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Meatloaves should not be plain. The meatloaf above is a cheeseburger meatloaf. The meatloaf below is a taco meatloaf made with taco seasoning, olives, sour cream, and cilantro.

meatloaf 2

How to Make Creative Meatloaves

Morph your favorite foods into a meatloaf. Checkout burger recipes for ideas, any ground beef recipes. Try different pans. The one to the right was made in a muffin pan, above in a square cupcake pan.

How to Make Healthier, Lower Fat Meatloaves

For years we tipped our meatloaves up while they were still hot and poured the fat out of the pan.  Then we started doing that twice–once 15 minutes before they were done and again when we take them from the oven for the final time.

Finally, we discovered lean meatloaf pans.

These are pans within a pan with perforated inner pans so the fat drains as they cook. Love these pans! It’s amazing how much more fat drains out of the meat.

Save 40%! Lean Meatloaf Pan–Muffin Type

Save 19%! Lean Meatloaf Pan–Loaf Type

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How to “Smoke ‘em”: Burgers, Steaks—and Meatloaf.

A while back, we discovered smoked sea salt. Yes, they do smoke salt. It really packs a punch. Just a pinch on your burger and you have smoked burger. Substitute part of the salt in your meatloaf recipe or casserole for smoked salt. You’ll be amazed at the difference. These sea salts are sold in a bulk bag which makes them a bargain.

Give it a try. Choose one of these ½-cup bulk sizes for only $2.00. Limit 1 (expires June 14, 2016)

How to Make Cheeseburger Mini Meatloaves

These cheeseburger mini-meatloaves are worth standing in line for!  (Order a side of fries to go with it.)

If your kids like going to burger places with playgrounds, they’ll have fun with these mini meatloaves.  They’re fun to make, fun to serve, and really very good.  They’re made with ketchup and mustard and a layer of cheese.

Ingredients

1/4 cup ketchup
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs or other type of bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 – 3 teaspoons dill pickle relish
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup ketchup
tomato slices (optional)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. In a bowl, combine the first 1/4 cup ketchup, eggs, bread crumbs, onion and ground beef.  Mix ingredients well.
  2. Using the mini meatloaf pan with drain holes, fill six cups 1/2 full with mixture.
  3. To make the “cheeseburger filling”, spoon the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup, the mustard, dill pickle relish and the first 1/4 cup shredded cheese evenly between the six meatloaf patties.
  4. Divide the remaining meat mixture over the “cheeseburger filling”, mounding it above the pan.  Place the meat filled pan into the catch pan to catch the droppings during cooking.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Top with remaining shredded cheese and return it to the oven for five minutes or until it reaches 160 degrees.  Let the meatloaves stand five minutes in the pan before removing them.  Serve with optional tomato slices.

How to Taco Bill’s Mini Taco Meatloaves

Ol’ Bill really did think out-of-the-box on this one! Meatloaf recipes always have a filler, usually rolled oats or bread crumbs. This one has crushed nacho cheese chips. Clever. It really does make them taste like a taco.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 Tablespoons Mexican and Taco seasoning or equal
1/2 cup salsa
2 eggs
1/2 of an 11.5 ounce bag of nacho cheese corn chips
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can olives sliced or chopped
1 sm. can diced green chili peppers
1 sm. chopped onion

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Combine the ground beef, taco seasoning, salsa and eggs.
  2. Crush the corn chips to 1/2-inch pieces. Add the chips, cheese, salt, pepper, olives, chili peppers, and onions to the meat mixture. Mix well.
  3. Using the Lean Mini Meatloaf Pan with drain holes, pack and form about one cup of meat mixture into the cups. Place the meat filled pan over the second pan to catch any grease drippings that may occur as it is cooking. Bake for 35 minutes or until it reaches 160 degrees. Let stand for 5 minutes in pan.

This recipe makes ten nice-sized mini meatloaves.

Like these recipes? Get more meatloaf recipes here.

About the Author

Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He and his wife Merri Ann are the founders of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and he is the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book.

Dennis and Merri Ann live in Rigby, Idaho. They have five wonderful children and six beautiful granddaughters.