Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mini Meatloaves

Mini meatloaves are so darn cute! Though easily confused for burgers, they take offense to such accusations, pleading that they are indeed distinct from your run-of-the-mill hamburger! Not only are they baked, but they are baked with a tasty sauce on top that gets all sticky and gooey and just plain finger-licking good. Meatloaves are also extremely versatile; by varying the type of meat, veggies, crackers, and spices you use, you're bound to never be bored by these little meat discs. I prefer the mini loaves over one large because they not only lessen the cook time required, but they make it so that each diner can enjoy a good smattering of sauce (what we all remember loving so much about the end pieces of the big loaves mom used to make).

Another thing I love about these babies: You can make them ahead of time. I would say no more than 2 nights ahead of time you can store these in the refrigerator in the dish you plan on using to bake them, well-covered with clear wrap. You might even be so lucky to have yourself someone handy to throw then in the oven (and maybe make some carrot fries as a side... please?) so that dinner is done when you get home, ragged and weary from Chicago public transportation. And nothing cures what ails you more than a good smile and some warm loavies.
The Stuff:
  • glass baking dish (about 8" by 11")
  • medium saute pan
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 medium mixing bowl
The Edibles:
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • about 2 c. mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3 T. ketchup, divided
  • 2 & 1/2 T. barbeque sauce, divided
  • 1 & 1/2 T. worchestire sauce, divided
  • 2 T. milled flax seed
  • 3 T. water
  • 3/4 c. combination of crushed crackers and/or breadcrumbs
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • light sprinkle of onion salt
  • about 1 T. dried oregano
  • about 1/2 T. dried thyme
  • shake of chili powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 3/4 c. chopped spinach (from frozen)
The Making:
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Spray baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Spray a medium saute pan with olive oil cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add onion; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and mushrooms appear dark. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In large mixing bowl combine next 5 ingredients, through water. Stir until fully mixed.
  4. In separate mixing bowl combine next 6 ingredients (crackers/crumbs through pepper) until all ingredients are equally distributed.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. This will be the topping for your meatloaves.
  6. Add sirloin and spinach to the bowl containing the wet ingredients; mix with clean hands to get the meat and spinach fully incorporated with liquid sauce.
  7. Gradually add dry ingredients to the meat mixture, kneading the meat with your hands to ensure equal distribution. Form the meat into 5 or 6 patties (or as I like to call them, "mini meatloaves") and place in prepared baking dish. Top with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sauce (step 4), and spread with a spoon.
  8. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, until they no longer are pink inside.


  1. You use a lot of flax seed. For flavor or omega-3s (or both)?

    Why are you reading this, you ask? I'm just looking at this, thinking about how to veggify it.

  2. Haha! I was wondering why you were reading this recipe, but I guessed just right!

    I choose to use a lot of flax seed not for flavor, but for health reasons. Milled flax seed is not only a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, but fiber as well. Lately I have been using it because I prefer not to use eggs purchased from Walgreens... who knows how those poor chickens were treated! (Flax seed is a great vegan substitute for eggs.)