Epic Mac & Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf

I see some of the "Finer" things that John is doing with this site. My mouth waters every time I read his posts or I yearn for the items he is showing off from the Farmer's Markets and vendors. This stuff is just spectacular. I love the local flare shown here. Whether we know it or not, we are all local flare. Did you know that?

The Epic Meatloaf, cut I am not sure how many of you have children. Some of the "Finer" things in children's lives are connecting with their parents on any level. As much as they may rebel against us, like we did with our parents, they love us as we do our parents. What better way to connect with our children than getting down to the most basic of life's requirements? Social eating is as old as caves. Cooking with children is about that old.

As we get more and more into a service lifestyle where we tend to order our basic needs online we need find a way to keep some of the basic rituals alive especially cooking.

I have been divorced for a long time. My daughter was 5 when this happened. Right now, I am happy to say, my daughter and I have a fantastic relationship that somehow developed around getting together to eat. I didn't have much money so I would bring her over to my house and cook dinner for her. It wasn't long until I had her helping. That basic element created a fantastic bond that continues to make us closer.

Of course, after time, the skill development and the imagination grew. And, the internet began to influence our thinking. My daughter found a YouTube series of videos called Epic Meal Time. I won't give the website here so I suggest you Google it. The reason I won't give it here is because I want you to be aware that it may be a little raunchy with language and have abrupt actions. There are a lot of unusual, fun ideas that can come from that mentality and you should work to take that away and make it your own. We took the idea and left the crude behavior behind. After watching several videos with her we decided to have our own, cleaned up version of Epic Meal time. The decision was made, Epic Meatloaf.

Epic Meatloaf is a combination of my mother's baked macaroni, standard meatloaf, and my BBQ rub and sauce, wrapped in the food of the Gods - Bacon! We did this as a goof. What turned out was an amazing dinner that everyone really enjoyed!

Here is how we did it.

  1. THE MAC AND CHEESE FILLING: My daughter made my mother's baked macaroni. That is a secret recipe that my daughter has and I don't so I can't share it here. If I were you, make the Joy of Cooking Baked Macaroni or your own version at least a day ahead.
    A word about measurements - just add what you would normally add. I don't do things to exact measurements. Look up a recipe at your favorite website or cook book and add according to your taste. Remember, this is Your Recipe, make it your own.
  2. THE BACON WRAP is a weave. The bacon weave is just what it is - a weave. Lay about ½ pound of bacon in strips next to each other. Next, lift every other strip up and fold backwards. Lay a strip of bacon at a right angle to the rows of strips. Fold the strips back into position. Then fold the opposite rows back and repeat until you have a square of weaved bacon. Sprinkle one side the Bacon Wrapwith BBQ Mike's Rub.
  3. While I am getting the rest of the meatloaf together I put the bacon weave on a parchment lined sheet pan. This goes in the oven, rub side up at 375°for about an half hour in order to help get it crispy while it is on top of the meatloaf.
  4. THE MEATLOAF is just a basic meatloaf. I used the meatball mixture of 1/3 ground pork, 1/3 ground beef, 1/3 ground veal. We added Red Bell Peppers, my favorite Poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, red onion, Spanish onion, eggs, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, BBQ Mike's Rub, and mix together gently.
  5. I don't like to use a bread pan for my meatloaf. Freeform is the preferred method fothe Mac Stuffingr forming the meatloaf. Take half the meatloaf mixture and lay it on the sheet pan used to precook the bacon.  Form an oval shape with a cavity in the middle. This cavity will hold the baked macaroni. Sprinkle the cavity generously with BBQ Rub.
  6. The macaroni and cheese should be at room temperature before adding into the cavity. Form the rest of the meatloaf mixture over the tSaucing the Meatloafop of the stuffing and seal the sides with more meatloaf.
  7. Sprinkle the formed loaf generously with BBQ Mike's Rub.
  8. Liberally coat the meatloaf with your favorite BBQ Sauce. In my opinion, a sweet, tomato-based sauce works best with this recipe. 
  9. Carefully place the precooked bacon weave over the formed meatloaf and press against the loaf all around. Make any final adjustments to the shape now.
  10. Sprinkle a little more rub on top of the bacon weave.
  11. Ready to CookPlace the completed Epic Meatloaf in a baking pan with edges. Bake at 375° for about 45 minutes. Check this after 45 minutes for doneness.

We sat down to eat. This was served with traditional string beans and a seasoned, mashed cauliflower.

Out of the OvenNeither one of us wanted to take the first bite. I was eating my string beans one by one. My daughter was nibbling at the cauliflower so I took a bite. To my surprise, this was amazing! Once my daughter saw me like it she tried it and loved it. We had seconds!

This should be made a family project. Remember, family is not just the immediate people with whom you live. Epic dinner is served!Nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, close and not so close friends, neighbors, we have so many people in our family. The main thing is to do it together. The youngsters will remember it forever. So will you.

breadstuffs

Was there much in the way of drippings? I wonder if you stuff it with a dry bread stuffing, will it sop up beefy-bacony-fatty goodness? Oh the opportunities! A porky meatloaf with a cornbread stuffing? Or rye bread? Turkey and sourdough?

Food was meant to be shared with friends, family and strangers

Ah what better comfort food than the combination of two traditional dishes - mac & cheese and meatloaf! I couldn't agree more about sharing the world of food and cooking with our children. I too have bonded often with my daughter while working in the kitchen together, and I hope she passes the same experiences onto her children as well. Thanks for a great post!

Epic Meals

There will be new epic meals coming. My daughter will be home from college at Thanksgiving. What to do with those leftovers? hmmm..... The good thing is there is a lot of time between now and then.