Meatloaf regularly finds its way on my weekly meal plan for several reasons: Not only is it delicious and one of my favorite comfort foods, but it’s also easy to make ahead, freezes well (both raw and fully cooked) and is a more economical way to get grass-fed beef into our diet because ground meat is way less expensive than steak, but you already knew that.
The only downside is that it takes a while to a bake an entire two pound loaf of meat. That and my kids don’t think it’s the prettiest meal. So for those two reasons alone I’ve started making these mini-meatloaves using a muffin pan. Aren’t they cute? They’re also great because they’re pre-portioned making them an easy addition to my hubby’s lunchbox as well.
Sweet Potato Topping
Don’t be intimidated by the pretty sweet potato topping swirls in the picture. Keep in mind, we’re food bloggers and piping pureed root vegetables onto small discs of meat is what we do. Feel free to dollop, scoop or spread your topping on if that’s easiest for you. It’s still going to be ridiculously mouth-watering delicious, especially with a little drizzle of your favorite barbecue or hot sauce.
If you do want to get all fancy-schmancy with the topping, just scoop your pureed sweet potatoes into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Or you can use a quart-sized zip-top bag and gently press the mixture to the bottom of the bag and seal it. Then snip off a small bit of one corner of the bag to create a piping bag. Now you can squeeze and swirl your way to fancy BBQ meatloaf muffins with sweet potato topping. Just like the pros do.
An extra drizzle of smoky barbecue sauce and a sprinkle of thyme or chopped parsley elevates these cute little BBQ meatloaf muffins to glorious, savory dinner cupcake status almost instantly. Garnish is always optional, of course.
These are so easy to freeze once baked, cooled and topped. Just return them to the muffin pan and place in the freezer until frozen before transferring to a freezer-safe container with lid or a large zip-top bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat in a covered skillet with a few drops of water until heated through or reheat in a toaster oven or microwave. You’ll just need to add a vegetable side dish or two and dinner will be on the table in no time.
Alternatively, you can bake the meatloaf muffins, cool and freeze them. Then, thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat as directed above and top with freshly made sweet potato topping just before serving if you want to keep them looking fancy.
BBQ Meatloaf Muffins with Sweet Potato Topping
- 1 ½ lb. ground beef
- 2 tsp. cooking oil or ghee (avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil)
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ½ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, ghee or butter
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place ground beef in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften.
- Add garlic, cook 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add onion-garlic mixture to ground beef. Add barbecue sauce, sea salt, pepper and dried thyme. Using your hands or a spoon, mix well to combine.
- Divide meat mixture evenly among 12 wells of a muffin pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink in the center.
- While meatloaves are baking, steam sweet potatoes until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and puree sweet potatoes and coconut oil or butter in a food processor, or mash well with a fork.
- Scoop topping onto meatloaves or fill a plastic zip-top with topping, trim the corner of the bag with a scissors and pipe topping onto meatloaves. Or use a spoon to top.
- Drizzle with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.