While I love living alone and having my own space to do what I please (i.e. bake until the wee hours of the morning, have one woman dance parties to the Glee soundtrack), cooking for one can be frustrating. I'll have a craving for say, lasagna, but after one piece, I'm left with 11 servings of the stuff. I don't care if it's the best dish of lasagna this world has ever known -- after two or three meals of it, I don't want to look at it for a while. After all, variety IS the spice of life.
So when I wanted meatloaf for dinner, I realized I'd be eating it for the next week and a half. Hm, I didn't have a bunch of mini pans, and even then, a serving size of meatloaf is about half of that. Tools that I already had... a muffin pan! I could eat one and flash freeze the rest and, whenever I got the hankering for some meatloaf, pop one in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes, and bon appetit! (Do the French eat meatloaf or some form of it? I'm totally curious about that one.)
If you aren't familiar with the concept of flash freezing, it is the process of spacing items out on a tray or cookie sheet, freezing them until they are firm and then storing them in more space-efficient freezer bags. It is one of the most amazing concepts I have learned in the kitchen to date. I use this technique to freeze sliced seasonal fruits (later used for smoothies or sauces), unbaked biscuits or cookie dough, meatballs, you name it. You can still store the items in one bag, like a bag of frozen chicken tenders that you'd buy from the grocery store. Try it!
This meatloaf recipe is pretty no frills, the way I like it. Use whatever ground meat you prefer. For an extra special finishing touch, try topping each meatloaf-ette with a little barbeque sauce or ketchup before baking. Or, if you're making these for a party, use a 24-cup mini muffin pan. I can't think of a better cold weather comfort food than meatloaf. And, with this kind of press, you know it's a long-time favorite.
(term coined by one very proud boyfriend who probably wants a copyright)
1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (beef + pork + veal, but you can use any ground meat)
3-4 slices soft bread, torn into pieces
1 cup milk
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375F. Coat standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray. In large bowl, beat egg slightly. Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated with rubber spatula. Using an ice cream scoop or spoons, fill each cup with meatloaf mixture distributing evenly among cups.
Bake in oven 25 minutes. While baking, line a cooling rack with tin foil. Remove pan from oven and, using a spoon, remove and place each meatloaf-ette on foil to cool out of the pan. (This allows for faster cooling and leaves excess fat from meat in the pan.) Serve on a mini plate and decorate with ketchup like so: