~ You’ll absolutely love this delicious, family-favorite meatloaf recipe! Fast-baking mini meatloaves are served over Asian noodles and vegetables for a meal-in-one that’s perfect for busy weeknights (especially since we have plenty of easy, make-ahead tips!). ~
This Recipe: • Includes Make-Ahead Steps •
This recipe is one of my very favorite THK healification projects to date!
Welllll … along with the Blueberry-White Chocolate Muffins! (Holy cow – have you tried those yet?!? So crazy-good that you’ll NEVER believe they were healthified! Seriously!)
But back to this insanely yummy meatloaf … it’s the perfect comfort food with a twist! Absolutely, satisfyingly delicious, with a huge punch of flavor that knocks the socks off standard meatloaf recipes! (Not that I don’t still love a traditional meatloaf … this is just a uniquely yummy twist!)
And it’s sooooo much healthier than where it started out …
When my twins were in preschool, a new business opened in my town, called Clever Chef Works. Such a great concept! It offered an ever-changing menu of freshly made, grab-n-go, just-heat-and-eat dinners for busy families (ahem … ya know … like all of us!).
With a passion for food and a teeny-tiny itch to step just a little bit out of my stay-at-home-mommy status and have conversations with people over 36-inches tall, I snagged a (very) part-time job there.
And I loved that job! All day long I thought about food, talked about food, and wrote about food … three top requirements on the list of “Shelley’s Dream Job!”
With my background as a Communications Director, I worked mostly “front of house,” helping customers and designing PR materials. And (the best part!), I helped the chef come up with recipe ideas, write the recipes so they were easy to follow, and draft mouthwatering menu descriptions. (Hmmmmm … does it sound like I was unknowingly honing my skills for food blogging!?!??)
We had a LOT of great food at Clever Chef, but one of my personal favorites was an Asian Meatloaf. It was sooo good, but was honestly lacking a tad in the “healthy” department.
I was so excited to reinvent this favorite recipe … in THK form! (Spoiler alert! It’s every bit as good, and so much more jam-crammed with nutrition!)
The transformation was actually pretty easy. I remember that Clever Chef’s version was a mammoth 2 pounds of beef for a 4-serving meal (not kidding – 2 pounds! Woah!), served alongside a little (white) pasta.
I knew just what I needed to do! I swapped in a much more reasonably-sized portion of extra-lean beef, along with more nutritious pasta, and added loads of delicious Asian-style veggies. I love it even more this way – especially with so many great flavors and textures from all those pretty veggies!
And my kids blissfully chow it, too! One of those family faves that gets little cheers when the evening’s menu is announced! 😀
With protein, whole grains, and tons of vegetables, this is a slam-dunk meal-in-one! You don’t even need to make a side dish! (Perfect for busy families!)
Oh! And, in the final stroke of THK makeover genius … I cut the cook time dramatically! Clever Chef’s 2-pound brick of meatloaf needed nearly 1½ hours of bake time. Simple trick for meatloaf that cooks uber-fast? A muffin pan! These meatloaf “muffins” bake in a fraction of the time that a whole meatloaf takes!
And don’t be worried about the ingredient list – it might look a little longer than a lot of THK recipes, but several of the ingredients are used in multiple places, it’s all super simple, and the whole thing can be entirely prepped the night before or early in the morning.
At mealtime, this dinner comes together in a snap!
And your tastebuds will thank you, I promise!
Love All-in-One Meals that Don’t Even Need a Side Dish? Gotta Try:
- Easy Mexican Ravioli Lasagna (Just 5 Ingredients and No Thawing or Boiling!)
- Lightning-Fast Cheesy Three-Pepper Ravioli with Italian Sausage
- Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake (No Pre-Cooking!)
- Un-Stuffed Pepper Skillet
- Parmesan Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons minced sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
- 1/2 teaspoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound extra-lean ground beef
- 1/3 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs, see note)
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons all-natural or organic ketchup
- 8 ounces whole wheat capellini (angel hair) pasta or soba noodles
- 3/4 - 1 pound of asparagus, with tough ends removed, cut into about 1 - 2-inch pieces (to equal about 2 cups)
- 2 cups matchstick carrots
- 1 medium red pepper, julienned and cut into about 1 - 2-inch pieces (to equal about 1 cup)
- 2/3 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons all-natural or organic ketchup
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce (or similar hot sauce)
- Additional Sriracha for serving, if desired.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, beat egg lightly with a fork.
- Add milk, onion, 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper, and stir thoroughly to combine.
- Break up beef, sprinkling it over top of egg mixture, and then gently mix it in until just combined. Add panko and lightly mix again, being careful not to over-mix, as this can cause your meatloaves to become overworked and tough.
- Divide the meat mixture evenly among 12 muffin cups that have been sprayed with non-stick spray, pressing lightly to shape. (See note.)
- In a small bowl, combine Glaze ingredients of 2 tablespoons hoisin and 2 tablespoons ketchup, and spread evenly across the meatloaves (about ¾ teaspoon of Glaze per meatloaf).
- Bake meatloaves for about 18-20 minutes, or until the meatloaves are cooked through but not overcooked and dry.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, adding asparagus, carrots, and red pepper to pasta pot during last two minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and vegetable mixture and transfer to a large serving bowl.
- Combine chicken broth with remaining ¼ cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, and Sriracha, and pour over pasta mixture, stirring to combine.
- Serve meatloaves on top of pasta or alongside, passing additional Sriracha if desired.
Panko: If you can't find whole wheat panko, you can substitute regular panko or even traditional, whole wheat bread crumbs (although panko has a much crispier, airier texture that we really like here, and we definitely recommend a whole wheat bread crumb if you can find it). In addition, if you happen to have some leftover cooked quinoa on hand, you can easily substitute that for the panko, as well.
Shaping Meatloaves: These look wonderful if you gently shape each individual meatloaf into a patty before placing them into the muffin cups. If you're in a hurry, you can also just press the meatloaves directly into the muffin pan (being careful not to compact them too tightly so they're not tough once cooked).
Make-Ahead: You can assemble the meatloaves and spread them with glaze the night before or earlier in the day. Just cover with plastic wrap (to be removed before baking) and refrigerate. You can also prepare the pasta sauce ahead of time, then cover and refrigerate, and also prep your veggies, refrigerating them separately.
Easy Tip: Notice that the soy sauce, hoisin and ketchup are used in multiple components of this recipe. To make this recipe even easier, start with three bowls (one for each component of the meal). As you open ingredients such as the soy sauce, hoisin, and ketchup, you can measure the specified amount of each into the appropriate bowl, and then be done with that ingredient altogether (rather than having to get an ingredient back out again later).