Meatloaf “Cupcakes”

Hey, what day is it? What day is it? Mike, Mike…what day is it? HUMP DAAAAAAY!  And hump day means that I need to think of what I can prepare Olivia for lunch for the remainder of the week while I’m at work.  I was trying to think of what to make when meatloaf kind of popped into my head.  I remember pinning a Turkey Meatloaf “Cupcake” that Tyler Florence had posted on Parenting.com. [I co-admin on a fantastic closed group on Facebook that is all about “Feeding the Littles” and part of our page includes a Pinterest board that a few of us pin to – feel free to follow our Pinterest board!]  I decided to try out the recipe tonight with the small tweak of adding in diced carrots.  Yes, I know I have said I don’t want to have to sneak in vegetables all the time to baby.  But, I also believe that there is always a place for adding in extra veggies wherever you can – just tell your kid that there’s yummy veggies in it, too!  The recipe also calls for crumbled cornbread (mmm…cornbread), but since we had none on hand, we used regular old breadcrumbs we had on hand from Trader Joe’s.  And the last variation we had on ours – no bacon. I know…that’s the part of the recipe I wanted to keep in! But, again, we didn’t have any bacon on hand – so this will have to do for now!  Next time, bacon for sure!  I thought this recipe was so cute, too, because it has the added option of ‘frosting’ your ‘cupcake’ with mashed potatoes.  Adorable.  

What You’ll Need:

Few tablespoons of Olive Oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 cup carrots, chopped

3/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup (a generous 1/2 cup) barbecue sauce (we got the All-Natural BBQ sauce from Trader Joe’s)

1 egg

A few tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley

2 Potatoes

What You’ll Do:

Line your cupcake tin with cupcake liners.  

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  You may want to go ahead and make your mashed potato frosting first so that it has time to cool so you can handle it while you’re “frosting” the cupcakes.  Peel and cube the potatoes.  

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Put it in a pot of salted water and bring the pot of potatoes to a boil.  Boil for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Drain and just mash away.  I added a little milk, a pat of butter, and a sprinkle of garlic powder.  

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I decided not to use any salt (as I normally would in mashed potatoes) since 1) Olivia doesn’t need all that extra sodium and 2) there’s already enough flavor (and sodium) in the meatloaf from the barbecue sauce.  

Next, prepare your meatloaf cupcakes.  Saute your onions and carrots in the olive oil for a few minutes until soft and tender.  Put aside when done.  

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In a large bowl, combine your breadcrumbs and buttermilk.  Wait for about 5 minutes, or until the buttermilk has fully absorbed into the breadcrumbs.  Add in your sauteed veggies, the ground turkey, the barbecue sauce, egg, & parsley.  

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Here comes the fun part (or the gross part, depending on who you’re asking!).  With clean hands, get in that mixture and massage it! Get all in it and make sure it’s mixed thoroughly.  

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Divide the turkey mixture into the cupcake tin evenly.  

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Pop into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the meat is thoroughly cooked.  Let the “cupcakes” cool a bit and then frost with mashed potatoes!  

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You’ll definitely want to wait for it to cool a bit, otherwise your mashed potato frosting will kind of…melt a bit.  

And there you have it!  An adorable way to eat some yummy + healthy meatloaf!  

I’m not gluten-free nor do I have egg allergies, but a mom in that Facebook group I mentioned above gave me a great tip. If you’re either allergic to gluten or eggs (or both), just omit the breadcrumbs and eggs. Instead, substitute 1/3 cup flaxseed meal for every 2 pounds of meat. Just dump it in dry into your meat mixture. And voila! A great breadcrumb AND egg substitute!

No matter what route you take – breadcrumbs/eggs or flaxseed meal, it will be a meal your family will enjoy! TJ and I tried one tonight. And trust me when I say…it Tastes Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~

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Green Bean Casserole – From Scratch!

