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Sometimes straddling summer and fall can be a challenge. Meals begin to take on a decidedly heartier feel, but there's still enough warmth and garden bounty that eating and cooking outdoors is often desired. So give into all of it with an amazing meal that's part comfort food, part grilling sensation, and all delicious:

Sweet layers of onions get stuffed with an herb and garlic-infused meatloaf mixture. Then, if the weather allows, you can grill them to perfection. That's what I did. I simply set my onions on a round, thin pizza pan and grilled them for about 40 minutes until they were perfect. You can also bake them if it's feeling less like summer and more like fall. If you're wondering if these would be good for tailgating, the answer is a resounding yes. And if the weather's more summer than fall, try serving them alongside a fresh garden salad, pickled beans, and juicy watermelon:

That's an ode to summer on a plate with an eye looking toward the heartier fare that's to come. You can, of course, put together your favorite meatloaf mixture for this dish. The one suggested here gets extra flavor from fresh garden herbs, garlic, and chopped onion. It seems like a nice summer touch to a comfort food classic. And once you slice into one on your plate, you'll be finding excuses to load up more onions and listen to the ooohs and ahhhs around the table!

Meatloaf Stuffed Onions

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 T. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Carefully slice the top and bottom of the onion off and peel the papery skin off and discard. Using a sharp knife, gently slice a seam along one side of the onion and very carefully remove the first 3-4 layers of the onion intact and set aside. You will be using these layers for stuffing the meatloaf mixture into. Finely chop the remaining onion and place into a large mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients (ground beef through ground pepper) to the mixing bowl and, using your hands, squeeze and turn the mixture until a homogeneous, even meatloaf mixture has been made. Carefully divide the mixture into 3-4 equal portions (the same number of onion layers you reserved) and roll them into balls. Gently place each ball inside each of the reserved onion layers. You may need to reshape the balls once you've placed them within the onion layer. Set the onions in a heat proof dish.

Prepare the grill for medium-high grilling (between 350° and 400° F) or preheat the oven to 375° F. Grill or bake the onions for about 30-40 minutes or until the beef is fully cooked and the onions are tender. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes