Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mighty Mini Meatloaf Muffins

              School is in full swing and here I am struggling to keep up with the kids' school lunches.  Sounds familiar?  Whether your children have food allergies like mine, are on a special diet or none at all, I'm sure you will agree that packed lunches are always a mom's dilemma.
               We are not being picky. We just want to prepare something that is easy, fast, healthy and most of all the kids will actually eat.  Right? Ah, the frustration of seeing the untouched food at the end of the day!  Okay, let's not get emotional here.
              Anyway, with those important factors in mind, I'm sharing with you today the recipe for our beloved Mighty Mini Meatloaf Muffins.  Sounds really catchy? Well my kids made it up around the time they were obsessed with the Power Rangers and it stuck. Admit it, you know the song.
              One day, while I was preparing to make some Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Child #2 asked if I have the time to also bake some muffins.  When I asked her what flavor she likes, Child #3 who wants to be silly, started saying "You want meat muffins?" Then both child starting asking me if there is such a thing as a Meat muffin.  Feeling adventurous, I told them "Let's make some."  The idea of meatloaf cooked in muffin tins was born.
              Since Meatloaf is an excellent dish to sneak in some veggies, I went all out and put a whole pound of carrots.  These not just provided extra vitamins and nutrients, it also gave the dish some sweetness which the kids love.  Most traditional recipes require stale bread for  texture.  Of course, I don't have any gluten free bread laying around the house.  What I do have on stock is rice cereal.   So I made a gamble and use it instead.  The end result is very pleasing. No more leftover cereals!
               Have you noticed that each meatloaf is portion sized? This makes it really portable and an ideal lunch box insider.  My kids like it at room temperature which is a big plus. I like to make it ahead of time because it freezes really well. 
               Are you excited?  Then give it a try.  Hopefully you and your children will love it too.  One day covered.
- Roz      


3 lbs. ground beef
1 lb. carrots, finely chopped
1 cup chopped onions
2 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup crushed rice cereal
1/4 cup non dairy milk (I used flax milk)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tsp. coconut aminos (You can substitute gluten free soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce)
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
olive oil for greasing the pans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease 2 (12 pcs) standard sized muffin pans. 
2. With the help of a food processor, finely chop the onions, carrots and rice cereal. 
3. Transfer the vegetable and cereal mix to a big bowl. 
4. Add the salt, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, non dairy milk, vinegar and aminos.  Mix well.
5. Using your hands, slowly mix in the ground beef.  Make sure it is well combined.
6. Fill each muffin cavity to the rim with the meatloaf mix.  Using the back of a spoon, pat the meat to remove any air spots.
7. Top with about a teaspoon of ketchup. 
8. Bake for 16 - 20 minutes.
9. Take the muffin tin out of the oven and let the meatloaf rest in its juices for 5 minutes. This makes sure that the meatloaf stays moist.
10. Serve with mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetables.

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