On Friday night we had some good friends over for dinner that we hadn’t gotten to see and spend time with in awhile. Earlier in the week after we made the dinner plans I was talking with Bob about what to serve for dinner. Often when we get together with this couple, especially in the spring/summertime, we will grill or have carry in. However, Bob said that during a recent conversation with one of our friends that he had mentioned a certain kind of meatloaf that I had made Bob and him for dinner when they visited me at my apartment, when I was in grad school. That was at least 12 years ago, so I was impressed that he remembered something I made that long ago. It was nice to hear that our friend liked and recalled this meal after all this time, so I decided to make it for dinner on Friday.
A little background on this comfort food… I had it for the first time early on in my relationship with Bob. I believe that one of the first times I ate dinner at his parents’ house that his mom made “stuffed meatloaf.” Growing up I was never a big fan of regular meatloaf, as I thought it was pretty bland. Those who know me well, know that I LOVE cheese, so one of the things that struck me first with this take on meatloaf was the cheese factor. So after trying and really liking Bob’s mom’s “stuffed meatloaf,” I asked her for the recipe. From then on it has been a staple in my dinner repertoire. I started making it when I lived on my own in an apartment during grad school, in 1998 – 1999, and continued to do so after Bob and I got married in 2000 and started our family in 2003.
Sometime after Abby was born in 2009, Bob and I were looking to make ahead some easy meals that we could freeze for nights when I, or we, didn’t feel up to cooking while taking care of a newborn baby and a Kindergartener. So one Sunday afternoon after grocery shopping and buying A LOT of ground beef, we got a sort of assembly line going and together we mass produced three “stuffed meatloafs.” We ate one for dinner that night, enjoyed the leftovers in the week to come and froze the other two. We ate the others in the weeks and months to follow. They tasted delicious, even after having been frozen, but after awhile I think we had gotten a little sick of our old standby/go to meal. As a result we don’t recall having made or eaten “stuffed meatloaf” since.
So it was a special treat on Friday to make this delicious meal for our friends and ourselves to enjoy. I hope it lived up to our friend’s memories of it, though I don’t know if he would have told me if it hadn’t. When we discussed it that night at dinner, he thought it was nice that I wanted to make it for him after all these years, though he clarified that when he brought it up to Bob recently, he wasn’t trying to make a request. Rather our friend had thought of it in conversation with a coworker who he had been discussing strange and creative variations of meatloaf that they had eaten throughout their lives. That said, all this talk about “stuffed meatloaf” caused me to reflect on how it became one of our favorite family meals over the years and in doing so I experienced and recalled many perfect moments.
I was relaying all of this to one of my girlfriends the other day and told her that I might share the story as my Perfect Moment Monday blog entry today. My friend had never heard of or tried “stuffed meatloaf” and suggested that if and when I did post this story, that I also include the recipe (in part because she thought it sounded yummy and wanted to try to make it herself sometime soon). So here it is:
Stuffed Meatloaf (a.k.a. Stuffed Hamburger Roll)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cups 1/4 – inch bread cubes, toasted (about 4 slices)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
4 ounce sharp processed American cheese, shredded (1 cup) — I use sharp cheddar and sometimes a bit more than 4 oz.
Combine onion and 1/3 cup water; simmer coverd, 5 minutes. Add bread cubes; toss. Combine meat, egg, seasonings and dash pepper. On waxed paper, pat meat in 14 x 8 inch rectangle. Spread bread mixture over; sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese atop (I often use a bit more). Starting at narrow end, roll meat mixture. Place seem side down in 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 70 minutes. Top with remaining cheese (use more if desired), bake unitl melted. Serves 6.
Double the stuffing for 2 lbs.
Double ingredients/recipe for 3 lbs. (you may need to cook it a bit longer with more ground bee)
Source: Better Homes & Gardens: Meat Cook Book
Lori from Write Mind Open Heart says that “Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.” I love the idea of being mindful of and blogging about perfect moments. In the past I have often used my blog more to write about things I am struggling with and though I know that is valid and important for me at times, I appreciate the idea of being intentional about also sharing the simple and very special moments in our lives. Many thanks to Lori for this idea, a wonderful opportunity to focus on what is right in our life, instead of what is wrong.
Click here to read about and comment on more Perfect Moments (there are links to others’ posts at the bottom of Lori’s blog entry) this Monday and/or add a link to one of your own.
I hope that you have a wonderful week and that you are aware of, as well as able to notice, many perfect moments in your own lives.