By contributing writer Tessa
These meatloaf cupcakes are bound to excite your children. The first time my kids saw these, they were giddy with excitement because something for dinner looked like a cupcake! Sometimes a little excitement is all the taste buds need to get them over that picky hump.
Meatloaf was never one of my favorite meals growing up, but when I married my husband, who adores this American favorite, I knew I had to figure something out to make it suit my taste and cooking style.
This meatloaf does a great job of making my expensive grass-fed hamburger go a lot further by including rice or quinoa. It also sneaks in some veggies for my veggie-averse kiddos, and the whole time it’s allergy friendly too!
- I often use other veggies based on what I have on hand. Try out any veggie you like. I mince the vegetables in my food processor so they disappear, and my kids don’t fight them.
- When making the mash for the “frosting,” I have used plain old yellow potatoes, sweet potatoes, and have even used cauliflower mash, or a mixture there of. Do what works for your lifestyle.
- In the glaze, I like to add some Sriacha (a spicy Thai chili sauce) to pump it up for my husband and I, about a tablespoon mixed in.
- This is a meatloaf recipe–the cupcake idea is not necessary! Bake this as a full loaf or (my favorite way) as mini loaves formed on a cookie sheet for a quicker cooking time and more crispy edges. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
- This meal freezes well! Once you have the meatloaf prepared, freeze in mini loaves, or in a container and thaw when ready to use.
- Meatloaf cupcakes are a great lunchbox main course!
- 1 pound ground beef (I prefer 85/15. It is less crispy with leaner meat.)
- 1½ cups cooked brown rice or quinoa (I like the ready to go organic variety in the Trader Joe’s freezer section.) Omit for Paleo and double the meat. Ground pork or sausage is good.
- 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs (use your own bread like I do, whirred in a food processor to make crumbs, no toasting necessary) almond flour works great for a grain-free option
- ½-1 cup peeled sweet potato
- ½ -1 cup zucchini
- 1 small onion
- ¼ cup parsley
- 1 egg (optional, I have made this without eggs with no issues!)
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 3 tablespoons + 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1-2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha and palm sugar (optional)
- 2 fist size potatoes (any mix of yellow, sweet, or even part cauliflower works) peeled, and cut into small chunks (about golf ball size)
- 2 tablespoons butter, butter substitute, or ghee
- 2-4 tablespoons any unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a muffin tin.
- Place a pot of water on to boil for the mashed potato frosting.
- In a food processor, make your bread crumbs with 2-3 slices gluten free bread if necessary. Process until fine crumbs are achieved and pour into a large bowl.
- In the same food processor bowl, add the sweet potatoes, zucchini, onion, and parsley and pulse until everything is finely minced (kids won’t detect the vegetables this way!).
- Mix the minced vegetables with the crumbs, along with all the remaining meatloaf ingredients, through the 3 tablespoons ketchup. Mix well with your hands.
- Fill each greased muffin tin. You will likely have extra meatloaf. Either freeze for a quick and easy dinner or bake the rest as mini loaves on a cookie sheet along with the muffins.
- Stir together glaze ingredients: 1/3 cup ketchup, mustard, and the optional Sriacha and palm sugar if using. (If you like lots of glaze, you can easily double this)
- Spread the glaze evenly over the tops of each muffin.
- Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the desired crunchy edges (or lack thereof) suit your fancy and the meat is cooked through (165 degrees in the center).
- While the meatloaf cooks, simmer the potatoes for about 10-15 minutes until fork tender.
- Drain the water and mash along with the butter, salt, milk, and garlic clove using a potato masher until smooth and creamy. Add sea salt to taste.
- Remove the meatloaf muffins and top with the mashed potato frosting. I use a frosting bag with a large star tip to pipe on the mashed potatoes.
Find more delicious meal ideas at the The Happy Housewife Recipe Index.