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Divas: 4 delicious reasons to make this meatloaf

Because it stretches a buck and sneaks in veggies? Count me in! But wait – this same recipe can make burgers and meatballs? And my leftovers make the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, ever? Oh! Cheesy Beef and Veggie Meatloaf, where have you been all my life?

Here is a moist and tender, packed-with-flavor meatloaf that sneaks in a full serving of veggies. Shhh. Don’t tell the kiddies! This recipe makes six generous portions for less than $1.50 per serving. Serve with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots to make your own Blue Plate Special.

Cheesy Beef and Veggie

Meatloaf

What You’ll Need:

2 carrots – shredded

2 stalks celery – finely minced

1 medium-sized sweet onion – minced

1 clove garlic – minced or pressed

¾ cup fresh bread crumbs

1 ½ pounds ground beef

2 eggs

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper

8 oz. block cheddar cheese

Slices of bacon – optional but highly recommended

Glaze:

¼ cup ketchup

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon mustard

Here’s How:

Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Lightly grease a 5×9 loaf pan or a 9×13 baking pan. In a skillet on medium-high heat, sauté the carrot, celery and onion in oil until the onion is translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and stir it all around until it’s softened and smells divine.

In a large mixing bowl; add veggies, bread crumbs, ground beef, eggs, Worcestershire and seasoning. Use your very clean hands to mix all ingredients. Just get in there and mush it together.

Form the meatloaf around the block of cheese and place into the loaf pan or shape mixture into a loaf on a baking pan with sides. If you’re topping with bacon—weave slices of bacon and place on top of shaped meatloaf tucking the ends under. Brush the top with half the glaze. Bake for a total of one hour. Spoon the remainder of the glaze on after 45 minutes cooking time. Return to the oven for the 15 remaining minutes. Test for doneness, your meat thermometer should read 155°.

For Burgers – Shape the meatloaf mixture into burger patties and BBQ, pan fry, broil or bake. Top with a slice of cheese and let that melt. Then pop it on a bun with some crisp lettuce and a slice of tomato. You’ve got yourself a scrumptious little sneaky vegified burger.

For Meatballs – Simply roll small amounts of the meatloaf mix into meatballs. Bake in the oven at 350° until a meat thermometer reads 155°. Serve with pasta and marinara sauce or make meatball subs. These also make a great snack or appetizer.

Want to know why I always make a double batch? Because I need leftovers in order to make irresistible grilled cheese and meatloaf sandwiches. Put a schmear of ketchup on the bottom slice of bread, top with meatloaf and cheese slices and the second slice of bread. Spread butter on the outside of both pieces of bread. Heat a skillet and cook the sandwich on both sides until golden brown and delicious. Oh yes. Come to Mama.

Frugal and Fabulous Food contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com

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