Happy weekend to you! I've really been in the mood for comfort food lately. Thank goodness we are beginning to thaw here in the Treasure Valley! We've even glimpsed the sun a few times lately.
Speaking of comfort food--- What comes to mind when you think of comfort food? For me, its something savory and warm. What could be more comforting than meatloaf? Sometimes, 'comfort food' means 'long time to cook'. Not with this recipe! I bake my meatloaf in a muffin pan. It takes less time to cook, yields individual servings that are easy to handle, and, well, they're just darn cute. Plus, they freeze well-- just thaw in the fridge overnight and pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Yum!
Speaking of muffins-- there is another blog out there called 'Do You Know The Muffin Pan'? Its a great blog-- the blogger (Amy) cooks everything in a muffin pan. EVERYTHING. Check it out. Its cool!
Here's the link: http://www.doyouknowthemuffinpan.com/. Enjoy!
Now on to the recipe. You'll notice this recipe is a bit sneaky. I put tons of veggies in my meatloaf recipe. TONS. They make the meatloaf moist and give it great flavor. Don't be afraid to mix it up- some people like onions with their meat loaf. My hubby wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole if onions were in the recipe. If you like onions, just replace half or all of the mushrooms with onions. No biggie!
Meatloaf Muffins (6 servings, 2 muffins each)
1 tsp olive oil
2 cups finely chopped mushrooms (about an 8 oz. container, chopped fine)
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced (See note on garlic)
1 cup ketchup, divided (HEINZ)
1-1/2 lbs ground beef (93% lean at least)
1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers (about 20-- seasoned bread crumbs will do in a pinch)
1 Tbsp mustard (the regular yellow kind)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrrins is the best)
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 lg eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, carrots, dried oregano, and minced garlic. Saute about 5 minutes to soften the veggies.. Cool. They should look like this:
3. Next, put the ground beef in the bottom of a HUGE bowl. Add 1/2 cup ketchup, the veggie mixture, and the rest of the ingredients except the cooking spray. Reserve the other 1/2 cup ketchup for later. The bowl should look like this:
Ooooh, pretty! Next, with clean hands or a clean wooden spoon, mix the ingredients in the bowl until they are completely mixed. Don't overdo it or the meat will be tough.
4. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray. I like to open the dishwasher, set the pan on the door, spray it, then close the door. No messy cooking spray all other kitchen. Ta da! Divide the beef mixture among the 12 cups, then put about a tsp of ketchup on top. Like this:
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, then let rest for 5 minutes. Find fork. Eat. Smile. Make yummy noises, etc.
Note about garlic: The minced stuff in jars is crap. Don't use it. Just don't. It's gross. Really-- just smell it and you'll know. But there is some good stuff you can use if you're not the mincing-garlic-by-hand type of person. It's called Garden Gourmet and you'll find it in the produce section of the grocery store. Just put it in the freezer and the tube will last almost forever. Seriously-- it tastes just like freshly minced garlic. Yay! The basil, cilantro, and other herbs by Garden Gourmet are also wonderful.
Note about beef: You want the beef used in this recipe to be super duper lean-- or all your muffin cups will be full of grease when you take it out of the oven. That's icky.