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My 'super secret' recipe

When my youngest daughter was about 5 years old she became extremely picky when it came to what she would and wouldn't eat. No amount of coaxing could get her to try something she thought she wouldn't like. Chicken and bacon were a definite yes! Ham, meatloaf and soup - No way!

Having two older children I certainly knew, each child is different. I knew there was a way, a way to get her to try something new, without a fight. I just had to come up with it. So one evening I deciding we were having meatloaf. As I began preparing dinner, my daughter passed through the kitchen. She paused and asked, 'what's for dinner'? I thought fast and told her we were having 'brown chicken'. I held my breath waiting for the oh-so typical complaining to begin. But she said, 'OK' and walked on! I prepared the meatloaf as usual, told the family not to mention the word 'meatloaf' during this meal and we sat down to eat. My daughter tasted it, ate it all and promptly asked if we could have this 'brown chicken' again soon!

It's all about the presentation! So at our house we eat 'brown chicken' (aka meatloaf) and 'Un-sliced bacon' (aka ham steak) regularly. If you have finicky eaters you might try a new title and see what happens. This works, while they're young anyway.

If you've spent any time around our house you'd quickly learn, I'm known for my meatloaf. This is not just any meatloaf - think of this as more of a meatloaf with an Italian twist. I've been asked over the years for the recipe but I've kept this one a secret.

Yet, as I set about preparing yet another home-cooked meal during the pandemic lockdown, I thought I'd share this with you. It's a comfort food favorite for us and I thought I might share some comfort with you.

This recipe is extremely forgiving. If you don't have some of these ingredients, using substitutions and skipping spices still work just fine.

Kristen's Meatloaf (aka Brown Chicken) Recipe:

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. Ground Chuck

1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or any white shredded cheese)

1 Egg

1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs

3 TBSP Barbecue Sauce (your favorite kind)

1-1/2 TBSP Italian Dressing (creamy Italian works in a pinch)

1 TBSP Parmesan Cheese (real or the green shaker kind)

1-1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning Blend (any brand dry spice mix)

1/2 tsp. Minced Garlic

1 tsp. Finely Chopped Onion (or 1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes)

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 tsp. Parsley

1/4 tsp. Yellow Mustard

1/8 tsp. Steak Seasoning (dry)

1 Dash Beau Monde

1 Dash Barbecue Seasoning (dry)

1 Dash Blackened Seasoning (optional if you like a kick)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all but the Mozzarella cheese. Mix completely and make sure it is not too wet or two dry. If it is dry, add Italian Dressing, if sloppy, add Italian Bread Crumbs.

Roll out some wax paper. Form a rectangle with the ground chuck mix on top of the wax paper. Then sprinkle across 7/8 of it with Mozzarella Cheese. Leave a small end section without cheese. Lift the other end of the wax paper to start rolling into a 'jelly roll'.

Pinch closed the ends so the cheese doesn't melt out during cooking. Put in a pan and cook at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes. Longer with more Ground Chuck. At about 25 minutes into cooking, pour more Barbecue Sauce on top of the meatloaf and return it to the oven. Serve in slices. This will feed 4-5 people, well. Have more to feed? Simply up just about everything.

This recipe is something I throw together in about 10-15 minutes with things on hand.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

Be safe, Kristen


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