From the Chef: Stuffed Meatloaf


By Mark Marques

Although I was feeling nostalgic the other day, I thought, “what else could I do with one of my favorite comfort foods as a kid?” I decided to take the traditional meatloaf recipe and build upon it and come up with a new classic!

I stuffed the meatloaf with shredded mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms, garlic and herbs. It turned out so amazing! I am so happy to share this recipe with you. It is a truly hearty meal and it is fantastic cold the next day in a sandwich or re-heated and served over spaghetti noodles and topped with your favorite tomato or alfredo pasta sauce. And if you do not like mushrooms, try just cheese and herbs, or add artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus or even go further outside the box with sliced eggs or even seafood like cooked shrimp, crab meat or sautéed scallops! Try it! 

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(As with all recipes, read completely through. Get all of your ingredients and utensils together and then proceed.)

Meatloaf Mixture:

  • 2 Lbs. Ground Round or Ground Chuck (85/15 Lean)
  • 1 Lbs. Ground Pork
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 3 Cups Fresh Bread Crumbs (Panko Breading is ok if you do not have fresh)
  • 4oz Grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 Small Onion Diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Gloves of Garlic minced
  • 1 Tsp. Italian Herb Blend
  • 2 Tsp. Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • ½ Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper 

Seasoned Topping:

  • ½ Cup Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 Tsp. Coarse Kosher Salt 


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a sauté skillet over medium heat, sauté onions in the vegetable oil for 5 minutes, until softened. Add in minced garlic and the Italian herb blend and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.


In a Kitchen Aid mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk and stir until bread crumbs are moist. Add in Eggs, and stir to combine. Add in the cooked onion mixture, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Romano or Parmesan cheese and mix well. Add in Ground Beef and Ground Pork and mix until well blended. 

Using two loaf pans or two 13 x 9 x 2 inch Baking Pans, place half of the meatloaf mixture in each pan. Using your hands press the meatloaf mixture evenly in each pan. Be sure to press all the way out to the edges of the pan and ensure the pans are filled evenly. Top each of the meatloaves with a ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt and ¼ cup Ketchup. 

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until the center of the loaves show 160 degrees using a meat thermometer. Remove the foil cover for the last 10 to 15 minutes so the top browns nicely. Remove from oven when done and let sit for 15 minutes prior to removing from pan and slicing.  Serve this with mashed potatoes and seasoned broccoli for a hearty and delicious meal. You can also make this a day ahead and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. Be sure to take it out of the fridge for about 20-30 minutes prior to baking so it comes to room temperature a bit prior to baking. 

This recipe freezes beautifully and is also a smart way to plan ahead for meals. Cook both loaves and freeze one for a later date. Be sure to properly cool the unused meatloaf prior to freezing. When needed, thaw it out in your refrigerator for a day or two and reheat in the oven until center comes up to temperature. 

If you have any left overs, the meatloaf can be sliced for amazingly meatloaf sandwiches the next day or over pasta with your favorite sauce instead of meatballs or sausage. You can also place the meatloaf slices on the grill if you cut them fairly thick and carefully turning them over to re-heat.

Mark Marques is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School in New York City. He graduated with Top Honors. Mark has several years of experience in the Restaurant industry starting when he was kid working at his parent’s Italian Restaurant, Ducci’s, in Colorado. After serving in the US Navy, Mark attended culinary school and went onto work in some of the busiest eateries in the New York City, including in the Lincoln Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the South Street Seaport and Pier 17. Mark has also run restaurants for Club Med as well in his current city of Las Vegas. Please feel free to contact Mark at this newspaper with any questions concerning food, liquor, beer, wines, and cooking tips.

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