Crockpot mac & cheese stuffed meatloaf - deliciously gooey macaroni and cheese all nestled in a blanket of tender and tasty meatloaf. So much deliciousness!
Yes - you read that right! Macaroni and cheese stuffed inside meatloaf is a thing. An amazingly delicious thing! And much easier to make than you might think.
How To Stuff Mac & Cheese Inside Meatloaf
To stuff a crockpot meatloaf with macaroni and cheese, you first need to make the two different components: meatloaf and macaroni & cheese.
The meatloaf in this recipe includes the following ingredients:
- 90% lean (or leaner) ground beef
- chopped onion
- bread crumbs
- salt and pepper
To make the meatloaf mixture, place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together well. I suggest using your hands!
🥣Macaroni and Cheese
Although there are a lot of great mac and cheese recipes out there (many of them made in the slow cooker!) this recipe calls for frozen, packaged mac and cheese. The mac and cheese actually goes right into the meat frozen.
I use a casserole crockpot when I make this recipe and can fit 2 - 12 ounce frozen mac and cheese block in it. Based on the size and shape of your slow cooker, you may have to experiment/make adjustments too see how much you can fit and what shape is best for you.
The key is to make sure the mac and cheese is frozen.
This Mac & Cheese Walked Into A Meatloaf.....
Making a stuffed meatloaf is actually a lot more like layering than stuffing. To start, I suggest lining your crockpot for easy clean up. You can use either a slow cooker liner or parchment paper for this dish.
Once your meatloaf mixture is made (recipe below) you are going to use it to put a layer all along the bottom and about 2" or so up the sides of your slow cooker insert. the layer should be 1" or so thick.
Next, place frozen mac and cheese blocks inside your meatloaf lined slow cooker.
Finally, add another layer of meatloaf mixture on top. Again the layer should be about 1" thick and it should cover your whole surface area so that you can't see any of the macaroni and cheese.
Pinch together the ends of the top layer with the meatloaf that is coming up the sides to form a solid meatloaf barrier around your mac and cheese. Top with a drizzle of ketchup.
Well....there is surely no wrong way to serve this! it is basically an entree and side dish all rolled into one. I would suggest serving with vegetables - either hot or cold or both. Some steamed broccoli and a nice crisp side salad would turn this into a well rounded meal.
If you love this recipe, please let me know in the comment section below!
😉Hints and Hacks
- This easy recipe is great if your people will be eating at different times. After the cooking time, turn your slow cooker to low and everyone can have a warm and filling meal, no matter what time they are ready to eat.
- When working with raw meat, it is especially important to thoroughly wash your hands and all surfaces the meat touches. Since I like to mix meatloaf with my hands, I use gloves that have been fda approved for direct contact with food.
- I always recommend the use of a slow cooker liner. This is, of course, an optional step. I like to purchase my liners in bulk for a less expensive per-piece price.
- In the market for a new slow cooker? I love mine!
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Lazy Mac & Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf
- 4 qt or larger slow cooker (great for casserole crockpot!) I have not made this dish in a round slow cooker.
- mixing bowls
- measuring cups and spoons
- mixing spoons
- slow cooker liner or parchment paper
- 2.5 - 3 lbs ground beef 90% leaner or leaner
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1⅓ cups panko bread crumbs I use whole wheat, but any will do
- 1 cup+ ketchup
- ⅓ cup chopped onion
- 1 pinch each - salt and pepper
- 2 2oz packages frozen prepared macaroni & cheese
- place liner or parchment paper in slow cooker
- in a mixing bowl, mix ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, ketchup, onion, salt and pepper. This works best using your hands!2.5 - 3 lbs ground beef, 2 eggs, 1⅓ cups panko bread crumbs, 1 cup+ ketchup, ⅓ cup chopped onion, 1 pinch each - salt and pepper
- Place about ⅔ of beef mixture into slow cooker. Flatten mixture with hands along bottom and about 2" up the sides of slow cooker so that the slow cooker is basically lined with your ground beef mixture.
- remove frozen mac and cheese from containers and add into middle of the meat. The two frozen blocks should be right up against each other.2 2oz packages frozen prepared macaroni & cheese
- Add remaining beef mixture on top and use hands to make sure all mac and cheese is covered in a ground beef cocoon. Pinch together edged of top layer with the ground beef coming up the side of your slow cooker. Your mac and cheese should now covered cocoon-like in ground beef.
- drizzle top of meat mixture with ketchup
- cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours