Mini Meatloaves

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When it’s cold outside and the snow is piling up, my mind immediately turns to comfort food. Warm, hearty meals made from pantry staples, the kind of ingredients that are always on hand and don’t require braving the snow for a trip to the grocery store. We’ve had a bit of a winter storm here this weekend, and it’s almost grocery day. The last thing I wanted to do was trek out in the snow to fetch ingredients, so I needed to come up with something for dinner that would fit the comfort food craving, and didn’t require anything that I didn’t have in my pantry. Enter the meatloaf. Or, rather, the meatloaves.

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Meatloaf is one of those meals that I didn’t really like growing up. I don’t know what it was about it, but it was just so boring to me. Maybe I just didn’t appreciate all the effort my parents put into making it. But since having kids of my own, I’ve decided to revisit some of my childhood staples, and up the flavour ante a little. This is one that I’ve been working on for a while, and I feel like I’ve finally perfected it. I even hide some veggies in it for extra nutritional punch! I used to make it in one big loaf, but recently I’ve been experimenting with making it in muffin tins. Not only does it cut down the cooking time, but it also makes it really easy to watch your portion sizes, too! Needless to say, this is a hit. My husband loves it, my kids love it, and I love it too. It comes together quickly and makes enough for another meal, if leftovers are your thing. They certainly are my thing – two meals for the effort of one? I’m in.

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Mini Meatloaves

8 oz bread products that are getting stale {slices, crusts, buns, etc – about 6 slices}
1 cup milk
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound medium ground pork {not pork sausage meat in a tube}
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 cup grated asiago {or parmesan}
1 large carrot, grated finely
1 medium onion, grated
4 eggs
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp honey
Hot sauce {I used 2 tsp sambal oelek, you can use any hot sauce of your choice in an appropriate amount}

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tins (18 wells) by greasing lightly.

In a large bowl, tear bread up into small pieces. Pour milk over top and let sit for a few minutes.

To the bread, add beef, pork, salt, pepper, garlic powder, nutmeg, allspice, parsley, parmesan, carrot and onion. Mix well. {Tip: This is a good time to get in there with your hands. If you are squeamish about touching raw meat, keep some medical gloves on hand for this kind of thing!}

When the meat mixture is well-combined, add eggs and mix some more. Once everything is mixed together well, fill each muffin tin well with the meat mixture.

In a small bowl, combine ketchup, molasses, honey and chili sauce. Reserve half the sauce for later, and brush the remaining half over the tops of the meatloaf muffins.

Bake meatloaves at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meatloaves is 160F. Serve with fluffy smashed potatoes and the reserved sauce for dipping. Yield: 18 mini meatloaves.

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