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Monday, May 2, 2011

Meat Cupcakes; making dinner fun!

When ground beef becomes the weekly manager's special at my local supermarket, I can't resist stalking up the freezer with the most useful ingredient for quick dinner ideas. Having taken out a few pounds of ground beef out of the freezer, I was going to make a meatloaf. Trying to combine my passion for pastry with trying to create a twist on an old recipe, I decided to make them in the shape of cupcakes. This also shortens the cooking time of this dish because you're creating smaller portions of meat. To start off, prepare your favorite meatloaf mix. Every family has its variations and unique ingredients and flavors they like to add.

If you do not have a basic recipe to work with, here are some measurements to get you started.
In a bowl combine;
-  2 lbs ground meat (you can choose or even combine; beef, veal, pork, horse, rabbit, bison...)
- 1 Cup Bread Crumbs (you can also substitute this with the same amount of; crushed crackers or oatmeal)
- 1 large Egg
- 1- 8 oz. can of tomato sauce (or ketchup)
- 1 finely chopped, medium sized onion
If you mix all of this together and add; salt, pepper, garlic powder, it'll be delicious none the less.
Simply press this mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake in a 350F oven for about an hour.

Some variations:
- adding Worcestershire sauce
- substituting some of the tomato sauce with barbecue sauce to have a more smokier flavor
- adding some dried herbs like; thyme and/or rosemary
- even adding 1/2 cup of frozen vegetable like corn or green peas
-before baking, cover the load with slices of bacon, or even a layer of ketchup
The combinations and variations are endless, so it is best to experiment with the flavors until you find what you prefer. Personally I like combining veal, pork and beef together (sometimes found packaged as a trio) and adding to it; some oatmeal for the dry ingredient, ketchup for the tomato flavor and to add some sweetness, and slices mushrooms for veggies and to develop a more complex flavor combination.

For the cupcakes, simply press your meatloaf mixture into muffin tins and place in a 350F oven for about 35 minutes. Again, because you are cooking smaller portions, the cooking time will be lessened, but make sure that the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160F, or cut into one to assure it is thoroughly cooked.

For the cupcake effect, I simply made a batch of mashed potatoes, making sure they were creamy and lump free so i could pipe them though a piping tip. Drizzle with ketchup of mustard on top of the "cupcakes" and top with a decoration. Since I added parsley to the meatloaves, I put a spring of parsley on top.

Since you've got your starch portion on top of your meat portion, all you need to include are freshly steamed vegetables and/or a fresh salad. I went ahead and made a dandelion salad with a balsamic flavored vinaigrette, topped with walnuts and cranberries. There you have it, meatloaf cupcakes for the whole family to enjoy!

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!


1 comment:

  1. I love the meatloaf cupcakes! Would be a great addition to an event where you want more than appetizers but less than a full meal.