About ten years ago I had a subscription to Cooking Light magazine. As I read through those magazines I would pull out recipes that looked good to me and slip them into sheet protectors in a binder. Of course this was long before Pinterest and the popularity of finding recipes on the internet. I’ve kept that binder and over the years I’ve tossed out the recipes I no longer make. There are a few remaining and this mini meatloaf recipe is one of them. I’ve made some changes to the original recipe to make it just the way we like it. I swapped onion powder for the onion (my husband doesn’t like crunchy onions in his meatloaf), decreased the amount of ketchup, and added in some spinach.
Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food and this recipe definitely fits the bill. The tangy mixture of ketchup and Dijon mustard not only flavors the meat loaves but it also acts as a glaze that helps them brown nicely as they cook. I wouldn’t call this the lightest meatloaf recipe out there but I have made a few changes to improve the nutrition profile. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of ketchup and I decreased that down to 6 Tablespoons since ketchup has a lot of sugar in it. And, because I just can’t help myself, I added in some very finely chopped spinach. You could easily leave that out but I don’t know why you would. You can’t even taste it and it adds some nutrients and color. My kids didn’t even seem to notice. I’ll probably add more next time.
I love the fact that this recipe makes four mini loaves rather than one big loaf. Most people would probably agree that the outside of the meatloaf is the best part so making individual loaves means each person gets lots of the yummy outside. My boys both ate their entire mini meatloaf and then asked for more. My husband loves them too.
The recipe calls for 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs. You can find those at the store but most of the products on the shelf are full of preservatives. If you want, you can make your own. I just pulled two heels out from my loaf of whole wheat bread and let them dry out for a few hours. I then pulsed them in the mini food processor and added in some garlic powder and Italian seasoning until nice and fragrant. Couldn’t be any easier. Then I stored the leftovers in the freezer.
- 6 T ketchup
- 1½ T Dijon mustard
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ cup finely chopped spinach
- ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp onion powder
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine ketchup and mustard, stirring well with a small whisk. Reserve 1½ T of the ketchup mixture to top the loaves later.
- Combine the remaining ketchup mixture, beef, and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to combine.
- Divide beef mixture into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a small rectangular loaf; place loaves on a greased or parchment paper lined jelly roll pan.
- Spread the 1½ T ketchup mixture over the tops of the four loaves. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 -25 minutes or until done.
Real Food Tips:
- Pastured/grass fed beef is best if it fits your budget. I am able to find mine on sale at Sprouts for $5.99 a pound.
- Homemade breadcrumbs are so easy to make and it allows you to skip the preservatives in many store bought brands. Just make sure you are using bread that’s not full of preservatives either. I love Alpine Valley, Dave’s Killer Bread, or Food For Life Ezekiel bread. But there are many more great options out there as well.