauce. Top with chunks of mozzarella cheese, the other half of the meat mix and then cover with the rest of your spaghetti sauce. Slow cook it for a few hours and serve it with pasta, pouring the DELICIOUS sauce that’s been slow cooking with your meatloaf over the pasta generously. Seriously. The sauce is so good it’s ridiculous. The meatloaf? HOLY BUCKETS. Like whoa. So tender, juicy and full of flavor with a tunnel of melted mozzarella…and what’s better than that? Nothing. I promise.
Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatloaf
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb italian sausage
- 1/2 c italian flavored bread crumbs
- 1/4 c milk
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 6 inch long chunk of mozzarella cheese (or a stick of string cheese)
- Jar of you favorite spaghetti sauce (or homemade sauce)*
- Mix everything but the cheese and sauce together in a bowl. Divide the mixture in half. Pour about 1/2 cup of the spaghetti sauce into your slow cooker and place half of the meatloaf mixture on top. Place the cheese in the middle of the meat, making sure it doesn’t go over the edge of your meatloaf (you want it to be covered by the meat completely). Top with the other half of your meatloaf mixture, sealing the edges by pinching the bottom and top layers of meat together. Pour the remaining sauce over the meatloaf and use about 1/4-1/2 cup of water to shake in the spaghetti sauce jar to clean it out and add to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with pasta and pour the sauce over both the meat and pasta to enjoy!
Now, as you see above the cheese does ooze out a little. This happens no matter how well you seal your meatloaf, but it doesn’t all seep out. There’s still plenty on the inside! Feel free to double up on the cheese to make sure it’s extra cheesy if that’s what you prefer.
This makes for the perfect weeknight meal, and I usually double the recipe and freeze half of the raw meat mixture to be used for another meal later. It’s simpler that way since meat comes in 1 pound increments and this recipe uses half of each type of meat! Two meals ready to be cooked!