July 2, 2014

Individual Cheater's Meatloaf

So, this recipe was not meant for the blog. Like, at all. I'm still working on stocking my pantry (I went to the grocery store on my lunch break Monday and bought nothing but spices and sauces. And Bisquick. The cashier looked at me funny), but I had this box of cornbread stuffing mix. I got it for free, and I'm not the hugest fan of cornbread stuffing, so I was just looking at it like, "what am I going to do with you?"

Then I thought, "well, I could make meatloaf" because my mom always makes meatloaf with stuffing mix and I love it. But then I was like, "I don't have any ketchup or barbecue sauce or anything." (Hence the recent shopping for sauces) But I did have a can of condensed tomato soup. And I had chopped meat and onions and eggs, so I was just all, "what the hey, I'll try it."
And I decided to make it in a muffin tin because... because it seemed like a good idea at the time. It didn't occur to me that you could make mini meatloaves freestanding. They would have probably looked better if I shaped them by hand. I'm just too used to baking things that need to be contained, I think.

Now, I'm not adverse to a few shorcuts here and there, but as I was mixing the ingredients together, I couldn't help thinking that I was making cheater's meatloaf. I didn't have much in the way of spices (pretty much just salt and pepper), so I was relying on the stuffing mix and the tomato soup to add most of the flavor. So it kind of felt like a cheat. Which is part of the reason why it wasn't intended for the blog. (The other part was that they were ugly)
But it was actually really good. The edges get browned and crusty (which is just about my favorite part of meatloaf). The loaves themselves are nice and firm-- you could pick them up and eat them with your hands with very little mess. The flavor was excellent. It's not really a regular meatloaf flavor, since you're using cornbread and tomato soup. They meld together excellently and add a nice, subtle flavoring to the meat. Now, I also added diced, sweet onion, but that's optional. Sweet onions don't add huge flavor, and most stuffing mixes are already flavored with dried onions or onion powder. I had already started cutting the onion for a different recipe, so I had it on hand.

I figured that there might be other people out in Internet-land that would like a ridiculously easy meatloaf recipe with only 5 ingredients. And, though I haven't tried it with this recipe, meatloaf traditionally freezes well. So you can always keep them in the freezer until you need a last minute meal. I'm a big fan of leftovers.
And in case you didn't notice, there is barbecue sauce on the meatloaf, which I just said I did not have when making the meatloaf. I took a picture of my leftovers. Is that some sort of foodie faux pas?

Individual Cheater's Meatloaf
Yield: 6 loaves

1 lb ground meat (you could use beef or turkey. I used "meatloaf mix" which is a mix of beef, pork, and veal)
1 (6 oz) box cornbread stuffing mix
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed tomato soup
2 eggs
1/2 sweet onion, diced (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a jumbo muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients. Mix until all ingredients have been well incorporated (be careful not to overmix or the meat will be tough). Divide the mixture evenly between 6 openings in the prepared muffin tin, and press it in firmly.

Bake 35-45 minutes until well browned and the internal temperature reads 160 degrees on a meat thermometer. Serve hot.

Tip: If you don't have a jumbo muffin tin, make smaller loaves in a regular muffin tin. Or shape the loaves by hand and bake them on a rimmed baking sheet. Just make sure to adjust the cook times accordingly.

Recipe by Kim