Apple-Cheese Meatloaf: Pretty Sweet Meat (And a Gourmet Jerky Giveaway)

At a recent “A Tiger in the Kitchen” reading at Powell’s Books in Beaverton, Oregon, a young man asked a question I’ve been getting a fair bit: “What’s your favorite thing to cook?”

It’s a sound question, given my book is a memoir told through food and cooking. And my answer always surprises people: “Meatloaf.”

Although Tiger is about a year I spent traveling to Singapore, where I was born, to rediscover my native culture by learning how to cook, in my Brooklyn kitchen, it’s often good old American meatloaf that I turn to when I’m looking for something easy, satisfying — and likely to yield lots of leftovers. My obsession with meatloaf began when I moved to the United States at age 18. I had never encountered this brick of meat before — it was truly exotic to me.

Since I mention this fact in the book, some readers have been awfully generous in sharing their prized meatloaf recipes. And when my book tour recently took me to Seattle, where I had a lovely catch up with a dear, dear friend, he happened to mention a magical meatloaf recipe that he adores.

The moment I saw the name of Russ’s recipe — “Apple Cheese Loaf” — I knew I had to try it …

Now, it’s not hard to figure out where the goodness in this loaf is from. This bowl says it all: diced cheddar.

Before you get to the cheddar bit, though, you mix up the rest of the ingredients — apple butter, onions, breadcrumbs etc. — in a bowl, add ground beef and make sure everything’s thoroughly combined.

Then in goes the cheddar and once that’s nicely worked in, the loaf goes into the oven. It’s that easy.

So how did it taste? About as good as you would expect a combination of apple butter, cheese and ground beef to be — in a word, delicious. If you like chunky pockets of cheese then this recipe is perfect as is. But I might try it again with grated cheddar instead as I’d like to see how it tastes with the cheese incorporated into the meat mixture a little more.

Since Russ was so kind as to give me his recipe, I’ve decided to spread the love and share it with you below. I’m still on the hunt for more meatloaf recipes, however — so if you have a favorite, let’s hear it. In return, I’ll be doing my first giveaway on this blog.

Here’s the deal: If you share your meatloaf recipe with me in the comments below by end of day (New York time) July 16, I’ll enter your name to win four big packages of gourmet steak jerky from Umpqua Indian Foods, whose jerky I fell in love with after sampling it at the Fancy Food Show in Manhattan last summer. The flavors you’ll get include beer, black pepper & garlic and jalapeno steak jerky. Trust me — it’s good stuff.

So, do share below and I’ll announce the winner in mid-July.

Bon appetit!


Russ’s Apple Cheese Loaf Recipe

Serves 6

1.5 lbs ground beef
½ cup apple butter
1-1/4 tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup dried coarse breadcrumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg
4 oz. cheddar cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes (Or, use grated cheddar if you would like it incorporated more into the meat mixture.)

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine apple butter, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Add meat, bread crumbs, onions, and egg. Mix lightly but thoroughly with hands. Fold in cheese cubes. Mold into
a loaf. Bake in a shallow pan for one hour.


14 thoughts on “Apple-Cheese Meatloaf: Pretty Sweet Meat (And a Gourmet Jerky Giveaway)

  1. Since having kids, I now understand why my mom loved to make meatloaf. Though, it’s so good, I don’t know why I didn’t try it before then!

    • Perhaps it’s a dish that people tend to take for granted? Not me though…I love it! Would love to hear your kids’ favorite meatloaf. If you care to share! x

      • Oh, I forgot to finish the thought–I just use Mark Bittman’s basic recipe. Baked not in a loaf pan but on a sheet pan to let the fat run off. My mother-in-law’s uses a version with oatmeal that has a nice texture.

  2. Cheryl:
    LOVED the book…too bad it came out after I went to Singapore, oh, well, now I have an excuse to go back.

    My mother makes her meatloaf with oatmeal, too. I was skeptical, but it really does make a tender, not tight meatloaf. Her recipe is basically 2 lbs. ground beef, 2/3 cup Heinz ketchup, a couple of grinds of black pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, 1 envelope Lipton’s beefy onion soup (I used caramelized onion, don’t tell her), 2 eggs and about 1/2 cup of oatmeal (not instant). I use one of those meat loaf pans with drainage holes. bake at 350 for about an hour.

    • Thanks for this, Terri. Love the Lipton’s touch! (I use Lipton’s soup seasonings for roasting potatoes sometimes.) Can’t wait to try this…

  3. Hi Cheryl,

    I’m up to page 192 of your book! I’m enjoying reading your memoir. Thanks for sending me the book. I am no longer at Yaddo. I have a new job at the Roosevelt Baths. It has been an interesting change.

    This meatloaf is one of my favorite recipes to make. The same recipe also makes good meatballs which makes everyone (almost) in my family very happy that I like to cook.


    Jim’s Meat Loaf

    1 eggs
    1/3 cup milk
    ¾ cup dry bread crumbs, Italian-style
    1medium finely chopped onion
    ½ medium red pepper, chopped
    2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
    1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    1 ½ pounds ground beef or meatloaf mix(beef, veal ,pork)

    ¼ cup catsup
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 teaspoon dry mustard

    Oven 350

    Combine egg and milk; stir in bread crumbs;
    Lightly saute onions, garlic and red pepper.
    Combine sauteed vegetables with meat, Italian Seasoning and bread crumb mixture.
    Put into a 1.5 qt. bread loaf pan.
    Bake in a 350 oven for 1 ¼ hours. Drain excess fat.
    Combine catsup, sugar, and mustard; spread over meat.
    Return to oven for 10 minutes.

    • Jim! Congrats on the new job! So nice to hear from you and thanks for sharing your meatloaf recipe. I am definitely trying this soon….x

  4. Hi!

    I just purchased your book on my NOOK reader, and I visited your blog-site! I am going to try your apple-cheese-loaf this weekend. I am half-Japanese and I grew up in Hawaii. My mother would make hot-pot dishes, one of my favorite, and simple, recipies my mother made was “Oyaku donburi”. Here is the easy recipie: Brown a package of lean hamburger, once browned (I like to use Sesame Oil for the taste and aroma), then, in a bowl I stir together soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, and minced ginger. Once I have it thoroughly mixed (sugar dissolves into the liquid), I pour this over the browned hamburger. Then, I put a layer of green onions
    over it all. Next, I whisk up a few egg yolks and pour that directly on top of it all and put the lid on top of the saucepan. Continue cooking (not stirring any of the ingredients) until the egg mixture is cooked. You can dish this out on a bed of rice in a single bowl, and pour some of the juices on the top of it. Enjoy!

    • Oh MY…this sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing…and hope you’re enjoying the book!

      • Thank You for the ongoing excellent read! I have been checking in on your blog frequently, and I really love your reviews on the different eateries you have encountered. Much fortune to you!

Leave a Reply to Cheryl Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>