These mini meatloaves are made on a broiler sheet instead of in a muffin pan so everyone gets a tasty browned one instead of a pasty steamed one.
Right now I am wishing I had a meatloaf sandwich to munch on while I write this recipe up for you. Mmmmmm. I love me some meatloaf. A million years ago I worked at Mel’s Diner in Sacramento. They had a couple extremely successful locations in San Francisco and someone had built a 50s style diner in Sacramento that went out of business so Mel’s took it over to “do it right”. Of course they also went out of business. I’m always surprised when restaurateurs insist that they can make it doing the exact same thing in the exact same place that a restaurant has already failed. I’ve only seen that work once and it is a local family owned Mexican restaurant near me that went into a location where a really horrible Mexican restaurant had been for a couple months. I attribute their success to the fact that their food is good but they have ALL DAY happy hour Sunday through Thursday and their margaritas are $3. You know how it is in the ‘burbs, we need a drink when we need a drink, but back to meatloaf. Mel’s made a spectacular meatloaf sandwich. Toasty sourdough, plenty of mayo and a thick ol’ slice of tasty, juicy meatloaf. *sigh*
Everyone has their opinion on how it meatloaf should be seasoned, but I only have one strong opinion. I don’t understand putting oatmeal in meatloaf. Is it a binder? I’ve never had ground beef fall apart. Is it a stretcher? Mushrooms are much better, they add flavor and moisture. If anything, oatmeal is going to leach moisture out of the meat and who wants dry meatloaf?
You can use ‘meatloaf mix’ which is a combination of one third each ground pork, beef and veal. Some grocery stores sell this premixed or you can buy one of each and combine. Personally, I prefer an all beef meatloaf probably for the sole reason that that’s what I grew up with.
The theory of the meatloaf mix is that pork adds flavor and veal adds tenderness. I think beef is plenty flavorful and I use a panade for tenderness, which is a mixture of bread and milk. You might have used that in other recipes like meatballs. Basically, by mixing bread (or in my recipe, breadcrumbs) and milk you create a moist starch that acts like fat and lubricates and keeps the beef from getting tough. Oh if only everything was so efficient.
A couple notes to be mindful of if you’re not the type to read the whole recipe (Jenni!). The sauce is less sweet than ketchup so use ketchup if you prefer. The type of ground beef you use will affect the texture; any fattier and it will be greasy but go too lean and it will be dry, panade or no panade!
This makes 8 mini meatloaves or 1 large meatloaf, plenty for leftovers. Try a slice on toasted sourdough with plenty of mayo and ketchup. Mmmmmmm.
Try this recipe with ground beef Goulash aka Beefy Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- dashes hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- optional: 1/3 cup minced parsley
- 2 pounds 85% ground beef or meatloaf mix
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce divided
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- Adjust oven racks to middle position and top position if making individuals or second down from top if making one large.
- Put a broiler pan on the middle rack and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix breadcrumbs and milk and set aside.
- Mix next 7 ingredients and 1/4 of the can of tomato sauce. Mix in milk paste.
- Gently mix in ground beef.
- Form into 8 individual meatloaves or one large meatloaf.
- Carefully remove broiler pan and place large meatloaf in middle, or individuals evenly spaced.
- Turn oven off and turn broiler on high.
- Broil meatloaf/loaves for about 2-4 minutes or until browned. (time will vary wildly depending on oven)
- Mix remaining tomato sauce and brown sugar.
- Turn off broiler and turn oven on to 350 degrees. Move meatloaf/loaves to middle rack and cook until thermometer registers 160 degrees about 10-15 minutes for individuals basting loaves with tomato/brown sugar after five minutes -or- for a large meatloaf cook until 160 degrees about 50 minutes, basting with sauce after about 15 minutes.
- If making large meatloaf, let rest 20 minutes before slicing.
And/or 1 cup finely diced cooked carrot
And/or 1 -2 cups finely diced, cooked mushrooms