In trying to think about something a little different, I remembered that, when my kids were growing up, I made a dish called Macaroni and Cheese Meat Loaf. The kids liked both meat loaf and mac and cheese, so they really liked having them together. Two comfort foods, what more could they ask?
I haven't seen the recipe I used in years but thought that I could probably create one of my own. I adapted a recipe I found in my recipe cards (copied from Family Circle in 1981) that had mac and cheese served on top of a meatloaf. I am sharing the meatloaf mixture that I used, but your favorite meatloaf recipe that uses 1 1/2 lbs. meat can be substituted. I chose to use rotini pasta so that is why I did not call the recipe Mac and Cheese Stuffed Meat Loaf. I did not include a topping because the pan is very full, but a very thin one could be added, if desired. I love red peppers and used them for nutrition and color, but have listed them as optional in the recipe. Leave them out if you have picky eaters.
To prevent having to clean the oven, I place the loaf pan on a foil-lined baking sheet.
1 1/2 c. rotini, macaroni or other pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped red pepper (Optional)
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1 T. butter or margarine
1 T. flour
3/4 t salt
Pinch black pepper
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp, but you can use mild or medium or American cheese if you prefer)
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. dry breadcrumbs
1 T. minced dried onion or 1/2 c. minced fresh onion
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
Cook pasta according to package directions, undercooking it 1 to 2 minutes and adding red pepper to pasta water 1 to 2 minutes before you remove the pasta from the heat. Meanwhile beat egg and milk together in a small bowl. Drain pasta. Return pasta to pan and quickly stir in butter or margarine, flour, salt and pepper. Heat and stir until butter is melted. Stir in milk/egg mixture and cook stirring constantly until mixture is thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Set aside. Place ground beef in a large mixing bowl. Add bread crumbs, instant minced onion, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. In a glass measuring cup, mix together evaporated milk and Worcestershire sauce. Add to ground beef mixture and mix lightly but thoroughly. Place half of the meat mixture in a well greased 9x5-inch loaf pan and spread evenly. Top with all of the pasta mixture, spreading evenly. Cover pasta mixture with remaining meat mixture. (Pan will be very full.) Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour. Cover and let set for 10 minutes. Drain off any fat if necessary. Slice and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
More Improv next month with cake and frosting. You can find out more about joining the Improv Challenge by visiting Kristen's Improv Page.
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