Hey everyone! It's time again for Shrink My Butt Cooking Light Monday! Maybe I should just officially change its name to that. Anyway, this week's recipe is Diner Meatloaf Muffins. In the March, 2006 issue, they did a "cooking class" segment on lots of ways to make meatloaf. I've been feeling the need for some comfort food lately with our freezing temperatures out here, and plus I've been craving hamburger. I know there are lots of better types of beef out there, but I am a hamburger girl. Love it!
This was a very simple recipe and luckily it came out VERY good. This is definitely a keeper. Not only did I love the flavor and texture, but I also managed to make it in under an hour. Even with chopping time involved. Let's make meatloaf!
Chop up a cup of onions and half a cup of carrots. This is a fine dice. Heat up a little olive oil and saute them with 2 garlic cloves mushed (I am too lazy to mince) and a teaspoon of oregano for two minutes. This smelled heavenly. I wanted to take a bath in this stuff. However, that would get me lots of alone time. Or institutional time. Whatever.
Set that aside to cool down a little bit. Then pull out your fat free Saltine Crackers which you forgot to buy and had to run to the store for had sitting in your cabinet. I know I could have bought store brand for this, but now I have 3 other sleeves of crackers that I will have to deal with. So I spent the big bucks and got the Nabisco ones. Expect more Saltine Cracker recipes in the near future.
Now for the fun part. Take 20 crackers (says the recipe...I needed 25) and smash them up until you have a cup of finely smooshed crackers. That's an official cooking term. Finely smooshed.
Okay, I'm lying. But you knew that.
My favorite method of smooshing is to put the smooshable object in a big Ziplock bag and have at it with a rolling pin. Anything heavy will do, but I try to use my rolling pin more than once a year for SOMETHING. Plus it's really fun to roll it all over the bag.
That's pretty much all the hard work for this dealie. Next, stick all of the ingredients in a big bowl. Here we have the one and a half pounds hamburger (93% lean), the vegie mix, crackers, ketchup, mustard, a couple of eggs, some Worcestershire sauce (wooster? wistersheer? how do you say this?) and a little bit of freshly ground pepper. Only a little because pepper is hot. It is too. I always seem to bite into a big piece of pepper. Ick. So add more if you like that kind of thing. Notice there's no added salt? It was totally fine without it. But I guess you could put some in at this point if you wanted to.
Make sure you use this kind of ketchup. It is the best. All others suck.
Heinz, need a spokesperson? Call me!
Now for the dirty part. Stick your hands in there and mush it around. Do this as little as possible, just until it's all blended. I speak from experience. Hamburger that has been overly mixed comes out dense and tough. And gross.
I know this looks yucky. But trust me, it's yummy!
No, I didn't taste it. I just know. I'm smart like that.
Now take a muffin tin and spray some cooking spray on there. Fill each tin with some of the meatloaf mix. I had to pat it in pretty good to get it all to fit. Then spread a few teaspoons of ketchup onto each one. You could skip this step if you don't like it, but it helps keep the top from drying out. Some of the reviewers on the Cooking Light website suggested using BBQ sauce instead. That would be good, too. Stick in the oven for 25 minutes at 350*.
Here are the cooked ones. I let them stand for 5 minutes while I took the pictures. I was worried that maybe they would overflow or grease would come out or something, so I cooked this on top of a rimmed cookie sheet and some foil. You know, like I was supposed to do for the Sticky Buns? But I didn't need to. I had no problems or drippage at all. I think the key here is to use the lowest possible amount of fat in your hamburger. These might be pretty nasty and greasy otherwise.
One serving of these is 2 "muffins." I served it with steamed zucchini and some orzo that I cooked in chicken broth. You know, Swanson's flavorless, healthy chicken broth. It worked fine for this and added a subtle flavor to the pasta.
Some of the website reviewers thought these were too moist. They are definitely very wet, but if you've ever had overmixed, dried out meatloaf you will appreciate these all the more. And the flavor actually tasted like sausage, I think because of the garlic and oregano. I wolfed these down and am looking forward to lunch tomorrow. This makes 6 servings, so I plan to freeze the leftovers individually and then put them in a Ziplock so I can pull them out when needed.
Oh, and why do these have the word "diner" in the title? Probably because they were doing a feature on meatloaf and needed different names for each one and that was the best they could do. Regardless of the name, make this recipe and enjoy!