Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spinach and Gorgonzola Stuffed Meatloaf

So, what am I doing tonight?  I need only say 3 words:  March Madness, Baby!  I may not have mentioned this before, but I am super competitive and I love sports, both playing and watching.  My favorite, however, is basketball.  This is truly my favorite time of year, as far as sports are concerned.  I can't get enough of those do or die games where teams are just trying to make it into the bracket.  Then, once those 64 are set, whoa, mama, I'm in heaven!  I will gladly stay up late, on the edge of my seat, to watch those nail-biter games.  I just can't get enough!

Here's an example of the type of sickness that I am talking about.  My daughter was born on St. Patrick's Day, right in the middle of the scramble to get into the tournament.  While I was in labor, we had the basketball games on the tv.  My husband left to go get some ice for me, and a nurse came to check in.  When she saw the game on the tv she said, "Oh, honey, you're the one in labor, you don't have to watch this if you don't want to.  What would you like me to turn the channel to?"  I looked at her like she had grown another head and replied, "Don't change the channel!  I'm watching that game!  IT'S MARCH MADNESS!!"  I think I may have frightened her a little by my vehement answer, and I think she might have realized that I would tear her limb from limb if she changed the channel, because she quickly set the remote back down. 

I've told this story to my daughter several times, while explaining that it's only natural that she love basketball, given the time of year she was born and what we were watching on tv.  But, what does this have to do with cooking?  Absolutely nothing, except it's another passion of mine, and I happen to be watching a good game right now as I am typing.

Since this is a cooking blog, I won't bore you anymore with basketball.  We'll move right on to the recipe.  Here's your Cast of Characters.

1 Lb., each, lean ground beef and ground pork
1 Egg
1 Cup fat-free half and half
3/4 Cup bread crumbs
2 Tsps. Lawry's seasoning salt
1/2 Tsp., each, black pepper, Italian seasoning, and Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb blend
1 Tsp., each, McCormick Perfect Pinch Tuscan seasoning and Garlic & Herb seasoning
2 Tsp. minced garlic
1 Cup fresh baby spinach
1 5 Oz. tub Gorgonzola crumbles

1 14.5 Oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes and garlic
1 6 Oz. can tomato paste
2 Tsps. sugar
1 Tsp., each, Lawry's seasoning salt, Tuscan seasoning and Garlic & Herb seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large cake pan with heavy-duty foil.

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg and half and half very well.

Add bread crumbs and all seasonings, mixing into a paste.

Next, add beef and pork, mixing thoroughly.

Place half of the meat mixture in the prepared fan, shaping into a large rectangle.  Sprinkle half of the Gorgonzola crumbles down the middle, being careful to leave about an inch along the edge clear.

Make a single layer of spinach leaves over the cheese.  Sprinkle remaining Gorgonzola over the top.

Use remaining half of meat mixture to carefully cover the cheese crumbles and spinach.  Pinch edges together and smooth them out.

In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients and stir well to combine.

Spoon onto meatloaf, spreading evenly.

Bake, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until meatloaf is completely cooked through.  If necessary in the final minutes of cooking, you can cover very loosely with foil to prevent the sauce from burning.

Let the meatloaf rest in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes before removing it to platter to cut and serve.