Meatloaf Casserole: And Why Life Is Good RIGHT Now

family
My Family

Today I want to bring you a great recipe recycling leftovers into a delicious new dish, but I also want to share my heart with you a little bit and I know you’ll indulge me like you always do.

For many of us, times are more difficult now than we can remember them ever being. Even if your lifestyle hasn’t changed the impact of others having changed so much is still there. This is something that weighs heavily on my heart because I see so many people filled with worry but on the same token, I also see so many positive changes coming about as a result.

You see, sometimes bad things only exist to pave the way for good things and these days, I feel that is just what is happening. It’s all in your perspective for the most part.

So maybe we have less. So maybe we eat at home more, as a family around a dinner table filled with something cooked from scratch by someone who loves us. Maybe we have a few less preservatives and Red Dye #40 and have a little more biscuits and milk gravy. Maybe we sit and drink our coffee at the breakfast table instead of in a paper cup handed to us through a drive in window.

So maybe we buy kids a few less toys. When I was little I had the best rocket ships, doll cradles, and telephone system around – all made from empty oatmeal canisters. I’d spend hours crafting them, gluing paper on them to cover up the labels and then designing the new look with crayons. Mama would give me old wash rags to use as blankets and then she and I would take scraps and sew little pillows by hand for my dolls (or astronauts) to use.

Folks would pay good money for that kind of entertainment for their kids these days and yet it still sits in the same place it has for generations, on the pantry shelf just waiting to offer up a nutritious breakfast and comfy nap space for dolly.

Sometimes we need to realize that something bad can come along to help us take our eyes off of something worse, and realize that what we have at the core of things is something really, really good.

I’m not saying we don’t appreciate the good things in life or that we’ve lost our sense of values, just that perhaps now that the glaring, beeping things before us have toned down a bit , in the silence it’s not quite so hard to hear when a child whispers your name or to see the expectant smile aimed in your direction.

I’m not saying I don’t hope that everyone gets more money and those without don’t become those with again. Of course I wish the best of the best for everyone. But chances are, there’s something pretty darn good right there with you now. It might even be waiting to curl up in your lap or for you to simply look up and take notice.

All my life I dreamed of having a family. I have two gorgeous, happy, and healthy kids and a husband who loves us all. Just because the price of groceries has gone up doesn’t make my dream any less realized.

I don’t know if I’m willing to go out on a limb as an authority and state that there is good in everything bad, but I can tell you there has been good in everything I’ve seen so far.

Today’s recipe is a delicious use for leftover meatloaf. Most folks I know just recycle it into meatloaf sandwiches but I’m a casserole person myself and this is a casserole my husband and I really enjoy with leftover sloppy joe meat so I decided to give it a go with meatloaf and meatloaf sauce instead. It was every bit as good as we hoped it would be and then some.

Very much like a meatloaf lasagna, ingredients include pasta, a blend of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, crumbled meatloaf, and sauce. An interesting and delicious twist that is sure to please.

cassmeatloaf 050

You’ll need: small shell pasta, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and a can of meatloaf sauce. Y’all know I love this Hunts stuff, I could just about drink it from the can, but you can make your own if you like. You’ll need about two cups or so either way you go.

You’ll also need leftover meatloaf and it doesn’t matter how much or how little you have. I’d go for at least two cups of crumbled meatloaf.

cassmeatloaf 056

Cook and drain your pasta according to directions. Place in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.

cassmeatloaf 053

Combine your cheeses in a bowl and stir until they’re mixed up good.

cassmeatloaf 057

Spread half of your cheese mixture over your pasta.

cassmeatloaf 059

Top that with half the can of meatloaf sauce, spread it a little to make it go over the whole top.

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Top that with all of your crumbled meatloaf. Yumm!

(My meatloaf was straight from the fridge, in case anyone is wondering)

cassmeatloaf 063Top that with the rest of your cheese mixture.

cassmeatloaf 064Spread remaining sauce over it.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for thirty minutes or until bubbly.

Hand a good serving of this out and watch your husband’s eyes bug out of his head!