Green Bean Casserole. Yes. The dreaded potluck dish that everyone makes fun of. Goopy, overly salted, condensed cream of mushroom soup over green beans and greasy crispy onions that came out of a can. Lovely. Sounds yummy, right? Yeah – no wonder this dish is the bane of holiday potlucks everywhere!  So, why am I posting about this dish? Because have you ever tried it made from scratch? Forget about that condensed mushroom stuff! Forget about those greasy stringy onions you pop out of a can!  Made from scratch, this dish is an amazingly delicious side dish at any holiday gathering!  I promise you it is worth the extra effort!  Someone passed along this recipe and they got it from the amazing blog, Smitten Kitchen.  The recipe is pretty perfect the way she wrote it.  I’m not stupid enough to try and change too much, but we did just tweak it slightly for our tastes (read: extra garlic).

Every year we try to do something special with our friends for the holidays.  We’ve had Ugly Christmas Sweater parties with tons of friends, dinners for smaller groups, and a brunch.  This year, with two babies in the group (ours and another cute lil girl), we decided we’d keep the shindig a little smaller and do a Friendmas Dinner with some of our closest friends.  In addition to TJ’s yummy homemade apple pie and a so-tender-it-fell-off-the-bone brisket, we made the Green Bean casserole.  All that, plus some delectable dishes our friends brought, we had a great time chowing down while spending time with some of our most beloved people.  OK – enough with all that emotional lovey dovey stuff. Onto the recipe. I know you’re over hearing me gush about the amazing people in our lives!  Fine, fine! Have it your way. Here’s the recipe.

What You’ll Need:

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved

(Crispy Onions)

2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (We used our mandolin to get the onions super duper thin)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Canola, safflower, or peanut oil for frying

(Mushroom Sauce)

5 tablespoons butter

18 ounces of mushrooms, chopped

Large pinch of nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

6 garlic cloves, minced

4.5 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 1/4 cups chicken broth (I prefer chicken broth, but you could use vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian dish)

3/4 cup heavy cream

What You’ll Do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the crispy onions: Toss the onions in the flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.  We filled our cast iron skillet with about 1/2 inch of canola oil.  Heat the oil up.  Add the onions a handful at a time and fry until lightly golden brown (don’t over-fry them – don’t forget they’re going into the oven afterwards!).  Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and let the oil drip off a bit and then spread out the onions on a paper towel to drain.  Repeat with the remaining onions and set aside when done.

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Prep the green beans:  In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and boil the green beans for about 5 minutes.  Drain the beans and then plunge them into an ice bath so that they don’t continue to cook (again – they’ll continue to cook in the oven later so don’t overcook them now!). Drain the green beans again and set aside.  to full stop them from cooking. Drain again, and set aside.

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To make the creamy mushroom sauce:   Over medium-high heat, melt butter in the bottom of your cast iron skillet. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and saute them for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute one minute more. Add the flour and stir it until it fully coats the mushrooms. Add the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring the whole time. Simmer mixture for 1 minute, then add cream and bring back to a simmer, cooking until the sauce thickens a bit, about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently.

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Coat the green beans in the creamy mushroom sauce.  We did this directly in our cast iron skillet.  Once the green beans are coated thoroughly, sprinkle the onions on top.

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Pop the cast iron skillet in the oven and bake the dish for about 15 minutes (the sauce will be bubbling and the onions will have gotten darker).  Serve and eat when it’s warm!

TJ and I actually assembled the green beans and creamy mushrooms the day before.  The day of our Friendmas dinner, we then brought out our green beans and mushroom sauce and then topped it with the crispy onions and then popped it into the oven.

Yes – I know there are sort of a lot of steps. And I know that it is so tempting to pop open that cream of mushroom soup you have in your cupboard instead of making your own. But I can guarantee you this. Making it from scratch is the perfect way to show your friends and family how much you care and making it from scratch guarantees you a dish that Tastes Oh-So-Good!

~ M ~