Mini cheese ’n’ cracker meatloaves: 60 cents each

As occasionally happens when you buy meat in bulk, you end up with odd bits and pieces in the freezer that are too small to use but too large to throw away—half a pork rib, perhaps, or just a few ounces’ worth of roast. Thankfully, this is what meatloaf is for. (Or originally was for, anyway; it seems most people these days go out of their way to purchase ingredients for it, rather than use it as a vehicle for scraps and leftovers.) To stretch those last few dollars even further, I like to divide the meatloaf mixture among the muffin cups in a muffin tin; that way portion control is easy (two or three with a garden salad is a perfect meal), and the rest become easy, freezable grab-and-go lunches to eat whole or slice up for a sandwich.

The amounts below make 12 muffin-sized meatloaves. You can substitute any cheese or crackers or even bread crumbs; the cheddar combo below just happens to be my favorite. You’re also welcome to add a glaze to the top of each one; I didn’t because I knew they’d be wrapped up eventually, and the glaze would just stick to the wrap.

• 1 1/2 lbs. raw ground meat of your choice (I used half a pork rib, a very small sirloin steak, and part of a roast that was too small to really do anything with): $4.50
• 3/4 cup grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese: 63 cents
• 1/2 cup crushed Cheez-It crackers (or Ritz, or bread crumbs): 99 cents
• 1 package dry onion soup mix (it mortifies me to no end to have to buy this; I’ve tried to leave it out, but it’s just never the same): 97 cents
• 1/4 cup ketchup: 6 cents
• 2 eggs, beaten (garden): $0
• 2 T steak sauce (if you have it; if you don’t, substitute worcestershire sauce): 10 cents
TOTAL: $7.25/12 = 60 cents each

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Grind the meat, if it’s not already ground. (You can try this in a food processor, but it might be a little iffy for a tougher meat like a roast.)

Combine the ketchup, beaten eggs, onion soup mix, and steak sauce in a bowl.

Gently mix the crackers and cheese into the meat.

Pour the ketchup/egg mixture over and stir to gently combine.

Divide among muffin cups in a muffin tin.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cooked through.

Again, these make phenomenal meatloaf sandwiches, but are just as great unwrapped and eaten on the go.

8 responses to “Mini cheese ’n’ cracker meatloaves: 60 cents each

  1. Very cool recipe! I would never think to do this!

  2. I’m mortified by the dried onion soup, too! How about substituting with braised onions?

    • Sadly, it’s really not the same. I’ve tried. Maybe if you added in a ton of salt, MSG, onion powder, sugar, etc., but at that point you’re halfway there. Really, if we’re being honest, once the Cheez-its go in, the battle has already been lost. You can’t win ’em all, and I have long ago accepted this.

      • I was gonna use the bread crumbs… 😉

      • Well, then why not try the braised onions and see what you think?

      • I might do that when I have surplus scraps of meat… Still like the idea 🙂
        P.S. I often have this ‘problem’ that I don’t have many leftovers since I plan the amount of food I prepare and therefore never make stuff like deep-fried risotto. Perhaps I should plan to have leftovers 😉

      • We don’t have leftovers in that sense either; I freeze everything we don’t eat for lunch. This was just a case of having a surplus of accumulated odds and ends.

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