It feels kind of weird to follow up a post about a fancy French/Belgian dinner with a post about meatloaf, but, since this is my blog and I make the rules, I’ve decided that that’s what I want to write about today.
So let’s talk about meatloaf for a minute. When I was a kid, I really hated it. I thought the name sounded disgusting (I mean, seriously … A loaf of meat? Does that really sound appetizing at all?), and I always had to force down a few bites when my mom made it (which wasn’t often, but often enough).
It wasn’t that my mom’s meatloaf was bad, though … I just didn’t like it at the time. I can say that with certainty because I’ve had her meatloaf as an adult, and it tasted much better (and the recipe was exactly the same). Tastes can change with time (mine certainly have!), and I’m honestly glad I’ve grown to enjoy meatloaf because it’s such a comforting homestyle meal.
You might think, then, that over the years I would have perfected a meatloaf recipe. This is not even close to being true. I’d actually never even attempted to make it until recently. First of all, I always thought I’d need a loaf pan (not true). Secondly, I thought it was more difficult to make (I have no idea why because this is also very much not true). I’m not usually one to shy away from difficult recipes, but meatloaf seems like one of those things that can go very wrong very easily. I didn’t want to end up with a lump of dried out meat (or, conversely, a wad of completely undercooked meat), and I didn’t want to start hating it again.
But, since I’ve been consistently trying to step out of my comfort zone in the kitchen, I figured it was time to give meatloaf a shot. I mean, I couldn’t fuck it up that much … Right?
As you can see from the picture above, I didn’t fuck it up. It actually turned out to be some of the best meatloaf I’ve ever had! (If I do say so myself.) It was moist and flavorful, and making the mini meatloaves seemed to ensure even cooking. I’m so glad I didn’t shy away from trying this recipe! It’s seriously so easy, and worth the 45 minute wait while the meatloaves bake. Even if you’ve never enjoyed meatloaf, you should give this a try … You might change your mind!
Mini Cheese Meatloaves
Adapted ever so slightly from a recipe on Taste and Tell.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk, which is what we usually have on hand)
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced (You could use white onion as well, but I feel like red onions generally give more flavor)
- 1 cup cheese, shredded (I used the same cheddar Jack blend I used in the Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta)
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the egg and milk together in a large bowl.
- Stir in all remaining ingredients except the ketchup, brown sugar, and yellow mustard. Mix well using your hands.
- Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray.
- Shape the meat mixture into 4 small loaves (I should probably clarify that they’ll be a little more like patties than actual loaves), and place each meatloaf in the 8×8 inch pan.
- Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and yellow mustard in a small bowl. The sauce should be pretty thick when everything is completely mixed.
- Spoon the sauce over each meatloaf. (This does make quite a bit of sauce, so you can reduce the amount of ingredients you use if you prefer a less saucy meatloaf. I personally felt like the sauce really made the dish, though, so I added quite a bit to each loaf.)
- Bake the meatloaves for 45 minutes, or until the meat has completely cooked through and no pink remains.
I served these mini meatloaves with a side of Steamfresh vegetables (the potato/green bean mixture you see in the first picture) and a simple green salad.