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.