Meatloaf Casserole

Meatloaf Casserole

Ingredients

  • Leftover Meatloaf (2-4 cups, crumbled)
  • 1 Can Meatloaf Sauce (Hunt's comes in a can of about 16 ounce size - you can also use your own meatloaf sauce)
  • 2 Cups uncooked small shell pasta
  • 2 Cups Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 Cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Place in bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. In medium sized bowl, stir together cheeses until well combined. Top pasta with half of cheese mixture. Spread half the meatloaf sauce over the top. Top with crumbled meatloaf. Add remaining cheese and top with remaining sauce, spreading to cover the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for thirty minutes, or until bubbly.
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Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

~Jane Howard. Submit your quote here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go wrangle up some oatmeal canisters…

Gratefully,

Christy :)

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Comments

    • says

      Joey, you are too good to me! thank you!
      I love writing…even more than I love talking! lol To have folks actually read what is in my heart means the world to me.

      Thank you so much for that.

      Hope you are all set for a fabulous week!
      Gratefully,
      Christy :)

  1. Elaine says

    The recipe looks good and it follows my philosophy in life. Use it up, make do, take it in , let it out. cut it up, sew it up and on and on. I was raised in a different generation than most of your readers and we had five kids and a low income but we were happy and I never once felt deprived. Maybe a little jealous when I saw saddle shoe son my friends feet and I had brown oxfords becasue they were long wearing, but even then I knew my mom and dad were doing their best for us and loved us wholeheartedly.I have always felt a sense of accomplishment that I could manage on what I had because of life’s lessons learned early. I still don’t like to waste and if I can’t use something I try to pass it on to someone who can instead of today’s throw away society. I am not wanting to go back to “old times” but I have to admit when I watch Walton’d Mountain or Little house reruns I wish some of those values would once again prevail. I just learned this week that my grandkids were asking for laptops and ipods for Christmas and while it is not my business and I don’t interfere, it saddens to see that in kids who should be thinking babydolls and baseball bats. By the way leftover meatloaf is good in spahetti sauce or I make a hash with meatloaf ,potatoes, and onions all fried together.

  2. Elaine says

    The recipe looks good and it follows my philosophy in life. Use it up, make do, take it in , let it out. cut it up, sew it up and on and on. I was raised in a different generation than most of your readers and we had five kids and a low income but we were happy and I never once felt deprived. Maybe a little jealous when I saw saddle shoes on my friends feet and I had brown oxfords because they were long wearing, but even then I knew my mom and dad were doing their best for us and loved us wholeheartedly.I have always felt a sense of accomplishment that I could manage on what I had because of life’s lessons learned early. I still don’t like to waste and if I can’t use something I try to pass it on to someone who can instead of today’s throw away society. I am not wanting to go back to “old times” but I have to admit when I watch Walton’s Mountain or Little house reruns I wish some of those values would once again prevail. I just learned this week that my grandkids were asking for laptops and ipods for Christmas and while it is not my business and I don’t interfere, it saddens me to see that in kids who should be thinking babydolls and baseball bats. By the way leftover meatloaf is good in spaghetti sauce or I make a hash with leftover cubed meatloaf , diced potatoes, and onions all fried together.

  3. Mrs. Welch in TX says

    Dear Ms. Christy,

    These are wonderful thoughts. Hope you don’t mind that I forwarded them to a local group here in lovely Lago Vista TX, commenting that these good thoughts come “from a woman who looks way too young to be as wise as she is”. (Of course I ended the forward with an invitation to all to check out your website.)

    Gratitude is what makes life go from bearable to splendid in the space of one thought. Thank you!

    Your fan, friend, and sister-woman,

    Mrs. Welch

    • says

      Dear Mrs. Welch,

      I’m deeply honored that you would consider something I wrote to be worthy of forwarding, thank you so very much for giving me such a wonderful gift.

      When I hit send on todays post, I did it with a little bit of trepidation. I had something in my heart and needed to speak it but I try to be careful with y’all’s time and was hoping I didn’t get too high up on my soap box as I tend to do when I feel passionately about something.

      My ancestors taught me that things like gratitude and blessings are always something to feel passionate about.

      Your comment came into my phone while I was out with my daughter getting some ingredients to make cookies and as soon as I read it I just had to stop and hug her.

      I am likely the most talkative person I know, but I’m unable to tell you what a gift you gave me today.

      Grateful to have such wonderful people in my life,
      Christy

  4. shannon mammone says

    Left over meatloaf? Never in my house! LOL I have to make two at a time and it’s only DH and myself. I always send goodie packages to my Mom and In laws. I don’t know how to cook just for two! I LUV LUV LUV your site Christy! The apple cake is a big hit. Please keep doing what you’re doing. I so look forward to seeing your e-mails.

