I am a big fan of meatloaf. For me, it’s one of those ultimate comfort foods. It’s a big, meaty, “I love you,” for your stomach. Throw in some mashed potatoes and some bread or rolls and I’m set. Also highly in meatloaf’s favor is that it is so easy to make. A little bit of prep work and getting your hands dirty (I firmly believe true meatloaf should be mixed by hand), some time in the oven, and a wonderful dinner is ready to go.
I stumbled across this recipe a while back using stuffing mix and I gave it a try. I definitely liked the concept, and the first attempt went fairly well, but it wasn’t quite right for me. There just seemed to be something missing, and the loaf itself was a little dry. I solved that problem with my leftovers by putting applesauce over the top, which tasted quite nice, leading me to think, “Aha! Next time I’ll add some applesauce to the meatloaf itself!” I did, and I am very pleased with the result. I guess my version has two secret ingredients.
- 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1 box of stuffing mix (I used sage because I like the extra herb flavor. The recipe I adapted this from used chicken.)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
Mix everything together and put it in a loaf pan (I used an 8×4). Cook in an oven set at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how much meat you used. Enjoy! (Really, that’s it!)
Adapted from Dancing Thru the Minefield
Tweaks and Overall Review
Aside from using a different flavor of stuffing mix, the main thing I did was add the applesauce to the recipe, and I have to say I really think it makes this dish shine. The meatloaf stays nice and moist, and there is a slight sweetness from the applesauce which I think goes quite well with the herb flavors from the stuffing mix. I really enjoyed it, as did some friends who joined us for dinner. Since the prep time is minimal, probably less than 5 minutes, this is a perfect recipe for a busy night.
I tend to be a very social person. I love having people over and I love feeding them while they’re here. This past Sunday we had a group of guys from my husband’s work come over to watch the football games, so I had the perfect excuse to make some party food. I’ve had these pinned for months so I was really excited to finally get to make them. The recipe originally comes from Taste of Home magazine (the March/April 2008 issue, in case anyone wants to find the hardcopy) and can be found online here. The website says this was one of their contest winners and I can see why.
- 1lb. ground beef (I used 88% lean, but I wouldn’t recommend anything leaner than that.)
- 1 4oz. can of chopped chiles
- 1 8oz. package of cream cheese
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. chile powder
- 3 tubes of crescent rolls (standard size)
Cook the ground beef and chiles together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the meat is no longer cooked, remove from heat and drain off any fat. Stir in cream cheese and spices. Allow the mixture to cool.
Preheat your oven to 375°F and start preparing your crescents. Spoon a rounded teaspoon’s worth of the beef mixture at the short end of the triangle and then roll it up as normal. Check to see if there are any openings in the dough and pinch them shut.
With the point side pointing down, place your rolled-up crescents on ungreased baking sheets and bake for about 11-14 minutes or until golden.
Tweaks and Overall Review
I didn’t tweak a lot about the ingredients themselves, except for using a bit more spice than the original recipe calls for. I like a little kick and 1/4 teaspoon each of cumin and chile powder just sounded like too little. The main tweaks I made were in the method of preparation. I added my spices while my ground beef was cooking and since I didn’t have a ton of fat left in my pan, I didn’t bother to drain it after. I also tweaked the oven temperature down to 350°F since my oven tends to run a little hot. It only added another minute or so to the total cook time. Finally, I ended up with extra beef mixture after stuffing all of the standard size crescents (the three tubes give you 24 total), so I broke out a tube of my Grands! crescents and used those to take care of the extra. I upped the amount of beef mixture in each crescent to two rounded teaspoons and then baked them for about 16 minutes. Depending on whether or not you want to make these as a snack/party food or as part of a meal, using the larger crescents may be preferable.
The verdict: These were gone as fast as I could make them! Big Bit didn’t care for hers, but she’s been going through a picky phase lately. Everyone else, including Little Bit, loved theirs. These were declared to be good “man food” and I get the feeling will now be expected fare when we host parties for games or fights. They were easy to make, and like I said earlier, I can see why these won a contest. Easy and man-approved is a winner in my book.