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Let's Make Palpettoni!
Palpettoni is an old family recipe my mother made in the 1970s. I've updated it a bit and added my own twist. This delicious mini meatloaf is stuffed with an onion and rice mixture, then topped with tomato sauce and cheese and baked.
To start, preheat the oven to 375 F. Then gather your ingredients. You'll need 4 slices of bacon, 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice (or one package microwave brown rice), 1 pound ground beef, 1 egg yolk, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 8 ounces prepared creamy French onion or garlic snack dip, 8 ounce can tomato sauce, 1 cup shredded Havarti or mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Start by Cooking the Rice
Cook the 1/3 cup brown rice in 2/3 cup water on the stovetop until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. This takes about 35 to 40 minutes. Or you can use microwavable brown rice, which is what I did to save time. It's a fabulous product and takes 4 minutes of cooking. Use half of a package—you need 1 cup of cooked rice.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Cook the Bacon
Then you need to cook the bacon. There are several ways to cook bacon: you can fry it, bake it, or cook it in the microwave oven. I bought some microwaveable bacon for this recipe. You just microwave it until it's evenly brown. Cool on paper towels and crumble into small pieces; set aside.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Combine Meatloaf Ingredients
In medium bowl, combine the ground beef, egg yolk, crumbled crisp bacon, and pepper. Mix with a spoon or your hands, working gently, until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Do not overwork the mixture or the meatloaf will be tough.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Pat Ground Beef Mixture into Rectangles
Tear off a strip of waxed paper about 18 inches long. Place it on the work surface. Divide the ground beef mixture into four equal balls and place them about 10" apart on the waxed paper.
Gently pat the ground beef mixture into four rectangles, each about 4 inches x 6 inches. Make sure there are no holes or weak spots in the ground beef.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Top Ground Beef with Rice
Now divide the rice mixture on top of the ground beef rectangles. Leave about 1 inch of the ground beef edges exposed, because the rice mixture will spread when the little rectangles are rolled. Spread the rice mixture into an even layer on top of the beef.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Roll Up the Mini Meatloaves
Now comes the tricky part! Use the waxed paper to help you roll up the mini meatloaves. They will just roll over once, enclosing the rice filling. Start from the short end and coax the meatloaf mixture off the waxed paper. Start at the ends of the waxed paper and roll them toward each other so you can do two at once. That's why we used such a big sheet of waxed paper!
Be sure you don't roll the waxed paper into the meatloaf. Take your time with this step. It's easier than it looks!Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Arrange Filled Meatloaves in Pan
Now use a spatula to transfer the meatloaves, one at a time, into a 10 to 12-inch square glass baking dish. Make sure you don't rip the paper when you slip the spatula under the meat. Use a thin but wide spatula for best results.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Top Meatloaves with Tomato Sauce, Cheese, and Marjoram
Now pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaves, then sprinkle with the dried marjoram. Top with the shredded Havarti cheese and the Parmesan cheeses.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Bake the Palpettoni
Bake the Palpettoni at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes. The cheese will be melted and the meatloaf will register 160 F on a meat thermometer; make sure the thermometer isn't pushed into the rice filling, although by this time the beef should be thoroughly cooked as long as your oven is accurate. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Serve the Palpettoni with some garlic bread and green beans and dig in.