Easy Freezer Meals: Three Meat Mini Meatloaves

As much as I love the slow pace of summer, it’s also a time to get things done! With such crazy schedules in my house, it’s nice to go into the fall with some already-made meals that are easy to heat up.

I’ve been toying with the idea of mini meatloaves, made in a cupcake pan, to freeze for awhile but wondered if they’d be too dry or plain with a traditional all-beef mixture. I happened to be talking with a friend (my friends give me a lot of inspiration!) and she mentioned her family’s favorite meatloaf recipe includes ground beef, pork, and turkey, and barbecue sauce instead of ketchup. That combination of meats, along with the mini size, definitely helps keep the meat from drying out. I still used ketchup, but barbecue sauce could definitely be a good alternative.

Seasoning for the meatloaf includes ground mustard, oregano (dried here, but fresh would be great), Italian breadcrumbs, ketchup, and salt and pepper.

It’s also fun for my son because he loves kid-sized food! For reference, one cupcake-sized mini loaf is more than enough for my three-year-old, whereas my husband eats two or three.

[For my fellow vegetarians: I am currently working on non-meat “meatloaf” recipe for myself, so stay tuned!]

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup (about 3 large) carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup ketchup or barbecue sauce (I prefer the no added sugar/salt kind, but whatever you have will work)
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for sautéing/greasing the pan

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Dice the carrots, garlic, and onion into small pieces, and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and if using a metal pan, grease it well. I used a stoneware pan so greasing was not necessary, but I did just to be sure, and I thought it was too oily.)
  3. In a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs, ground mustard, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and ketchup/barbecue sauce, and mix well.
  4. Add the ground beef, pork, turkey and sautéed vegetables to the bowl, and mix until well-combined.
  5. Fill each muffin cup to the top with the meatloaf mixture, and press down to flatten.
  6. Put a dollop (about 1/2 teaspoon) of ketchup or barbecue sauce on the top of each mini meatloaf.
  7. If freezing: cook for 20 to 25  minutes, until cooked through, an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If serving immediately, cook an additional 5-10 minutes.
    1. Let the meatloaves sit in the pan for about five minutes before removing.
    2. If freezing, let cool to room temperature, wrap in individually in foil, and place in a freezer safe container or plastic bag. Wrapping them individually takes a little more time initially, but it makes things much easier in the long run as you can just take out as many as you want at that time instead of having to separate them.
    3. When you’re ready to use the frozen meatloaf, put it in the fridge 24 hours beforehand to thaw, then remove foil and bake for about 10 minutes at 350. (You can also use the microwave, but the oven gives them a nice brown on the outside.)
Meatloaf wrapped in foil and sealed in freezer bags. (Somewhat off-topic: I’m trying to use fewer disposable and paper products, but have not found a reusable freezer container that works well. Please let me know if you have any recommendations!)

This is one of those recipes where a little planning during the down times makes life so much easier during the busy times! It’s also a money-saver; rather than ordering take out, you have a homemade meal waiting for you!

I served these meatloaves with garlic butter mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. To really save time, I made the mashed potatoes the day before and steamed the vegetables while the meatloaves and potatoes were reheating. #mealplanningwin

What are your favorite meatloaf tips? It’s honestly not something I make often, so I’d love to hear your ideas.

Have a great week, RWC!
-Amy

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