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Delicious Italian Meatloaf

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Mastering the Art of Delicious Italian Meatloaf: A Flavorful Twist on a Classic Dish

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Prepare to elevate your meatloaf game with this irresistible Italian-inspired recipe. Bursting with savory flavors and comforting aromas, Italian meatloaf is a delightful twist on the traditional dish that will tantalize your taste buds and impress your dinner guests. Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight family dinner or hosting a special gathering, this recipe is sure to become a new favorite in your repertoire. Join us as we explore the step-by-step process of creating this delicious Italian meatloaf masterpiece.

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Ingredients:

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  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (orange or any color of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 slices white bread, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese, reserve 3/4 cup for topping
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, plus additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup for topping

Instructions:

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  1. Prepare the Meat Mixture: In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and bell pepper, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  2. Combine Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, ground Italian sausage, Worcestershire sauce, beaten egg, dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley, Italian bread crumbs, crumbled white bread, milk, sautéed onion and bell pepper mixture, grated Parmesan cheese, and 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  3. Form the Meatloaf: Transfer the meat mixture to a greased loaf pan, shaping it into a loaf shape. Press down gently to ensure even distribution and smooth out the top.
  4. Add Sauce and Cheese: Pour marinara sauce over the top of the meatloaf, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce, covering the entire surface.
  5. Bake to Perfection: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the meatloaf in the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C) and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Rest and Serve: Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a moist and flavorful meatloaf. Slice and serve with additional marinara sauce if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations:

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  • For a spicier kick, use hot Italian sausage instead of mild.
  • Experiment with different cheeses such as provolone or fontina for added depth of flavor.
  • Customize the seasoning by adding dried thyme, rosemary, or red pepper flakes according to your taste preferences.
  • Substitute ground turkey or chicken for a lighter option without sacrificing flavor.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto Version: Replace the bread crumbs and white bread with almond flour or crushed pork rinds to reduce the carbohydrate content. Use sugar-free marinara sauce and opt for full-fat cheese. Serve with a side of steamed vegetables or a salad.
  • Low-Carb Version: Follow the keto version instructions but further reduce the amount of bread substitute used. You can also incorporate additional vegetables such as diced zucchini or spinach for added nutrients and fiber.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use store-bought Italian seasoning instead of individual dried herbs? A: Yes, you can substitute 1-2 teaspoons of store-bought Italian seasoning for the dried oregano, basil, and parsley.

Q: Can I freeze leftover Italian meatloaf? A: Absolutely! Italian meatloaf freezes well. Wrap individual slices or the entire meatloaf tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place in a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Q: Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef for this recipe? A: Yes, ground turkey can be used as a leaner alternative to ground beef. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture may differ slightly.

Q: Can I add additional vegetables to the meat mixture? A: Of course! Feel free to add diced mushrooms, grated zucchini, or finely chopped spinach for extra flavor and nutrients. Just be sure to adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully mastered the art of crafting delicious Italian meatloaf! With its savory flavors, gooey melted cheese, and tender texture, this recipe is sure to become a new family favorite. Whether you’re serving it for a cozy weeknight dinner or a special occasion, Italian meatloaf never fails to impress. Experiment with different variations and adjustments to suit your taste preferences, and enjoy the satisfaction of creating a homemade dish that rivals your favorite Italian restaurant. Here’s to many more memorable meals shared with loved ones and the joy of savoring every bite of this mouthwatering Italian meatloaf masterpiece!

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