By Kat Wojtylak
Meatloaf is one of the ultimate comfort foods, especially this time of year. There are countless ways to make it, and each way has it’s own benefits. What I have been enamored with as of late are meatloaf cupcakes. Serving meatloaf up in a new way can help kids gain more of the good stuff, or work with the time pressed equestrian when getting food ready quickly isn’t always an option.
Cupcakes are all the craze of course, maybe even dying down a bit in light of the illustrious cronut. Yet taking something that has no relation to cupcakes like meatloaf can actually bring out creativity even on a night when one is drained due to the cold weather and dwindling daylight. Simply put, a meatloaf cupcake is a spin on the traditional meatloaf, just baked in a cupcake pan. Not only do they cook quicker than traditional meatloaf, but you can top them with a variety of good stuff. I personally like whipped mashed potatoes piped on as frosting and then using some sort of tomato glaze on top. For someone who lives on the go or by themselves, these individual servings of meatloaf work really well straight out of the freezer. It’s a way to utilize your time and ingredients in prepping for the future lack of food on lesson nights.
While I still haven’t found my ideal meatloaf (it’s like trying to find the best chocolate chip cookie), here are some recipes I’ve had great luck with. Keep in mind the base of the meatloaf has some sort of meat component (turkey, pork and/or beef), bread or in some cases quinoa or panko, a binder (egg) and then vegetables and seasonings. You can definitely tailor any of these recipes to make it more to your liking.
Once the meat component is settled on, the next phase is deciding which type of “cupcakes” you want. You can opt for frosted or glazed. The frosted meat cakes can be whipped cauliflower or potatoes (sweet or regular). And to do this I just made my favorite recipe, put them into a piping bag, and essentially frosted the cakes. You could always get crazy and put different tips on your bag to create fun patterns.
If you like the meat and potatoes component, then it’s a perfect marriage. If you’re not into the starches, then you could just glaze them. Most people use straight tomato ketchup, but I personally like balsamic ketchup or even tomato jam. You can place this right on top of your meat cakes towards the end of the cooking so the sugars caramelize and leave you with depth of flavor. Of course if you opted for potatoes, you could put the glaze over it and cook the potatoes a second time.
The possibilities are of course endless! Just don’t get depressed about summer’s end and find a way to enjoy even the most mundane of comfort foods. It’s a way to let your creativity loose during the week with the benefits of stocking your freezer with easy meals.
To full plates and eating your tarte out.
About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies, while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at EatYourTarteOut.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.