The Cheesy Spin Ree Drummond Puts On Her Meatloaf

Some dishes will always be classed as top-tier comfort food, and meatloaf is one of them. An easy meatloaf recipe makes for a rewarding dinner, and it's one of those meals that is so easy to put your own stamp on. After all, Elvis Presley's favorite meatloaf recipe contained wheat germ, but the King would surely have been a fan of Ree Drummond's modern take on the dish. The Pioneer Woman combines two heavyweight favorites with her ultra-comforting cheeseburger meatloaf.

Drummond's creation features everything we love about a good cheeseburger, from the oozy cheese itself to bits of cooked bacon along with ketchup and mustard. When combined with the other ingredients — ground beef, bread, and onions — it's easy to see how effortlessly the flavors meld to bring out the best of the two dishes.

There are different ways to incorporate cheese into meatloaf; you can stuff it into the center, or sprinkle it throughout the mix itself. Drummond combines a couple of techniques, with cubes of cheddar baked into the meatloaf mixture, which helps to keep it moist, as well as using more shredded cheese for a topping. The resulting dish not only has the taste of a cheeseburger but even resembles one visually with the cheese melting temptingly over the cooked meat and tomato sauce.

Ree Drummond embraces two classics with cheeseburger meatloaf

Ree Drummond uses sharp cheddar for her meatloaf, but you could switch to any other good-for-melting varieties you might find in a classic all-American cheeseburger recipe, such as Monterey Jack. Alternatively, if you want to dial up the flavor a notch, Parmesan adds an umami-rich savoriness that pairs beautifully with beef — or try blue cheese for an extra punch. And while Drummond combines diced bacon in the mix, another option would be to wrap the loaf in strips of bacon for even more meatiness.

The Pioneer Woman favors pantry staples of ketchup and mustard for the meatloaf sauce, along with a little finely diced red onion that gives it that unmistakable cheeseburger-like taste. You could level up the mustard flavor by opting for Dijon or spicy brown varieties. And if you're not a fan of ketchup, try using barbecue sauce as a smoky alternative for meatloaf; it will still retain some of the sweet yet savory elements that go well with the burger flavors.

Want to combine more favorite fast food flavors with meatloaf? Try an Italian twist by incorporating pizza sauce and fragrant oregano with the beef and topping it with more sauce, shredded mozzarella, and slices of pepperoni –perfect for when you can't decide if you're craving pizza or meatloaf more. Or add a Philly cheesesteak spin by adding green bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms to the mix, then stuffing and topping the meatloaf with tangy provolone cheese.

More ways to add a cheeseburger twist to everyday dishes

If you fancy adding a cheeseburger-inspired twist to dishes beyond meatloaf, there are plenty of tasty ways to infuse other everyday meals and snacks with similar flavors. For an easy and crowd-pleasing family dinner, try adding a cheeseburger element to your next ground beef and cheese-based pasta bake. Top it with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and jalapeños for the full effect. Meatballs are also a good contender; try serving them individually topped with melted cheese and pickle slices as a party appetizer, with a burger-style dipping sauce. Go for cheese-stuffed meatballs for an even richer option.

For another addictively tasty snack, cheeseburger spring rolls are a winner. Make a filling with sauteed ground beef, diced onions, and ketchup, then wrap it in phyllo sheets with a little shredded cheddar before baking or frying. A barbecue or ketchup-and-mustard style sauce similar to Drummond's cheeseburger meatloaf version would make a great accompanying dip.

And speaking of dips, why not try a dedicated cheeseburger version for a game-day snack? Fill a skillet with cream cheese topped with shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese and a cooked ground beef mixture spiked with pickles, onions, and diced tomato; then top everything with more cheese before baking for a meaty, oozingly cheesy treat to scoop up with chips. Drummond herself is a fan; what more encouragement do you need?