By Joanne Lamb Hayes
For The Family Table, a blog for busy families
Meatloaf has always been one of my family’s favorites, but as our schedule got busier and busier, the one-hour baking time made it scarce on the menu. When I discovered this easy trick, everyone was delighted to have meatloaf back on our table and looking a lot cuter.
I can’t take credit for the idea of baking meatloaf in cupcake pans; I must have seen it in a magazine somewhere. But I added another touch: pre-cooking the onion and carrots and then heating them with the salsa. Once I added the vegetables and salsa hot to the meat mixture, these little loaves cooked in 5 to 7 minutes less time than when everything was mixed in cold. And that made it a lot easier to have dinner on the table on time.
For the meat, you could use ground chuck, if you wanted to, but I find that ground turkey is always reasonably priced and pleases everyone in the family. I have made it with the lean, all-white-meat ground turkey and it is a bit drier so I would go with the regular ground turkey, which also happens to be the less expensive choice.
In the past, I have used various kinds of tomatoes or chili sauce in my meatloaf mixture but once I tried salsa, I discovered that it provides a lot of flavor, reduces the ingredient list by several items and the remaining salsa makes a good sauce for the baked loaves.
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Turkey Meatloaf “Cupcakes”
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 large egg
3 tablespoons ketchup
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup coarsely grated carrots
1 jar (16 ounces) salsa, divided
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Generously oil six cupcake pan cups. In a medium bowl, combine turkey, oats, egg, ketchup, oregano, and salt.
- In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring, until the vegetables just begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir in 1 cup of the salsa and bring to a boil.
- Add the hot mixture to the turkey mixture and stir until combined. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake pan cups, mounding well above the top of the cups.
- Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on the bottom oven rack below the pan to catch the drips. Bake until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165º F, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Loosen edge of each “cupcake” with a small spatula and remove to a serving platter. Serve with remaining salsa.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe by Joanne Lamb Hayes
Joanne Lamb Hayes is a New York City food writer, editor, food stylist and historian. She has developed, written and tested recipes for national magazines for decades. As Food Editor of Country Living magazine for 14 years, she shared her passion for cooking with fresh local ingredients. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health. Joanne is the author or co- author of more than a dozen cookbooks.
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