Stuffed Roasted Vegetable and Cheese Meatloaf with Balsamic Glaze Happiness

Full disclosure, when I was a kid I hated meatloaf.  Hated.  I may have even asked what was for dinner, learned that it was meatloaf, and subsequently called every friend I knew to get “invited” to dinner at their house.  My mom is an amazing cook.  I loved almost everything that she served.  Meatloaf was not one of them.  I hated the dryness and lack of flavor. I really hated the thick goopy ketchup on top.

You may be wondering why I decided to give meatloaf another go after a history like that.  Jonathan and I recently had dinner at a friends house where they served stuffed meatloaf.  It was delicious!  It gave me a whole new vision about what meatloaf could be.  I searched today for a recipe similar to what she created but came up empty.  So, I made up my own version.  We just finished eating and it didn’t even last long enough for me to take pictures.  Maybe next time 🙂

I stuffed my meatloaf with diced carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms and parmesan.  Other than that, the meatloaf is pretty “normal” with the addition of balsamic vinegar.  I think that you could use any veggies that you have on hand (squash, zucchini, etc.) and the result would be equally yummy.

The following is my version of stuffed meatloaf for 2.


  • 1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (divided)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lb of ground chuck
  • 1/4 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (divided)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (divided)


  • Preheat oven to 425*
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add carrots, onion, garlic, mushrooms, 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and cook until almost soft (5- 8 min).  Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk together herbs and egg in a large bowl. Add meat, panko crumbs, 1/2 of cheese, 1/2 of ketchup, 1/2 of balsamic vinegar and mix until just combined.
  • On a lined baking sheet, mold meat into a “boat” shape with the center hollow.  Mix remaining cheese and vegetable mix together.  Put this mixture in the center of the hollow boat.  Shape the meat up, over the vegetable mixture so that the mixture is enclosed and mold into a meat loaf “roll” shape.    Bake the meat loaf for 1 hour.
  • Whisk together remaining ketchup, crushed red pepper and balsamic vinegar.  Brush over meatloaf and bake 15 more minutes.  Slice and serve!


Jonathan is a big fan of gravy so I added some prepared beef gravy to the table for him.  This is so not the meatloaf of my childhood.  It is cheesy, flavorful and delicious.

This is meatloaf happiness.



Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna

Fall is a perfectly wonderful time of year.  At our house it includes a lot of pumpkin, leeks,  and sage- I seem to buy all of these at least once a week.

I had some left over pumpkin from some Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup that I made for breakfast (those things were AMAZING), so naturally, I had to create a dish to use all of that extra deliciousness.  No sense in being wasteful.

I decided to throw together some ingredients I had on hand and came up with this gem.

Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

.5 lbs ground Italian sausage

1 Tbsp fresh, chopped sage leaves

3 Barilla no boil lasagna noodles

3/4 cup shredded Italian cheese

1 cup pumpkin puree (also known as canned pumpkin, unless you want to get really fancy)

1/2 cup milk (we used 2%)

3 Tbsp chopped leek (white part only)

1/2 Tbsp butter

1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup sliced baby bella (crimini) mushrooms

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 cup ricotta cheese

1/8 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)


1.  Brown sausage in a sauce pan

2. Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Saute leeks, garlic, sage and mushrooms until leeks have just started to caramelize.

3.  Add drained sausage to leek/mushroom mixture.

4.  Heat pumpkin puree and milk over low heat.  Stir until combined.  Add pepper to taste.

5.  Spread 1/3 of pumpkin puree into bottom of a small bread loaf pan.

6. Top with 1 lasagna noodle.  Spread thin layer of ricotta over noodle.

7. Layer 1/3 of sausage mixture, 1/3 of the Italian cheese and pumpkin puree.

8. Continue layering (step 6 and 7) until you are out of the good stuff.

9.  Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan over the top layer of Italian cheese (don’t skip this step, it makes it EXTRA tasty).

10.  Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

You will get something that looks a lot like this:

Jonathan thinks it is very hilarious to call creations he has never seen before “goop;” as in, “mmm, that goop smells like fall.”  He calls it goop right up to the moment he puts a bite in his mouth. Then it gets a shmancy name worthy of its deliciousness.

Prepare to be happy in your mouth.

We recommend you light some candles, put on the soundtrack from Midnight in Paris, open a bottle of wine (we like LaCrema Chardonnay or Beringer Knights Valley Cab), tear off a chunk of crusty bread, and enjoy some time together dreaming up your next project.