Tonight I made miniature meatloves with cheese filling. They went over quite well.
1/4 cup half-and-half
about 3/4 tube butter crackers, crumbled
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Australian pink salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked ground black pepper
1 lb. ground beef
6 mini cheese wheels, peeled
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray a 6-hole muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large glass bowl, combine 1 egg and 1/4 cup half-and-half. Crumble in the crackers. Add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon Australian pink salt, and 1/4 teaspoon smoked ground black pepper. Add 1 lb. ground beef. Mix thoroughly with your hands. (If the mixture is too wet, add more cracker crumbs. If it's too dry, add a little more milk.) Everything should stick together and form a nice ball.
Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, rolling them into balls. Pick up one ball and flatten it between your palms. Take one cheese wheel and press it into the center of the meat patty. Gently squeeze and press the edges of the patty upwards so they close over the cheese wheel; seal carefully. Place the mini meatloaf into a muffin hole, sealed side down. Repeat with the remaining balls of meat mixture and cheese wheels.
Bake at 375ºF for 30 minutes. When done, the meatloaves should be browned on top, and juices should run clear. Makes 6 servings.
Various types of crackers will work with this recipe, Ritz or Club or whatever. The buttery flavor helps meld with the cheese. If you don't have butter crackers, however, saltines will do fine. Also, letting the cracker crumbs soak in the egg and milk for a minute or two while you add the rest of the flavorings will soften them so they blend with the meat better.
Australian pink salt has a subtle, complex flavor that blends nicely with many meats. If you don't have any, use sea salt or plain table salt.
Smoked ground black pepper adds a dark spicy flavor. If you don't have any, use freshly ground black pepper, perhaps with a tiny bit of liquid smoke.
Mini cheese wheels are about 1" to 1 1/2" wide. Gouda and Babybel are two types often sold this way. You peel off the outer wrapper and the wax, and you get a soft white or pale yellow cheese with a mellow flavor. If you can't find mini wheels, you can buy a small slab of cheese and cut it into 1" cubes. Because the cheese tends to expand when hot, it may escape the meat layer and ooze up the sides of the muffin holes. That's okay, it will all taste fine anyway.