I know what you’re thinking … meatloaf cupcakes? Have I finally taken it too far?! Granted, frosted meat cupcakes may not sound like a treat, but this recipe takes plain ol’ meat and potatoes and makes themfun and appealing for kids.
If you have a picky eater (more on that topic here), you know you need every trick in the book. This is one cupcake I am OK with my kids eating … and so are they!
Cupcakes Made of … Meat?
This Paleo Parent recipe inspired my take on these meatloaf cupcakes. It is such a cute idea and the kids love the small size of these mini-meatloaves. Their recipe sneaks in some extra veggies right in the meatloaf mix (love that of course) and tops it with a tomato sauce.
My kids love sweet potatoes (as you might be able to tell from my many sweet potato recipes!) so I decided to mix it up and create a sweet potato “frosting.” The combination was an instant hit.
These mini-meatloaf cupcakes cook much faster than regular meatloaf which can take up to an hour or more. They also are easier for quick freezing or defrosting, packing for lunches, or taking on-the-go.
Finely dice the onion or puree in a blender or food processor.
In a large bowl, combine the pureed onion, ground beef, eggs, almond flour, basil, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper and mix by hand until incorporated.
Grease a muffin tin with coconut oil or butter and evenly divide the mixture into the muffin tins to make 2-3 meat “muffins” per person. If you don’t have a muffin tin, you can just press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×13 baking dish.
Put into oven on middle rack, and put a baking sheet with a rim under it in case the oil from the meat happens to spill over (should only happen with fattier meats if at all). Bake for 30-35 minutes or until not at all pink in the center. (Add 10 more minutes if making the 9×13 pan.)
For sweet potatoes: If they are small enough, you can put them into the oven at the same time, if not you can peel, cube, and boil them until soft.
When meat is almost done, make sure sweet potatoes are cooked by whichever method you prefer, and drain the water if you boiled them.
Put the sweet potatoes in a large bowl and add oil or butter. Mix by hand or whip with an an immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove meat “cakes” from the oven when they are cooked through and remove from tin. Top each with a dollop of the mashed sweet potatoes to make it look like a cupcake! Sprinkle with chopped chives or other fresh herbs for the sprinkles!
Wellness “Candy” Bars– My homemade (less expensive) version of a Lara bar. My kids think they’re candy! Nuts provide protein and healthy fat, and dates make them sweet and delicious but packed with fiber and nutrients.
Grain-Free Chicken Fingers – The perennial kid favorite made grain and gluten free (and they actually taste like real food unlike traditional chicken nuggets!).
“Meatza” Pizza – You can have meat on top of a pizza … why not underneath? Another real food re-creation that is surprisingly satisfying and delicious.
Pizza Stir-fry – Another way to capture all the flavors of pizza with a lot of (not so sneaky) veggies as a base.
Paleo “Bread” – We usually opt for lettuce wraps at lunchtime, but if your kids are really missing sandwiches, try this paleo bread. My friend Heather of Mommypotamus loves this recipe from Carol Lovett, author of the Ditch the Wheat cookbook.