Meatloaf muffins? Yeah, sounds like a really bad idea, but in fact, they are really good. And also? They're not muffins. They're mini-meatloaves cooked in a muffin tin; this lets them cook faster and be ready to eat in about 30 minutes.
The recipe here, from Cooking Light, is a classic "mom-style" meatloaf, although this muffin-tin technique would work for most types of "fancy" meatloaf as well. Kids think it's awesome; they love having their own personal little meatloaf on their plate (although a word about table manners and not picking food up in our hands like wild animals might be in order ... just my kids then? OK). You might think that the convenience of a meatloaf in a muffin tin deprives you of one of the best parts about meatloaf, namely, the day-after sandwich. You'd be wrong ... just slice these up and they work just fine.
It's filling and comforting, and because it uses so many moisture-contributing, bulk-adding vegetables, it stays fairly low in fat and calories.
Diner Meat Loaf Muffins (Cooking Light, March 2006)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup ketchup, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, extra lean (raw)
- 1 cup finely crushed fat-free saltine crackers (about 20)
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (if you don't have this, don't sweat it; I've never used it)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- Cooking spray
How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped carrot, dried oregano, and minced garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Cool. (I never saute the vegetables for this. Instead, I chop them up really small in my food processor so they cook through.)
3. Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup ketchup, and the remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl.
4. Spoon the meat mixture into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray (coat the bejeebers out of your muffin tin; when you think it's greased enough, grease it some more).
5. Top each with 2 teaspoons ketchup. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°F. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Image via mary_thompson/Flickr