Meatloaf is by far the best comfort food there is. I remember how my Grandma used to make them during Sundays. We would all gather in the kitchen and savor the smells while Grandma teaches us how to make them. Grandma really inspired me to cook even at a young age. Every Sunday was our bonding time. She would let me help in the kitchen while she tells stories about her childhood. I know Grandma will frown upon this muffin meatloaf because she said that meatloaves are meant to be sliced then enjoyed. Oh well, I’m sure my Grandma will be delighted to taste this version anyway.
How the Meatloaf Came to Be
Did you know that the first meatloaf consisted of beef, vegetable soup, and cereal flakes? It was created by the Culinary Arts Institute back in 1940s and slowly evolved to the meatloaf that we know today. In 1957, the Complete American Cookbook published a meatloaf recipe that was seasoned with turmeric, caramel, Angostura bitters, and meat extract. I cannot imagine how that would taste though. Come 2008, Gourmet published their own recipe which used pork, beef, bacon, garlic, sautéed onions, celery, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, all-spice, cider vinegar, and prunes. This recipe is more similar to what we have now with the exception of the cider vinegar and prunes.
The modern meatloaf as we know it seems like an American invention, but this dish actually has its roots in Rome. In Apicius, a Roman cookbook collection, chopped meat with spices, bread soaked in wine, and pine nuts. The all-American meatloaf was born in the 18th century, thanks to the Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania. They needed to maximize the use of a slaughtered pig. So, the leftover meat from the bones were scraped and mixed with the lungs, heart, and liver to make meatloaf.
Traditional Meatloaf vs Muffin Meatloaf
I still like the idea of slicing through a meatloaf and drizzling it with gravy or cream. However, muffin meatloaf is more economical especially if you like to make food ahead of time. You can easily grab the pieces that you need and reheat them without taking the whole loaf out of the freezer. That way, it won’t go to waste and will last longer. Also, smaller pieces are easier to bring to potluck parties. Just make sure you have a lot of muffin pans. What I do is to stack the muffin pans on cooling racks so I can bake more in less time.
You can make your traditional meatloaf recipe then just cook it in muffin pans for smaller bites. Or you can also use this recipe and cook it in a loaf pan. Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends!
For other meat recipes, you can also try this Oven Roasted Beef.
Quick and Easy Muffin Meatloaf
For the meatloaf:
- 2 pieces large eggs lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup Mexican cheese blend shredded
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 - 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
- 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3/4 lb lean ground beef
- 3/4 lb ground turkey
For the toppings:
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp prepared mustard
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, garlic, parsley flakes, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the ground beef and ground turkey. Mix well to combine.
- Spoon 1/3 cup of the meat mixture into the muffin pans. No need to grease them as beef is already greasy. Press lightly on the meat mixture.
- In another bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. Spread over meat loaf cups.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
For freezing options:
- To prepare make ahead meatloaf muffins, bake the meatloaf without the toppings. Let them cool, cover, then freeze.
- Once you're ready to eat them, let them thaw in the fridge.
- Lightly grease a baking pan, place the meatloaf muffins on them, top with the ketchup mixture. Bake in a preheated oven of 350°F until the meat is heated through and the topping begins to caramelize.