This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of McCain Foods, Inc. The opinions are entirely my own.
The kids are full of sugar and excitement, the piles of unwrapped gifts are mounting, and your energy is waning. At this very joyful (but also very busy) time of year, we spend so much time celebrating, planning, and hustling that we rarely have a moment to sit down and just enjoy the holidays. The comfort of a quiet meatloaf dinner at home, the relaxed smiles of your family around the table, and the satisfaction that comes from a filling and nourishing meal will calm the chaos and fill you with the true pleasures of the season!
If there’s ever a time for comfort food, then this is it! The cold and dark winter evenings call for cozy dinners that bring everyone together around the table. And during this period when you’re pulled in so many different directions and you’re indulging in so many decadent treats, a lighter, healthier supper is like a “reset” button for your body. My Lightened-Up Mini Meatloaf is a high-protein, low-fat, and low-calorie way to fuel your body through the fun and carry you right into a successful New Year!
No matter how much you crave a home-cooked dinner, let’s be realistic and acknowledge the fact that crazy-busy schedules don’t allow for much time in the kitchen. By keeping the meatloaf portions small and baking them in a muffin tin, the meat cooks in just 20 minutes. Plus, the smaller size is incredibly kid-friendly! Let your toddlers pick them up with their hands, or stuff them into hoagie rolls with cheese and sauce for your husband. It’s an easy, versatile dinner that appeals to everyone at the table and will not place additional stress on your already-too-full schedules!
Since a meatloaf dinner just wouldn’t be complete without potatoes, I opt for McCain Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries — the shape and taste that my kids prefer!
I appreciate that the sweet potato fries are naturally good, are made with real sweet potatoes, and do not contain any artificial colors or flavors. Plus, they’re easy to pick up at my local Weis or Food Lion grocery store, stash them in the freezer, and pop them in the oven when I need a quick side dish.
With some steamed broccoli and my 20-minute mini meatloaf, the crinkle fries and waffle fries complete this comforting dinner and add a fun component to the wholesome plate. It’s a supper that will work wonders towards calming the chaos of the season, counteracting the holiday treats, and fueling your body for even more family fun!
What’s your favorite easy dinner option for these hectic holiday evenings? I’d love some new ideas for my own family, too!
Lightened-Up Mini Meatloaf
Yield 6 (2 mini meatloaves per serving)
- 1 lb. extra lean ground beef (I used 96 % lean)
- 1 small zucchini, finely grated (about ¾ cup grated)
- ½ cup finely chopped onion (I used frozen chopped onion for a short cut)
- 1 egg
- ½ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs (you can substitute with regular panko breadcrumbs if you can’t find whole wheat)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 6 tablespoons ketchup, divided
- For Serving: McCain's Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries; Steamed Broccoli
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place meat in a large bowl. Add zucchini, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the ketchup. Use your hands to gently combine. You don’t want to over-mix because the meat will become dry and tough.
- Press the ingredients into the prepared muffin cups. I like to use an ice cream scoop to portion the meat into each cup. Top each mini meatloaf with a dollop of the remaining ketchup.
- Place the muffin pan on a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch any drips).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until meatloaves are cooked through and a thermometer registers 160 degrees F.
Nutrition Information for 2 Mini Meatloaves per Serving: