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Creative Loafing…

May 4, 2011

Meat loaf "cupcakes" a delicious and easy weeknight dinner idea

My new adventure has begun at Oldways and with that some changes to my daily routine have brought to light the challenges that all of us working folks have to navigate on a daily basis.  Planning is key to much of life’s success and that includes maintaining a healthy diet.  As I prepared for my first week at Oldways I spent my Saturday strategizing as many lunches and dinners as I could think of so that I would be prepared for my new daily routine.

Being a communicator doesn’t always mean I am a good delegator, so when it comes to the evening dinner prep I am more of a hands on, get it done kind of gal.  This means with schedules as they are I have to come up with quick and healthy meals.  I read a lot of blogs and one of my favorite new meal ideas is something I’ve started making on a regular basis: Cupcake size meatloaf—the perfect solution for a weeknight dinner. You still have the comfort of meatloaf with a shortened cook time (375 for approx. 25 minutes) and they are the perfect portion!

I also decided I was going to see how many variations I could make on this, of course, keeping with a healthy base.  I always start with either ground turkey or chicken.  And I use my wonderful nonstick silicon cupcake tray that makes for easy cleanup!

I also aim to include as many vegetables as possible and I substitute quinoa for breadcrumbs to incorporate whole grains.

 The Meatloaf Base: 
1 lb of ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ cup cooked quinoa

The rest can be left up to your imagination. Below are a few variations I have concocted that you can add to the above base to create lots of variety.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine all ingredients (base + extras) in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Pat the mixture gently into a lightly greased 12-cup cupcake pan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. The recipe yields between 8 -10 cupcakes, depending on the amount of vegetables in each recipe.

 

The Greek
Meatloaf base, above
½ cup feta cheese
2 -3 crushed garlic cloves
1 medium shallot or small onion
1 cup chopped spinach
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary, or ½ teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano, or ¼ teaspoon dried


The Mexican
Meatloaf base, above
1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder
½ teaspoon cumin
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped red pepper
½ cup corn (canned is fine)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup of your favorite salsa

mashed cauliflower on the side!


The Traditional
Meatloaf base, above
2 to 3 crushed garlic cloves
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup grated Parmesan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped green pepper
¼ cup chopped parsley


Mashed Cauliflower on The Side:
We love to eat our mini meatloaves with this simple and healthy side dish.

1 head of cauliflower, washed and cut into medium and small pieces
½ cup of chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and cover.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for approx. 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft.  Use a potato ricer to mash.

And finally, enjoy your dinner with a nice glass of wine!

Vino!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Mar Fil permalink
    May 4, 2011 6:08 pm

    I never thought of putting meatloaves in cupcake tins! I will try that method this week.
    We were advised, as a diet aid, to mash cauliflower in lieu of potatoes, to save calories, but I wasn’t sure how to prepare it. Now you showed me how! Thank you!

  2. Robert Minicucci permalink
    May 9, 2011 5:01 pm

    The Greek Meatloaf sounds amazing…That would go nice with a nice Sangiovese, no? Any wine suggestions?

  3. Kerry permalink
    August 15, 2011 7:07 pm

    Loves the meatloaves in cupcake tins. Super easy and cute. I personally enjoyed the cauliflower but the kids weren’t crazy about it. i think they were too tired to really enjoy it. Thanks for the suggestions!!

    • August 16, 2011 8:51 am

      So glad you and the kids enjoyed the meatloaf cupcakes! They are a great leftover lunch as well!

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