Meatloaf is one of the great American family favorites. Meatloaf muffins are even easier to prepare and much quicker to cook than traditional meatloaf making this recipe a great weeknight comfort food option. Each mini meatloaf is a single small portion. Kids will love having their own muffin shaped loaf and calorie watching parents will love the assistance with portion control.
Meatloaf Muffins Highlights:
- Easy meatloaf recipe that cooks in only 20 minutes.
- Pantry friendly – uses ingredients you are likely to have on hand.
- Perfect portion control! Choose the amount that fits your hunger or nutritional needs.
When life is running as fast, as it does for most families, making dinner can feel like the unscalable peak at the end of each day.
For busy parents the dinnertime trifecta is: a) food my kids will actually eat b) a recipe I don’t have to kill myself to prepare and c) is mostly kinda-sorta healthy.
I hear you because I want the same things.
Last fall I signed up for a meal ingredient delivery service. My sister was using the same service and telling me how great it was to have fresh ingredients show up at your door so all you have to do is cook the recipe. She had been a member long enough that I was able to try the first delivery for free.
The first box arrived on a week I was going to be gone for several days. It was perfect timing. I handed the recipes to my husband, pointed out the ingredients, and told him he would do great. He did, in fact, do great. Sure, it took him about an hour to prepare the meals while the kids ran around tearing the house apart but the pictures of the finished dinner he texted me looked just like the advertised recipe.
I set the deliveries to bring us two meals a week. Each four serving dinner was enough for our evening meal with leftovers. Combined with a weekly produce delivery I was pretty happy with our new system of food procurement.
However, after a few weeks the gilding fell off the Lilly. Each recipe claimed to require 10-15 minutes of prep work and 25-35 minutes for cooking. In practice it took about 10 minutes to round up the ingredients, 5 minutes to get out all the bowls to put ingredients in, and at least 15 minutes of washing, peeling, chopping and arranging the ingredients in the bowls. Not to mention all the pauses to attend to the children who get more and more wound up the closer we are to dinnertime.
After finally staging the ingredients every recipe had to be cooked. Most of my go-to meals are tossed together and left to bake, simmer, or steam until finished. During which time I wash a few dishes, read the mail, or sit because it’s the end of the day and I’m tired. For the most part these recipes were the opposite. Most of the entrees used a large skillet. Things needed to go into and come out of the skillet with constant attention for the entire cooking time.
When the meals were finally ready to eat it was never less than an hour and usually an hour and a half from start to finish. The kids were overtired, the kitchen was a disaster, and I no longer thought it was great having the ingredients come right to my door. At the table the kids often picked apart the carefully prepared ingredients or refused the aromatic sauces.
Everything we tried was delicious but my husband and I no longer saw value in the service. We were eating mostly kinda-sorta healthy but we need the trifecta. To feed my family I want food that appeals to me and my kids with minimal hands on prep, that does most of the cooking in the oven.
And, as my sister, who cancelled for these same reasons says, “now a days I just pray the kids like the food so they sit and be still for approximately 10 minutes while [my husband] and I get to eat a few hot bites of something and maybe even dare to have a few minutes of conversation.”
Amen sister, amen.
Cooking in a muffin pan significantly reduces the cooking time compared to traditional meatloaf. It also creates pre-measured portions. Kids will love having their own muffin shaped loaf calorie watching parents will love the assistance with portion control. Adapted from Pioneer Woman: BBQ Meatballs
- 1 (8oz) can of no salt added tomato sauce
- 2 Tbsp Molasses
- 3 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire
- 3 Tbsp Diced Dehydrated Onion
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 pound 93% Lean Ground Beef, very cold
- 1 pound 93% Lean Ground Turkey, very cold
- 1 cup Old Fashion Oats
- 1¼ cup Low Fat Milk
- 3 Tbsp Diced Dehydrated Onion
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper, or more to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients and set the sauce aside.
- Combine all the ingredients for the meatloaf - work just enough to evenly combine everything. Divide the meatloaf mixture evenly between 18 muffin cups.
- Spoon 1 tbsp of sauce over each meatloaf.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the edges have a slight crust. Allow the meatloaves to rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes before serving warm with the side dishes of your choice.
You may use all ground beef or all turkey for this recipe. Using all beef makes a firmer meatloaf while an all turkey meatloaf will be softer.
Leftovers or double batches will freeze very well for several months.