Meatloaf Cupcakes

I recently found the ultimate meatloaf recipe (at least to our family).  Certain people in the family love it so much that, just today, it was requested for dinner today over pizza.  Pizza!  Yes, it’s that good.

But I have no patience to wait for meatloaf to be ready for slicing and serving when it comes out of the oven.  I always end up with a mess because of that impatience.  So when I saw the idea of making meatloaf in a muffin tin (thanks again, Pinterest!), I knew this was the answer.
Kids seem to love the idea of a dinner cupcake;  and because it’s a healthier version of a traditional meatloaf and because it is preportioned, it’s a win-win!

Paired with mashed potato “frosting” this dinner cupcake is sure to please.  And if you do half potatoes, half cauliflower for your mashed potatoes (like I do) you can even sneak in some extra veggies!
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. sage
1 slice bread, diced very small (I always use sourdough)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound ground beef
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. Agave nectar*
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2.  In saute pan, cook onion and celery in olive oil over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the veggies are soft.  Set aside to cool some.
3.  In large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, salt, pepper, and sage.  Add the bread and gently stir together until all the bread has been moistened.  Stir in the cheese and the onion mixture.  Crumble in the ground beef and combine with your hands until well mixed (DO NOT SQUEEZE to mix it together).  Divide equally into the muffin tin compartments and lightly pack down.
4.  In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.  Spoon over the “cupcakes”.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into one of the cupcakes.  Allow to rest about 5 minutes before serving.
5.  Serve plain or top with your favorite mashed potatoes.
*Agave nectar is a natural sweetener made from the agave plant.  I use it for health reasons because of its lower glycemic qualities.  You can usually find it with the sugar substitutes in the grocery store.  For more information on agave nectar, visit this helpful site.
Source:  cupcake idea from Pinterest, recipe slightly adapted from Eating Well, Living Thin

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