April 3, 2013 by Jason Rice MD
As I’ve said before, I make meatloaf muffins a lot. Probably at least three times a month. They’re easy to make, they’re super kid-friendly, and they’re easy to store and reheat. I tend to at least tweak the recipe every time I make it, based on our tastes, availability of different ingredients and sometimes just whatever I happen to have on hand in the house. I don’t post every variation I make, but when a new version is particularly tasty (and different enough from previous posts), I will go ahead and write it up. In fact, now that I’ve posted four of these, I’m going to add a category just for meatloaf muffins.
(Also, I’ve been working on my photography and am using a better camera with some new photo editing software, so hopefully my photos will be a little more drool-inducing than they have been thus far.)
So, let’s get started. Here are my Italian inspired chicken meatloaf muffins…
- 1 lb of ground chicken
- 1 sweet onion
- 8 oz of mushrooms
- 1 can of diced tomato (unsalted if available)
- 1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- Small jar of pizza or pasta sauce
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the ground chicken into a large mixing bowl and season with a little salt and pepper. Finely chop the onion, and add to the bowl. Mince the mushrooms (reserving two or three whole mushrooms) and garlic, and add this as well. (You can do this mincing by hand, but it’s tedious. I highly recommend a chopper of some sort.)
Open the can of tomatoes and strain in a colander. Gently squeeze out as much of the excess juice as possible, and add the tomatoes to the bowl. Finely chop the spinach, and add to the mix.
Add some bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. I know, saying “add some ______” is not terribly descriptive, but I don’t really measure these ingredients. I sprinkle the cheese and bread crumbs evenly over the whole mix once. In the picture below, you can see about how much of the cheese and bread crumbs I use – basically enough that the whole mix is lightly dusted, but not buried.
Add the egg and a little drizzle of olive oil. Finally add about four or five tablespoons of pizza sauce or pasta sauce. Combine the meatloaf mixture gently with your hands until everything is fairly evenly distributed. I like to divide the mixture into large balls prior to placing them in the muffin pan to make sure I make each meatloaf roughly the same size.
Very lightly coat the cups of your muffin tin with a little bit of oil and place the meat portions gently into the pan. Top with a small dollop of the pizza/pasta sauce and a little parmesan cheese. Slice the mushrooms you set aside earlier, and top each meatloaf with a mushroom slice.
Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove the mushroom pan from the oven and let the meatloaves rest in the pan for at least 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Slide a spoon or spatula around the muffins to remove them from the pan, and serve with the side of your choice. I like them with green beans. A small side of pasta would also complement these nicely.
The roasted mushroom on top is my favorite part. I always tell myself I will save it for last, but honestly, the mushrooms rarely even make it to the table since I typically scarf them up as soon as I put them on my plate. Regardless of how you eat them, they’re delicious. Enjoy!