Loaded Meatloaf Casserole

Title: Loaded Potato Meatloaf Casserole Recipe

## Introduction

Craving a hearty and comforting meal to wrap up your day? Our Loaded Potato Meatloaf Casserole is the perfect blend of savory meatloaf and creamy, cheesy potatoes that will leave everyone at the table asking for seconds. This dish combines the classic flavors of a traditional meatloaf with the creamy richness of loaded mashed potatoes, all baked to perfection in one dish. Perfect for family dinners or gatherings, this casserole is sure to become a household favorite.

## Ingredients

– 2 lbs ground beef
– 1 cup breadcrumbs
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup milk
– 1 packet meatloaf seasoning mix
– 4 cups mashed potatoes
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 1/2 cup bacon bits
– 1/4 cup green onions, chopped

## Instructions

1. **Preheat Your Oven**: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C).

2. **Prepare the Meatloaf Base**: In a large bowl, combine 2 lbs of ground beef, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of milk, and 1 packet of meatloaf seasoning mix. Mix everything until well combined.

3. **Shape the Meatloaf**: Press the meat mixture evenly into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Ensure it is spread out uniformly to create a solid base for the casserole.

4. **Layer the Mashed Potatoes**: Spread 4 cups of mashed potatoes evenly over the meat layer. Use a spatula to smooth it out for a consistent layer.

5. **Add Toppings**: Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of bacon bits, and 1/4 cup of chopped green onions on top of the mashed potatoes.

6. **Bake**: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. The meat should be fully cooked, and the cheese on top should be melted and bubbly.

7. **Rest**: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps to set the layers and makes it easier to cut portions.

8. **Serve**: Enjoy your Loaded Potato Meatloaf Casserole!

## Notes

– **Meat Options**: Feel free to substitute the ground beef with ground turkey or chicken for a different twist.
– **Potato Consistency**: For a creamier texture, consider adding a bit of cream cheese or sour cream to your mashed potatoes.
– **Cheese Varieties**: Mix things up by using different types of cheese like mozzarella, pepper jack, or a blend.

## Suggestion

Pair this casserole with a simple green salad or steamed vegetables to balance the richness of the dish. A side of garlic bread also complements the flavors wonderfully. For added flavor, serve with a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

## Conclusion

This Loaded Potato Meatloaf Casserole is the epitome of comfort food. With its layers of savory meatloaf, creamy mashed potatoes, and a topping of melty cheese, bacon bits, and green onions, it’s a crowd-pleaser that combines hearty and comforting flavors in one easy dish. Make this recipe a staple in your dinner rotation and watch your family gather eagerly around the dinner table.

## FAQ

**Q: Can I make this casserole ahead of time?**
A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. Just add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it’s coming straight from the fridge.

**Q: Can I freeze leftovers?**
A: Yes, you can freeze leftovers for up to 2 months. Be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil or store it in an airtight container.

**Q: What can I use instead of meatloaf seasoning mix?**
A: If you don’t have a seasoning mix, you can use a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning.

**Q: Can I use instant mashed potatoes?**
A: Absolutely, instant mashed potatoes will work just fine and save you some prep time.

**Q: How do I know when the meatloaf is fully cooked?**
A: The internal temperature of the meatloaf should reach 160°F (70°C) when checked with a meat thermometer.

Enjoy making and savoring this delightful Loaded Potato Meatloaf Casserole!