Savory meatloaf is flavored with Parmesan, Italian herbs, and marinara sauce, baked in a muffin pan, and then topped with seasoned mashed potatoes in these easy to make, fun to eat Italian Meatloaf "Cupcakes"
For Meatloaf "Cupcakes" -
1 pound extra-lean ground beef 1 egg 2/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs 1 cup marinara or pasta sauce, DIVIDED 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 3/4 teaspoon garlic salt 1 teaspoon dried parsley 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes Freshly ground black pepper _ For Mashed Potato "Frosting" -
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes 1/4 cup milk 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon dried basil 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste Instructions
Arrange rack in center position of oven and preheat to 450°F. Grease a six-cup muffin pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, Italian breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, grated Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. Using a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, evenly divide meat mixture between the six muffin cups, smoothing the tops of the mounds. Carefully spoon the remaining marinara sauce over the individual meatloaves. Place the muffin pan on a foil-lined baking sheet (to prevent spills and aid in clean-up) and bake for 20 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Use a spoon to help lift meatloaves out of the pan (the grease released by ground beef will have accumulated at the bottom of the muffin cups) and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. To make Mashed Potato "Frosting," warm leftover mashed potatoes and milk in a small pot set over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in Parmesan, garlic powder, and dried herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Mound potatoes on top of mini meatloaves after they come out of the oven.
Notes If you have fresh herbs on hand, you may substitute them for the dried. Since fresh herbs are not as potent, the typical conversion is to use 3 times the amount of fresh herbs as compared to dried. You may add 1 cup of finely minced/grated veggies (carrots, onions, celery, bell peppers) to the meat mixture, if you wish. This recipe feeds a small family, but you'll want to double it for a large family. You may use a spoon to spread the mashed potatoes on top of each meatloaf, or you may scoop all of the mashed potatoes into a gallon-sized plastic baggie. Cut off a 1-inch piece from one corner of the bag, push the potatoes into that corner, and use the bag as a "piping bag" to swirl the mashed potatoes on top of each meatloaf.