Though dinner continues to be a source of debate around my house, I’ve had another victory this week in making a meal that the picky heathens actually like.
As a working mom, I have limited time on a week-night to get dinner on the table. I’ve tried making meatloaf by assembling it the night before, but most meatloaf still has a cooking time of at least an hour; not a good thing when you have a kitchen full of hungry boys hounding you to death. By splitting my favorite meatloaf into smaller portions, I cut the cooking time in half. I promise this is your best bet for enticing picky eaters into the land of meatloaf and maintain your week-night sanity.
Here’s what you need:
Mini Bacon-Cheeseburger Meatloaves
- 4 strips of bacon
- ¼ cup Red Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
- ¼ cup Onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
- 2 pounds Lean Ground Beef
- 1-½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- ½ cup Oats
- ½ cup Light Brown Sugar, Divided
- ½ cup Yellow Mustard, Divided
- ½ cup Ketchup, Divided
First things first. I needed to cook the bacon, and use some of the bacon drippings to sauté my veggies, However, I HATE cooking bacon on the stovetop. It pops, it sizzles, it burns me and it makes a mess that is a pain in the rear to clean up. I’m lucky enough to wash the dishes on a given night; scrubbing bacon grease off my backsplash is not going to happen. I solved this problem by cooking the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet. I just popped it under the broiler for a few minutes, turning it once. I had watch it carefully, so it wouldn’t burn.
Once the bacon was cooked, I removed it to some paper towels to cool, and carefully poured the drippings into a small skillet. Because my baking sheet was covered with foil, I got to throw the mess away and save time on dishes. While the bacon was still cooking, I chopped my bell pepper:
as well as the onion and garlic:
Once the bacon was cooked and my drippings were in my skillet, I turned on the heat to med-high, and added my bell pepper, onion and garlic to the skillet:
While the vegetables were sautéing, I chopped up my cooled bacon:
And grated my cheese:
At this point, my vegetables were nice and soft, so I removed the skillet from the stove and let the vegetable mixture cool down for a bit:
Once I was fairly certain that I was not in danger of burning myself, I began the meatloaf assembly. In a large bowl, I combined the beef:
Cooled vegetable mixture:
As well as ¼ cup ketchup, ¼ cup mustard and ¼ cup brown sugar. I reserved the remaining ketchup, mustard and brown sugar to make the sauce later:
Using my (relatively clean) hands, I combined all these ingredients until the mixture looked fairly uniform:
I divided the meat mixture into 12 portions (kinda like I was making 12 big meatballs), and placed it into a muffin pan that I liberally sprayed with non-stick spray. At this point, I covered it up and tossed it in the fridge until the next day, but if you aren’t making this ahead of time like I was, just carry on:
When I got home from work the next day, I popped the meatloaves into a 375 degree oven and baked them for 30 minutes. Because I wanted them to brown well, I removed the meatloaves from the oven after about 20 minutes, and VERY CAREFULLY, I tipped the muffin pan gently over the sink to drain off any excess grease. I retuned the meatloaves to the oven to bake for the remaining 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I combined the remaining ¼ cup ketchup, ¼ cup mustard and ¼ cup brown sugar in a small bowl:
After the meatloaves baked for the full 30 minutes (with that brief break to drain the grease at the 20-minute-mark), I removed them from the oven and topped them with my sauce mixture:
I then returned the meatloaves to the oven, and baked them an additional 10 minutes, or until they looked dang tasty:
I let the meatloaves cool about 5 minutes, then I plated it up and basked in a week-night meatloaf success:
As you can see, I served it with a double helping of vegetables to compensate for that whole bacon-cheese factor.
Because in my mind, that made perfect sense.