    Big hugs to you and yours

    Shannon Mammone
    Malvern Ohio

  5. Loretta says

    Of all days today was the very day I NEEDED to read something like this. Life has kind of thrown me and my family some curveballs lately but through it all we’ve said we really are blessed. Believe it or not, we’re having meatloaf for dinner tonight too! Thanks so much for the wonderful post — and the recipe too!!!

  6. Sandy says

    This sounds great..I just happen to have leftover meatloaft from Tuesday so I’ll try this tonight. I use the meatloaf sauce in my meatloaf so I guess I’ll just go ahead and use another can for my sauce and see how it turns out this time, we like things sometimes a little spicey.
    I may try one of Elaine’s ideas with meatloaf leftover next time. It’s great to have a few options, even for us old folks who thought we knew it all and we don’t.
    Thanks for all your recipes, I have not been disappointed one time.

  7. Nan says

    Thanks for the recipe. You know, I never knew that they sold meatloaf sauce in a can! LOL Guess you can tell I am a “make from scratch” type person. Although we do love meatloaf sandwiches and I always make an extra big meatloaf so we will have leftovers, I am thinking on a cool crisp night that this would be good.

  8. MaryC says

    Hey, Christy! Leftover meatloaf? I have to make meatloaf every now and then JUST SO hubby can have his meatloaf sandwiches, with mustard, of course. This recipe sounds delicious, though.
    Your comments on simple things are right on. It seems we sometimes need to retrain ourselves to look for what is really important in life. God really does work all things together for our good. I think sometimes He allows us to do without so that we slow down and remember that He is the one providing, and not ourselves. I have found that what God provides is always the best for me and am constantly amazed at the many ways He uses to show His love and care.
    Christy, I hope your back is all better and that your whole family is well and happy! God bless you all. Have a great day! Mary C

    • says

      Thats perfectly fine, who better to ask than your neighbors? :)

      I have several canning recipes on Southern Plate, including a complete canning tutorial.

      But the moment I read this comment a woman came to mind. Her name is Laura Williams and she is just a lovely person all around. She runs a blog and also a blog carnival dedicated to food preservation. You can read her blog to get all sorts of wonderful links to articles on different types of canning and other preservation methods. I’ve put a few Southern Plate things in it from time to time. Her blog address is:

      http://laurawilliamsmusings.blogspot.com/2008/10/carnival-of-home-preserving-for-week-of.html

      I would think her blog would be the perfect starting point for you to find tons of blogger resources. Hope this helps!

      Gratefully,
      Christy
      P.S. Tell Laura I said hi!

  9. Terri go Dawgs says

    Ya know, you look up Southern Plate thinking you are just gonna find recipes, but Christy always brings us a wonderful perspective on life, traditions and focus on our family. I “get” Christy, with her love of her family and the treasures that they are in a fast-paced world because we have the same values.
    Christy, I hope life brings you all the real joys and happiness your heart can hold. Thanks for the reminders to appreciate what we have and to feel blessed in so much of our lives. Love ya! Your biggest cheerleader. (Thanks for another great recipe/post)

  10. Lana says

    One hundred percent in agreement with everthing you said! We raised our kids that way even though it wasn’t ‘in style’. Our baby is in college now and I wouldn’t trade a single day of being home and eating together every night in our own kitchen.

  11. Jan says

    Thank you for that! Just what I’ve been thinking … but you say it so well! I am thankful that we are slowing down and really choosing the things that are important. Thanks for all you do – you are a blessing!

  12. Barb says

    Christy your thoughts are wonderful and the recipe looks delicious….but What is meatloaf sauce? I have never seen or heard of it.
    I wonder if it’a a regional thing? Do you find it with the canned tomatoes? What would you use in place of it? TIA for your help.

  13. Melanie says

    Everything about this one is nostalgic. My mom could turn anything into a delicious casserole. It reminds me of my childhood. And toys back in the day, I say AMEN to ya! My Barbies were the best dressed around because my mom handmade all their clothes. She usually made me outfits to match, too. (Why didn’t she think of American Girl??) Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane! ***

  14. Janie says

    I wish the whole world could read what you wrote today. I’m retired now, but was high up in corporate world. People would look at me so strangely when I would tell them the best job I ever had, or the experience that gave me the most joy, was always my children and being a mom. It was and is my life’s dream. I stayed at home with my guys. I babysat to support us, and it still is my grown children that bring me joy. My kids dragged their friends over, and still do, for some of Mom’s cooking. Which is now includes many of Christy’s recipes..even Lane’s. What better gift is their than making something with love for those you love, who then love it and their love and joy fills you up? I feel blessed that I found your web page. You shine, girl!!! p.s. What the heck is meatloaf sauce…I live in Canada?

  15. Diane says

    This recipe looks great, as all of your recipes do! :)

    As someone who lives alone now, though, and cooks for herself, I’d like to make a little request — can you post how many people each recipe serves? I often take favorite recipes and cut the ingredients in half so I can make them for myself (with leftovers, usually, if the recipe serves 3 or 4 after halving the amounts)…knowing how many servings a recipe will make helps to make that easier.

    Thanks so much!

    Diane in PA

  16. Tina says

    Yes…life IS good and some of the sweetest things are the simplest! Thanks for another great post! Your recipe sounds great. I have leftover meatloaf from last night but it will have to be sandwiches tonight since I don’t have some of the ingredients needed for the meatloaf casserole!! I will be better prepared next time!!!
    Loved Lane’s tutorial!

    Bountiful Blessings!

  17. Emily says

    As always you have a way with words! :) Oh, yes, and your recipes are good too! ;) Thanks for the reminder to be grateful and to remember that the little things in life can be the most profound- it doesn’t take much of money to have a great time. You look like you are having the time of your life. Enjoy! :)

  18. says

    I love this post! There really are so many things that you can celebrate instead of bemoaning if you set your mind to it. I love having home-cooked meals around the table instead of burgers at a crowded fast food joint. I love watching my kids play with the simple toys that they have, and they love playing with oatmeal canisters (usually as drums or to tote smaller toys around in). Life really can and should be good without spending a lot of money. :-)

  19. says

    Amen Christy!!
    The only thing I would add is to have our lost loved ones back in our lives again.
    The recipe looks awesome- I’ll try it out next week when I’m off work!!
    I can’t tell you all the times I have made your recipes and had leftovers that I froze and took to work later in the week. I’ve quickly learned to bring TWO servings tho- usually someone at work forgot their dinner and I have some to share.

    Happy Autumn!!!!

  20. Carol Wolfgang says

    Very good post, thank you so much for this website, I am so thankful to have found it, you are wise beyond your years and I know your mama is proud of you. I too think I will forward this on to my friends and suggest they check out this great site, I shouldn’t keep something so good all to myself. Have a blessed day!
    Carol

  21. Jodi says

    I was just telling my girls yesterday, when we finished up the oatmeal making no bakes, how my Grandma used to make us little doll cradles out of those used up containers with a handmade dolly and blanket and pillow. It didn’t get much better than that. Amazing memories, thanks Christy

  22. Shane C says

    When I read your comment about the empty oatmeal containers, It reminded me of when me and my sisters were younger and would play “Store”. We would save different containers and set them up In our pretend shop. I was the big store owner and my sisters were the customers. lol We incorporated this Into playing “House” when our cousins or friends came over and played/stayed all night with us.

    By the way, I know I can’t be the only guy who played “House” when he was younger! lol

    I love this leftover recipe Christy! I always wonder what to do with my leftover meatloaf at times and this would be a great way to get rid of those leftovers! (Meatload sandwiches get old after awhile! hehe) I bet It taste just as good as It looks! :-)

  23. Joyce says

    Christy,
    Forgive me if it is inappropriate to call you by your first name but, ever since my mother-in-law introduced me to your site about 6 months ago, I feel as though you are a member of my family. I look forward everyday to your e-mails. I can’t wait to try the recipes you send. Reading the things you write is one the highlights of my day. They make me smile, laugh, and on occasion even cry because they remind me of days past with my own mother, who past away about 8 years ago. Your post today is one of those days.
    I made homemade apple butter in a crockpot the other day and my family LOVED it, but not as much as I enjoyed making it for them. You help me to remember that it’s the little things you do that make a difference. I just wanted to say, THANK YOU. Thank you, for being you and for what you do…YOU are a true blessing and I hope that someday when you go to a Nashville Quilt show that I will be there with my mother-in-law too so that we might both have the privlege of meeting such a gem as you.

  24. says

    Christy~
    I love this post.You said exactly what’s been in my heart for a long time.thank you!
    We never have left over meatloaf around here(lol!) but next time I’m going to put some back to try this recipe!
    Amy`

  25. says

    Christy,
    Once again you have won my heart. The Bible says that what Satan meant for harm, God made good when you are His child. NOW I’m preaching! Working with Angel Food Ministries, I have seen so much of what you are saying. Everything we go through has a reason, to help us or to help us help someone else. Thanks for all you do to help families economize and come closer together. Wanna come and make muscadine jelly this weekend?

