I love making meatloaf. There, I said it. I mostly use ground turkey because it is like a blank canvas and lets me add spices and vegetables to give it flavor and texture. But ground beef or meatloaf mix is equally good for this versatile and hearty main dish. I also just returned from a two-week business trip to New York City, which has more Italian food than anyplace outside of Italy. Every corner had pizza, pasta, antipasto and more. The smells were authentic and astounding. So when it came time to create yet another meatloaf for the family, I decided to make it like Meatloaf Parmesan–except without the breading on the outside and with mozzarella instead of Parmesan cheese. It received major thumbs up and I think I’ll repeat it whenever I want to flash back to those days and nights in Little Italy.
Marinara Meatloaf (or Italian Meatloaf or Meatloaf Parmesan)
2 lbs ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, etc.)
1 teaspoon Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil)
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 can diced tomatoes including liquid
1/2 cup cooked green beans (cut up in 1/4-inch segments)
1 jar marinara sauce
4 slices mozzarella cheese (or can use 1 package shredded mozzarella)
1. Mix first 8 ingredients in a large bowl with your fingers. Be careful to toss without compressing the meat. Place in a bread pan and put the bread pan on a pizza pan or cookie sheet (to catch drips). Put into a 350 degree oven for 75 minutes. Try to do this hours (or even a day) before dinner so the meatloaf can solidify and be easily sliced at dinnertime.
2. Cut meatloaf into 1-inch thick slices. Top each slice with marinara sauce and then mozzarella cheese. Reheat in microwave for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes until cheese is melting.
3. Add cooked pasta (premixed with marinara sauce) to the plate. Include green salad and garlic bread if desired to make a pretty meal.