I get bored very easily. I always need to mix things up a bit or begin to feel like a trail horse. As much as I love food, to cook when I have time and innovation, cooking on the weekday schedule often feels like being on a manic game show with a gun at my head. I have to squeeze it in between homework, sports and anything else I might need to do. I completely rely on ‘quick hit’ recipes that I can create and serve in less than an hour that are filling, healthy and simple.
I have a secret personal quest: to find recipes I can make in less than 30 minutes. I’m talking from scratch and with whole ingredients; no microwaving. I covet those recipes, tuck them away like a valued insurance policy for the nights I simply don’t have time for a lot of preparation.
Muffin Tin Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes is one of those fabulous recipes I rely on. They bake in less than 30 minutes and really takes little time to prepare. Another thing I love about them is the complete flexibility the recipe offers. You can really use any ground meat, or combination of ground meats you desire. If you are feeling like you want a lighter dish you could use ground chicken or ground turkey. Should you want something more exotic: ground buffalo or ground venison. I personally love to mix it up. My local independent grocer (Lucky’s) has a wonderful meat department where they create in- house handmade sausage. For this recipe I combined Grass Fed 85% lean ground beef and Amish Apple Currant Pork sausage. The sausage just adds a bit of depth to the flavor.
In addition to the meat flexibility you can change up the vegetables as well. I love the chance to squeeze more vegetables into a main dish discretely. If there are different vegetables you feel would work, you can add them and increase the cooking time or swap them for those I’ve used.
If you already have a favorite meatloaf recipe, try cooking it this way. A ‘most pinned’ recipe from Boulder Locavore is Taco Meatloaf which would be great for muffin tins. If adapting another recipe, fill muffin tin to top (not over) and cook for 20 minutes. If filling more, as in the preparation photos below, add 5 minutes to the cooking time (total 25 minutes).
TIP: You don’t need to purchase bread crumbs. Save the ends of your favorite bread, toast them and put them into a food processor or chopped and process until they form crumbs. You can also just toast bread to this. The crumbs can be stored in a sealed container in the freezer for use when you have the need.
These mini meatloaves are perfect individual size and they cook in less than 30 minutes! The recipe allows ample flexibility to change the ground meat and vegetables too. Paired with the classic comfort food, mashed potatoes, and it makes a filling and soul-satisfying meal.
- 1 ¼ pounds ground meat (beef, bison, turkey, chicken, sausage)
- 1 large Carrot, finely chopped
- 2 large stalks Celery, finely chopped
- ½ medium Yellow Onion (about ½ cup when chopped), finely chopped
- ½ cup Bread Crumbs (gluten free or regular)
- 1 large Egg
- 13 ½ ounce bottle Spicy Ketchup or Chile Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Garnish option: Chopped Italian parsley
- 2 ½ pound (about 6 medium) Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled, cut into horizontal slices ¾ inch thick and then each slice into 4 to 6 cubes
- 4 tablespoons unsalted Butter
- 2 tablespoons Milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine the meat, carrots, celery, onion, bread crumbs, egg and ¾ cup of the spicy ketchup or chile sauce so it is all incorporated.
- Add mixture to 12 muffin tins (fill but do not pack down). Spoon the remainder of the spicy ketchup or chile sauce (about ¾ cup) over the top of the little meatloaves. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit 10-15 minutes following baking to ensure they stay intact when removed (you can remove them earlier but they will not stay in one piece).
- In a large pot of boiling water add the potatoes and bring back to a low boil. Boil for 20 minutes (or until potatoes are cooked through).
- Remove from heat, drain and return potatoes to cooking pot. Add butter and bury under potatoes to allow it to melt.
- Add milk and using a potato masher, ricer or in a food processor, mash potatoes until smooth with no lumps. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place mashed potatoes on top of muffin tin meatloaf and serve hot! Garnish if desired with chopped Italian parsley.