Friday, January 8, 2010

Freezer Friday Meatloaf Muffins with BBQ Sauce

Today is the first Friday of a new series I will be doing called "Freezer Friday". I am hoping that it will make every one's life a little easier adding some convenient freezer meals to their family. By the end of the year, we should have about 50. I have a three ring binder with over 300 that I rotate for my family, but it has taken about 7 years of going through recipes to find ones I really adore. So, hopefully it has been for a good cause and you can benefit from it. Let's begin shall we? This recipe is one that my sister Auntie Em first introduced me to. In the world of freezer meals, she is the queen. Really. She has them labeled with computer printed labels and a monthly schedule of meals on her fridge. I adore her dedication. Smoooches Em! Okay so today we're making Meatloaf muffins.

Mmm. Muffins. The first time I ever made these for my mother in law I told Cussing Granny we where having meatloaf muffins for dinner she turned a little green. I had some explaining to do. Don't panic. They are still regular meatloaf, just portion sized in muffin cups. It seems like a gimmick, but for some reason my kids love them this we do it. Yes, for the same reason I call brussel sprouts "monkey brains" and rice-a-roni "maggot pilaf". I have boys. If you have girls, I don't think they would appreciate the name changes. We are serving the muffins with stuffed potato shells. I used the recipe here:freezer meal ideas potatoes with a few modifications.

1 3/4 pounds ground beef or lean turkey sausage
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1 green pepper
1 large egg
1 c plain bread crumbs (whole wheat OR rolled oats)
2 T grill seasoning (I use D-Dog BBQ original rub)
1 c smoky barbecue sauce
1/2 c tomato salsa ( I use great grandma's chile sauce)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Put ground beef into a big bowl. Put onion and green pepper in blender. Pulse the blender to finely chop the vegetables into very small pieces then add them to the meat bowl. Add egg, bread crumbs and grill seasoning to the bowl. Next, mix together the smoky barbecue sauce, the salsa and the Worcestershire sauce. Pour half the sauce mixture into the bowl with the meatloaf mix. Mix the meatloaf together with your hands. Wash up. Brush a 12-muffin tin (1/2 c each) with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop to help you fill meat into each tin. Top each meat loaf with a spoonful of extra sauce.

At this point you can do one of two things. You can bake them now and then put the pre-cooked meatloaf minis in the freezer after being cooled and labeled, or you can freeze the whole pan as is. When they are frozen solid, you can remove them from the pan and freeze the individual minis. I prefer to bake them first, just so I can grab one for lunch for my kids to take to school or as a meal for Mr. Putt Putt and Cussing Granny.

When I put them in the muffin tin, I clear a little whole in the middle of the loaf so the sauce doesn't go all over the place.
Bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes if making them from un-frozen. If you choose to freeze them, bake 400 degrees 40-45 minutes. Individual meat loaves take 2 minutes in the microwave.
Now here's something crazy. We had this for dinner with the stuffed potatoes. Half went in the freezer for later use. I will do a larger meal and freeze half rather than have a ton of left overs in the fridge that go to waste. Believe it or not, even my family gets sick of left overs. It's so sad.

Frozen Taters was a good introduction to my favorite use of potatoes as a freezer meal.
This variation of the stuffed cottage potatoes I still used
12 baking potatoes, scrubbed and baked 1 hour. Cooled and then cut in half. I scooped out the pulp (the picture instructions in the Frozen Taters blog entry is quite helpful)
8 oz tub low fat small curd cottage cheese
5.2 oz Boursin garlic and Fine herbs Gournay cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2T Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning

Combine potato pulp with this cheese blend of glory.
Heap the filling back into shells and place on parchment lined sheet pan. Freeze. When frozen, transfer individual potatoes into gallon size freezer bags.
To use: Bake in oven 400 degrees 15-20 minutes or microwave individual potatoes 2 minutes per servings. One meatloaf muffin frozen and one potato frozen popped on a plate will take 3-4 minutes in the microwave. Now that beats any frozen dinner from the store I have ever had.
There you go.


Heather Hunt said...

Wow... I LOVE this idea. Thanks! I do try to do some things ahead (such as make meat balls or taco meat when hamburger is on sale). This is great. I don't always have a lot of time to cook after getting home from school.

mlebagley said...

You made me smile today! These are delicious, and I LOVE your idea of the bbq pocket. I'm going to try that!

Nathan and Mareesa said...

Thanks Chef Tess! Really looking forward to next Friday's post now :)

Erica Miles said...

I WILL try this one! You ought to drag your "followers" up closer to the top of your blog. They were down so low I didn't see them the first few times I visited.

Jeanette said...

I was wondering if I freeze the uncooked meatloafs, do I need to thaw completely before baking?

Chef Tess said...

You don't have to thaw before baking. Just add 15 minutes to the baking time if it's frozen raw. I personally bake them first because it's just much easier to use them as a single meal if I want them really fast.