Hey guys! Nicole – back with a fun and super easy meal that can feed two people tonight, or feed a family of six! I’ll put the needed amounts for the ingredients, cause I meant to make this for two people but instead made enough to have leftovers for days. LOL
Meatloaf, With a Tasty Twist!
I bet I got you with the Quick and Super Easy in the title, right? That’s no kidding. You crush up some crackers, mix in your spices, add cheese, stir it all together, put it in the pan, and let the oven or instant pot do the rest. I used the HPC Instant Pot Loaf Pan (4.52 in. x 2.36 in) and had a lot left over to make a second loaf with. I used half a pound of beef and a full pound of Italian sausage, though. I’m going to write this recipe with what I did, and then include a smaller portion in the way I will do it next time so that I get fewer leftovers for me and my husband. 🙂
Let the Super Easy Begin
Start out with a zipper locking bag and your crackers. I used saltines but after the fact thought about using Ritz crackers instead, I think that would be an amazing added flavor. Put a full sleeve of crackers, about 35, into the zipper locking bag and crush them. You don’t have to make them into powder, but you do want them pretty small.
In one bowl I mixed the crackers, milk, and eggs. Let this sit for a bit. Stir it every few min until it seems to be thick. You can do this next part in the same bowl if you wait for the cracker mixture to thicken up… but I used a second bowl and put in half a pound of beef and a single pound of Italian sausage. I put in all my spices and stirred it all together. Lots of folding over and it’s a tad tricky to get the seasonings to evenly distribute. Once I felt the spices were mixed, I added the cheese. Mix everything together now and you’re ready to add to a pan.
My original intention was to use the loaf pan in the instant pot and be done. But I didn’t think about how much meat 1.5 pounds of meat is. So I went to plan B and it let me test things out for you guys. I was curious if these would turn out different, one in the instant pot and one in the oven.
First The Instant Pot
In the loaf pan, I sprayed it down with oil. Then put about two and a half cups of meat mix. Packed it a bit and covered it with aluminum foil. When you cook in the instant pot, you’re basically steaming the food, so the foil keeps the additional moisture from making your food come out really soggy. Set the Instant Pot to High heat for 40 min. When it was done I Quick Released the pressure.
How To Make it Super Easy In The Oven
Preheated the oven to 400 degrees. Sprayed a glass Pyrex dish with oil and add the rest of my meat mixture. I covered this dish, too. Set the timer to 60 min for the oven and then we waited.
Once they were both done, I sampled both. It was really hard to tell any difference, to be completely honest. But, if I am being completely honest, the instant pot one tasted smoother. Like, cheesier… I think that was due to less moisture getting out or the fact that it was basically steam-cooked in the pressure cooker. I honestly believe, though, if I had not asked my husband to tell me if he could tell the difference, he would not have been able to. So, if you want to save 20 min and do a small batch in your instant pot, I think it comes out just as good.
Top it with red sauce, extra pepper flakes if you like spicy, and enjoy. This is so easy and so tasty! I’ll definitely be adding this to the weekly rotation.
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Quick and Super Easy Instant Pot Italian Meatloaf
- Loaf Pan
- mixing bowl
- cooking spray
- Zipper Locking Bag
- Pressure Cooker or Oven
—- MEATLOAF FOR 2 PEOPLE IN THE LOAF PAN —-
- 1 15oz Marinara Sauce or Herb Flavored Tomato Sauce
- ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
MEATLOAF FOR 2 –
- 18 saltine crackers or ritz crackers
- ¼ cup+2tbsp whole milk (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 1 eggs
- ¼ lb lean ground beef
- ¼ lb Italian sausage
- ⅛ cup parmesan cheese Use a ¼ cup measure, fill it half full
- ⅛ cup finely diced onion Use a ¼ cup measure, fill it half full
- ⅛ cup mozzarella cheese Use a ¼ cup measure, fill it half full
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning (optional)
- 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional – will increase spicy heat)
—- MEATLOAF FOR A FAMILY OF 4+ (SERVES ABOUT 8, EASILY) —-
- 15 oz can of sauce or marinara
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 35 saltine crackers or ritz crackers
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese I used shaved, but grated works too.
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce I like to use twice this much
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning (optional – season how you like)
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. (about ½ tsp each)
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes use more if you like it hot/spicy
SAUCE – If not using a premade sauce/marinara
- In a small saucepan, add the tomato sauce. Season the sauce to taste. Add garlic powder, basil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes.. whatever makes you happy and makes your sauce taste just the way you like it. Maybe even add a little cheese…
MEATLOAF – Made the same, just more or less ingredients according to the above proportions
- If using the oven – preheat to 400 degrees.
- Take your saltines or ritz cracker and place them in the zipper locking bag.
- Using a rolling pin, or the flat back of a spatula or spoon – crush the crackers into very small pieces.
- In a mixing bowl, add crushed crackers, egg, and milk. Stir together. Let them sit for a few min, stir again. The mixture should start to get thick/sticky. Once this happens you can add it to the meat mix.
- Mix together the beef, Italian sausage, spices, and cheeses. Stir thoroughly until the seasonings and meat are evenly distributed.
- Mix the cracker mixture and the meat together. This can take a bit of muscle to get fully stirred.
- Spray the loaf pan and/or the oven-safe casserole dish with cooking spray. Transfer the mixture and smooth it out to even thickness across the pan.
- Cover the pan with foil.
Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker:
- Add 1 cup of water to the inner pot of your pressure cooker. Place the trivet into the bottom and then sit your loaf pan on the trivet. (If your trivet has handles, I use the handles to hold my pan and lower it all at once.)
- On High Pressure set the timer for 40 min.
- Use the Quick Release once the timer is finished.
- Let sit for 15 min before slicing and serving.
- Place covered oven-safe dish on center rack of the preheated oven.
- Set a timer for one hour.
- Remove from the oven and uncover after the timer goes off. Let it cool for at least 15 min before slicing and serving.