Stuffed Meatloaf with Cheese and Crackers

Two amazing treats, one INCREDIBLE meal! Moist and flavorful meatloaf, stuffed with cheese and crackers, and then 100% glazed with sweet ketchup and tangy Dijon mustard! A breeze to prepare, a delight on the palate, and fun for the entire family. This is the most scintillating meatloaf ever.

Can a meatloaf be "scintillating" you ask? You bet. Especially when you spike it with herbs and spices AND crushed crackers! That delicious, beefy loaf would be enough, but when you sandwich sharp cheddar cheese and crisp crackers in the middle, the game is forever changed! That middle layer of cheesy/cracker fun is fantastic! Moist meatloaf, made extra cheesy, with a little crunchy middle. It's so dang awesome!
And the recipe came out of my quest for using pantry staples! That means you can use whatever crackers you have. Same with the cheese. And the dried herbs and spices? If you don't have all of them, simply leave them out. Flavor won't be compromised because there's so much love in there... it compensates.
As you can tell by the photos, I didn't use a loaf pan. I LOVE freeform meatloaves because the sweet/tangy glaze covers the entire exterior. I think it makes a much prettier presentation too. Oh, and there's no pan to clean.

Make ahead tip: You can assemble the meatloaf up to 24 hours in advance. Store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Stuffed Meatloaf with Cheese and Crackers

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers (10 crackers), plus 8 Ritz crackers for the middle layer (you can also use saltines or any cracker variety you have)
1 large egg
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup, divided
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ounces cheddar cheese, slices or shreds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, 1/2 cup of the crushed crackers, egg, 1/4 cup of the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well and divide the mixture in half. Transfer one half of the mixture to the prepared pan and shape into a 7-inch oval. Top the oval with 6 of the crackers and then break the remaining two crackers into smaller pieces to fill in the gaps. Top the crackers with the cheddar cheese. Gently press the second half of the beef mixture all over the top and sides of the meatloaf on the pan, covering the cheese and crackers completely. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup and Dijon mustard. Mix well and spread the mixture all over the top and sides of the meatloaf.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the meatloaf, not touching the bottom, reads 155 degrees. Let the meatloaf rest for 5 minutes before slicing crosswise (resting will get the loaf to the recommended 160 degrees).
Serves 4