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Meatloaf Cupcakes with Whipped Potato Topping

Everything tastes better in miniature form! And meatloaf is no exception. These cute little meatloaf cupcakes are irresistible to kids – big and small. And they bake in 20 minutes compared to about 1 hour for traditional meat loafs. I piped the mashed potato on for the photo but ordinarily I just pile it on then fluff it up with a fork – much faster!
I really love meatloaf. But I find that to make a really good one, you need to make it big so you need to use at least 750g – 1kg /1.5 – 2 lb of mince. That is ALOT of meat! It is way too much for a family for one meal (unless you have an extraordinarily large one!). And to be honest, I am not the hugest fan of reheated slices of meatloaf. I don’t know why, but to me, meatloaf is one of those things that is sensational eaten fresh, then OK-ish the next day. Am I just fussy?

So one of the reasons I started making meatloaf in muffin tins is because they are great individual size portions. Because each “cupcake” is browned on the outside, I find that they reheat much better than slices of a large meatloaf.

The other reason I like making cupcake size meat loafs is because they cook much faster. A large meatloaf typically takes close to 1 hour to bake, whereas these little ones take around 20 – 25 minutes.

The added bonus is that kids find these irresistible! OK, so I admit it, part of the reason these look so cute is because I went to the effort of piping the mashed potato on. And no, I would not do that ordinarily! Usually I just pile the mashed potato on, then fluff it up with a fork.

You can bake these after putting the mashed potato on if you want. The mashed potato will brown nicely, like in these Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins. However, I am partial to the mashed potato being soft and fluffy for this particular recipe, without a crunchy skin.

The other tip is to increase the hidden vegetables. I only added grated carrots (and onion which is part of the base recipe), but you can add whatever shredded or grated vegetables you want. Shredded cabbage and spinach suits this well, as does grated zucchini. The mince mixture is quite wet and sticky so it will be able to absorb a decent amount of extra vegetables and still hold together – 2 to 3 cups. If it does start to crumble, just add a squidge of extra tomato sauce and/or an egg to bind it.

These freeze really well. Once they have cooled, the mashed potato forms a thin skin so you can wrap them in cling wrap and it won’t stick to the potato. They also last well in the fridge for up to 2 days (probably 3, but I like to be cautious).

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Ingredients:

1 pound (500g) ground beef
1 finely chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 grated carrot
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups prepared mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat and Prepare:

Heat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly oil a standard muffin tin to prevent sticking.

Mix the Meatloaf:

In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, chopped onion, minced garlic, grated carrot, breadcrumbs, and egg. Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything together until well blended.

Fill the Muffin Tin:

Evenly distribute the meatloaf mixture into the muffin cups, pressing gently to make sure each is compact.

Bake the Meatloaf:

Place the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the meatloaves are firm and cooked through.

Add the Potato Topping:

If you haven’t prepared your mashed potatoes yet, do so while the meatloaf bakes. Spoon a generous layer of mashed potatoes on top of each baked meatloaf cupcake.

Add Cheese and Bake:

Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over the mashed potatoes. Return the muffin tin to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or just until the cheese melts and becomes bubbly.

Garnish and Serve:

Once done, remove the tin from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool slightly for easy handling. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley before serving to add a touch of freshness and color.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

These Meatloaf Cupcakes with Whipped Potato Topping are not just a meal; they’re a conversation starter, ideal for any occasion that calls for a hearty, memorable dish. Enjoy the delightful taste and charming presentation of this innovative take on traditional meatloaf and mashed potatoes!

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