  26. Sheila M. says

    Ooh! Casseroles always say comfort food.

    Usually, I do the same with my leftovers, or sometimes toss them in a batter with some corn and make some corn fritters.

    Thanks for sharing this, as well as your thoughts on the good we can find in these tight times.

  27. Debbie in Texas says

    Christy,

    I love what you wrote. I read every comment on here, they’re so touching. I feel so blessed to be part of a group of people from all over this country and beyond who seem to have much in common although I will probably never meet any of them. I just feel like I’m part of something so wonderful when I read the comments. The recipes are always great.

    May God bless each and every one of you.

  28. Sandy says

    I never knew how to make meatloaf, one of hubby’s all time favorite meals, so when I found Hunt’s meatloaf sauce on the grocery shelf all those many years ago I decided to give it a try. To this day he claims I make the world’s greatest meatloaf. (He’ll never know just how simple it really is!) My husband is going to love us both so much when I tell him where this recipe came from. You are the greatest! :-)

  29. Theresa L. says

    Christy, I cannot thank you enough, as your post came through during the afternoon of one of the worst days I had experienced in quite a while. As I read, it was as if you were speaking directly to me, and I cannot begin to tell you how blessed I was to receive your message on that day. And the recipe–as they always do–sounds so scrumptious…will be trying it very soon! Many thanks & hugs to you!

  30. Heather says

    Christy- I love you and all of your stories. You definately have a way with words! And this recipe looks wonderful, just like all of the others you have shared with us. I agree with everything that you said, it really touched my heart.

  31. Trixie says

    Sorry I am posting so late Christy, but I had surgery, and am having a time getting around.
    I think this recipe sounds delicious. But I have one problem, I never have any left over meat loaf. If I make it there is nothing like a cold meat loaf sandwish with mustard the next day. Was wondering if I could just cook down a bit of ground beef and still make this. I think meat loaf is the only thing that we never have left overs with.
    Oh, wanted also to tell you that I am making bows for my Granddaughters. Yipee, Grandma is so smart. lol

  32. Donna in SC says

    OH my! I am going to have to make a meatloaf just so I can try this recipe..it sounds delicious! Once again you have managed to produce another winner! Thanks for all you do here to keep us happy and well fed!

  33. Diane says

    Not sure if you’ll see this, Christy, but I wanted to thank you for answering my question about number of servings for your recipes! It’s such a huge help — now I know I can either cut the amounts in half, or make the recipe as is and get leftovers to eat later or freeze.

    Thanks again!! :)

    Diane in PA

  34. says

    Hi Christy,

    You know I love you from afar and admire you as a food writer, but what is this “leftover meatloaf” you speak of?

    My “babies,” all still living at home, are 21, 19, 16 and 16 and three of them are male — PLUS, my 19-year-old daughter’s boyfriend is often here for dinner, so this phantom “leftover meatloaf” ingredient is indeed something I’ve never experienced.

    ^.^

    Guess I’ll have to start making TWO meatloaves at a time (I know, there’s a Southern Plate post for that)!

    Hugs,

    – Erika

  35. Geo says

    I tried this recipe and it was deicious. I used meatloaf just for this dish because leftover meatloaf doesn’t exist. I also want to try it with sloopy joe meat, which never has leftovers either & then maybe with just cooked ground meat and onions. The only change I may try is to increase the amount of meatloaf sauce and possibly the cheese mixture. I did add a few spices too.

    Regarding the content of the dialouge, I too feel that the direction of our country and the lives we may lead is not always positive and way too complicated. Although, I still believe that there is good in most of us. I also believe that the majority of our citizens don’t live the life that is portrayed through the media as commonplace. I can’t stand the Toyota commercial that portrays parents as lame because they don’t drive a Highlander. The media portrays kids as having no respect for others, especially adults. I don’t think that is the way the majority raises their kids but it is what is portrayed to our kids and families. I feel blessed to have a great relationship with my three adult daughters. My youngest, a civil engineering student wants to come home one weekend so we can shop for the business attire she needs for her honors faternity functions. I assumed she would want me to just send her some money but she wants to come home and us shop together. How great is that? Gotta love it!! I will fix this casserole for her too, I know she’ll love it. Thanks for this awesome recipe and story.

  36. says

    Just now I stumbled upon the web for exactly this sort of details. Be grateful for to your write-up that search needs to stop at this time. You published the posting in a simple to comprehend way. With this, I included your web sites as one of my favorites! Best wishes!

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