Thursday , 22 February 2018

Cheesy Southwestern Meatloaf Muffins

My friend jokingly told me that I like “old people food”.

I’ll admit it, I like meatloaves and casseroles and cabbage rolls (just to name a few).  There’s a reason these types of dishes have been around forever, it’s because they’re delicious!

But really, it’s just a matter of how a person defines comfort food.   And unfortunately sometimes our traditional comfort dishes don’t tend to be the healthiest.  Ahhh glorious butter, how I love you but have to use you sparingly because you know, I work a desk job now and prefer to fit in my pants!

Back to the point though, most if not all of these dishes can be lightened up and still enjoyed, if not more so than the old versions.  Although if you’re fav comfort food is like pork rinds or something (guilty!) you’re basically SOL, instead aim to indulge moderately and sparingly.  Side note, I found these Filipino pork rinds, they’re flavored with salt, vinegar and garlic, and they’re delicious.  And I avoid the store aisle where they’re at because I’m only human (thankfully there’s only one store around me that sells them or I have to order them from New Jersey…don’t ask why I know that).

Seriously though, it’s all about the balance.  And that’s why I love making meatloaves in muffin cups.  Perfect portioning built right in, and if you’re using a lean meat as your base it helps to keep it from drying out (otherwise, I’m all for the free form loaf).

In fact, I’ve featured a version of meatloaf muffins I affectionately call my Asian Blue Plate Special on the blog before (Asian turkey meatloaf muffins, sesame mashed potatoes and stir-fried green beans).

These got a decidedly Southwestern take, with onions, peppers, cilantro and salsa and as a fun bonus were studded with cheese.  I kept the sides simple and just did a bit of chipotle mashed sweet potatoes and veggies.

Cheesy Southwestern Meatloaf Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

Serving Size: 2 meatloaf muffins

Calories per serving: 304

Fat per serving: 10.4

Cheesy Southwestern Meatloaf Muffins


  • 1.5 lb 95/5 ground beef
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 oz reduced fat cheese, cut into small ¼ inch dice (I used pepperjack, but you could use cheddar, monteray jack, Colby, queso fresco, etc.)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup baked tortilla chips, crushed
  • ¼ cup salsa (I just went with a regular medium salsa, use your fav, a corn salsa might be fun)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce, optional
  • ½ Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp each ground cumin, Mexican oregano and kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup ketchup or American style chili sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium/large bowl, place meat, lightly beaten egg and diced cheese. Set aside.
  3. Optional: If you like you can sauté the onion, pepper and garlic for a bit until slightly softened if you’re anti-uncooked veggies in meatloaves. Allow to cool slightly and then continue with recipe.
  4. In a food processor combine onion through black pepper. Pulse until ingredients are mixed and vegetables are well minced. Scrape mixture over beef and gently combine until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Spray a regular sized muffin tin with nonstick spray. Divide mixture evenly among 12 tins. Brush ketchup or American style chili sauce over each muffin. Bake for 25 minutes until thermometer measures 160 F. Let stand for 5 minutes in tin then serve.


Chipotle Mashed Potatoes: Steam, boil or bake 1 lb peeled, diced sweet potatoes. Mash together with 1 Tbsp melted butter, 1 chipotle chile, minced (from can) + 1 tsp adobo sauce, 3 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt or light sour cream, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 Tbsp lime juice, salt to taste + a dash of cinnamon.

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  1. This is a good idea, mini meatloaf.
    Raymund recently posted..Beef Ribs ChurrascariaMy Profile

  2. Meatloaf isn’t old people food if you make it right! And I love the idea of mini ones–makes them easy to freeze and eat later 🙂 oh dear, is that an “old people” thing too? Freezing?
    Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) recently posted..Stuffed MushroomsMy Profile

  3. Yeah, lots of butter and too much sitting isn’t a good combination! Alas. We try to lighten up when we can too, although I sometimes wonder if it’s better to indulge in full fat etc etc and eat less. Of course eating less isn’t easy – thus we lighten up. Anyway, tasty meat loaf! I like the diminutive portion sizes – something about eating the entire loaf makes one think one’s actually eating more. 😉 Good recipe, fun post – thanks.
    john@kitchenriffs recently posted..The Algonquin CocktailMy Profile

  4. You are so right – it’s all about balance. I’m a big fan of making portion control easy, and your spicy mini meatloaves look like the perfect way to please everyone. Who doesn’t love a spicy meatloaf!
    Kristi Rimkus recently posted..Easy Roasted Garlic and Eggplant PizzaMy Profile

  5. oh my gosh, I love these! so cute! so spicy! so cheesy! so delicious 🙂
    Jenn and Seth recently posted..Sesame and Chocolate Puppy ChowMy Profile

  6. I love the meatloaf minis idea. My husband and I have been trying to control our portions too and this is a good idea… at least we have lesser chance to “cheat” hahah!

    yep im with you, portion control or balance is the key!

    Happy Easter!
    Malou | Skip to Malou recently posted..Spring Fling | Lumpiang Hubad (No Wrap Spring Rolls)My Profile

  7. Sounds delicious! We love the version of mini meatloaves that my mother used to make called Danish Frikadellars but this sounds like a really tasty spin on meatloaf!
    Susan recently posted..Happy Easter, Peeps!My Profile

    • Just googled Danish Frikadellars – those sound awesome! I’ve never heard of them before but thanks for the tip – definitely going to give those a shot soon.

  8. Old people’s food – now that’s funny! I do have to admit that I didn’t like my mama’s meatloaf so I’ve never spent much time trying to learn how to make one. The last one I made was at least 25 years ago! However, you have just inspired me to give it another try. I love the spices, the salsa and the tortillas chips that you put in with the meat. This recipe looks awesome! Thanks!
    mjskit recently posted..Braised Red Chile Chicken and VegetablesMy Profile

  9. I love the idea of mini meatloaves and I love the southwestern flavors in there. So delicious! Oh, and who can resist cabbage rolls? I definitely can’t 🙂

  10. Wow – the pics look so delicious. I totally agree with you rhat sometimes classic is best. There’s always some sound reason on why it’s been popular for so long.
    David Tucker recently posted..How to Ask for Paper Extension: Procrastinators AnonymousMy Profile

  11. This meatloaf mini version is perfect for my kids’ lunch box!!! 😀 Looks delicious~~!
    Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Honey Soy Sauce Chicken はちみつ醤油チキンMy Profile

  12. i just love that they are mini sized, i think it makes eating them more fun 🙂 and i love all the flavors in here – i never would have thought to put in salsa! YUM!
    Jenn and Seth recently posted..Broccoli Quesadillas – “Our Usual” and the “Fancypants”My Profile

  13. Old people food is the best FJ! LOVE your cheesy southwestern meatloaf as much as those pork rinds 🙂

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  14. Oh dear fj.. you never fail to make me drool! This meatloaf is so amazing… I’ve never actually made meatloaf in my life! Thanks for the delicious inspiration!!

  15. nuthin wrong with old people food! wisdom of the ages, right? 😉
    kale recently posted..iced leftover morning coffee-from-the-pot chocolate shakeMy Profile

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