We love meatloaf in our house. Years ago we could pop a giant meatloaf in the oven and wait hours while it cooked, but these days time is too precious. Instead of abandoning this comfort food, a while ago I started making meatloaf in muffin tins. I make 12 mini-loaves which cook in a fraction of the time. It makes portioning and freezing so much easier as well as the added benefit of more “top” per serving. You know, that delicous top crust where the ketchup glaze carmelizes on the meatloaf. I put the glaze on each meatloaf muffin so everyone gets a good bit of that sticky yumminess.
This recipe was inspired by a meatloaf I saw Alton Brown make on one of his shows. He used finely chopped vegetables to add lots of flavor and keep the meatloaf moist. A food processor is key for quickly chopping the vegetables down to the size where they won’t ruin the stabililty of your meatloaf. Alton also mixed things up by adding cumin in the meatloaf and in the glaze, which we loved. Give it a try at least once. If you do find that you aren’t a cumin fan, try replacing the cumin in the glaze with some worcestershire sauce.
1 large carrot broken into three or four pieces
1/2 medium onion cut into three or four large chunks
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper cut into three or four pieces
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1.5 lb ground beef – I use 90% lean
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, add the carrot, onion. bell pepper and garlic.
Place the lid on the food processor and chop all the ingredients using 6 1-second pulses. The goal here is to finely chop but not to make soup. Open the lid to check it a few times to see if you need a few more pulses. You want tiny pieces but not a puree.
Dump the chopped veggies into a large bowl and add the egg, breadcrumbs, chili powder, cumin, thyme, salt and tomato paste. Mix gently.
Add the ground beef and mix lightly with your fingers or a fork until combined.
In an ungreased 12 count muffin tin, portion out the meat evenly. I use a medium sized disher to put the same size scoop in each muffin tin and then any leftovers in the mixing bowl I try to dole out evenly by hand.
For the glaze combine the ketchup and cumin in a small dish and stir. Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze one each meatloaf.
Cook for 34-38 minutes or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees. We usually serve two mini-meatloaves to an adult and one per child. They are great atop a bed of potatoes mashed with some chicken or vegetable stock and butter replacer like Earth Balance Soy Free Spread.
You can refridgerate leftovers for 3 or 4 days or better yet freeze what you don’t eat. Freeze mini-meatloaves within two hours of cooking them. I usually arrange them on a plate so they are not touching each other, freeze 2 hours and then throw them in a zip top bag. They will keep for up to four months. Anytime you need a quick meal you can pull out however many you need and microwave a few minutes until hot.