As things start to reopen around Washington, we find ourselves falling back into that fast-paced hustle and bustle with which we’re all familiar. While, yes, I was furloughed during the quarantine, I’ve been very lucky to continue working for two great companies throughout this period of transition, and as the kids go back to school, I find myself as busy as ever. Weeknight dinners are, again, a balancing act, and I’ve been doing my best to mix things up, hide some veggies in our food, and make easy, fun, homemade weeknight meals that we’ll all love. A friend actually made a dish like this a while back, and I took her idea and spun it into this kid-approved mini meatloaf recipe.
Let’s be honest for a second. I don’t like traditional meatloaf and, for the most part, I don’t like ground beef. My goal with these little mini meatloaves was to make something that was cost-effective, time-efficient, and well-received by everyone. Well, let me just say, this meal delivers in spades, and I can safely say it’s on permanent rotation in the Moore household (just like all those rolls). Even better, I can make it in about 40 minutes start to finish, and that includes baking time, which is basically more time to spend with my family. So, without further ado, let’s get to the recipe!
Kid-Approved Mini Meatloaf Recipe
I think the best part of this recipe is that most of the ingredients are household staples. The spices are usually stocked, we always have eggs on hand, and ground turkey or chicken is always the alternative for ground beef in our household. So, when I do my grocery shopping each week, I don’t actually have to go out of my way to source out ingredients solely for this recipe. Best of all, these are bite-sized, and finger food is always fun for us. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Meatloaves:
1 lb (package) ground turkey or chicken
1/3 cup panko or breadcrumbs
1 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 chopped onion
For the Topping
1 tbsp butter
1 potato/sweet potato etc. (I used a Japanese yam because that’s what I had on hand)
2 tbsp milk or heavy cream
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
You’ll make this recipe in two phases. The first is prepping your meatloaves while the potato boils. The second is making your mashed potato topping while the meatloaves bake. Altogether, these come together simply, without a lot of hassle, and they’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Peel and roughly chop your potato. Boil a pot of water that’s 3/4 full, and drop the potato in. Let it go on a medium boil for about 10 minutes, or until it’s tender.
- While the potato is boiling, mix your ground turkey, egg, spices, and breadcrumbs together in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Add your finely diced onion. I should add here that you can add extra veggies, as well. Sometimes we throw in some pepper if we’re feeling up to it.
- Once your potato has boiled, drain the water and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Set your oven to 375 F, and lightly grease a muffin or cupcake tin.
- Roll your ground turkey mixture into mini meatballs and place them in the cupcake tin. Press them down lightly, and make sure that they fill the cupcake hole about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way.
- Once your oven is to temperature, place your meatloaves in the oven, and set a timer for 22 minutes. The time may vary on how full they are, but 22 minutes is safe.
- While your meatloaves bake, lightly mash your potatoes, and either place them in a blender (which is what I do), or add them to either your stand or hand mixer. Add in your butter, milk or heavy cream, garlic powder, and salt, and start to mix. If in a blender, pulse it lightly for about five seconds at a time. I usually scrape the sides down after each pulse, and it takes about 2-3 minutes. If using a hand or stand mixer, continue to mix until creamy – or chunky, if you like it like that.
- After 22 minutes, remove your mini meatloaves from the oven, and allow them to cool for 3-5 minutes before putting them on a plate.
- On top of each one, add your desired amount of ketchup (we do about 3/4 tsp of sugar-free ketchup on each), then add about a tbsp of your mashed potato mixture.
Seriously, that’s it! These little handheld mini meatloaves are super easy, and there’s something just so kid-friendly about bite-sized food. Honestly, my kids usually only eat one each, but Ryan’s been known to eat three or four in a sitting. Each batch makes about 12, depending on how full your muffin tins are, so they’re pretty customizable, as well. As an aside, too, Porter thought he was going to hate these and loves them, so even my picky eater enjoys this kid-approved mini meatloaf recipe!
Tell me – do you like meatloaf? Would you try a recipe like this?