Cheesy Rice Meatloaf

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh or dried herbs of your choice (such as rosemary, basil, chives, sage, and/or tarragon)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup tomato ketchup

1/4 cup skim or non-fat milk

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (Italian seasoned preferred)

1/3 cup shredded cheese of any flavor (I like mild cheddar)

4 strips bacon


Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 8×8 or 13×9 baking pan

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, uncooked rice, onion,garlic, salt, pepper, herbs, Worcestershire sauce, egg, ketchup, milk, and bread crumbs. Using your clean hands (removing any rings), mix together all the ingredients. Mix thoroughly but lightly, being careful not to pack the meat too much.  The mixture may appear very moist, but do not worry; the extra liquid is needed for the rice to absorb while cooking.

While mixture is in bowl, pat down and form a trough in the meat across the diameter of the bowl.  Place the shredded cheese in the trough.  Loosely fold the loaf over on itself and slide into baking pan.  Using your fingers seal the loaf and repat the loaf until smooth.  The cheese should be fully contained inside the meatloaf!  Place 4 strips of bacon across the top of the meatloaf.
Place in prepared dish. Bake approximately 60 minutes or until meatloaf reaches an internal temperature of 160F (do not overcook or it will be dry). Remove from oven and let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes before serving.


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