Marginally Mexican Meatloaf
Meatloaf. The word brings up visions of drab, grey, undisciplined mounds of ground beef. Sometimes smothered in ketchup (how gauche!) or worse, “brown” gravy. But if I’m being honest, I’m a fan of a well thought-out meatloaf. And the really brilliant thing about the unassuming meatloaf is that you can modify recipes to include a nearly endless array of flavors. For this particular recipe, you’re going to incorporate some simple seasonings and ingredients to produce a distinctly Mexican vibe. We’re aware that this is nowhere near authentic. It’s a soulless rip-off of Americanized Mexican flavors. But we’re not competing on the Iron Chef, we’re making dinner that your family might really love. So saddle-up for Marginally Mexican Meatloaf!
- A standard meatloaf calls for bread crumbs, crackers, or other absorbent starch component. For this recipe, you’ll be using six corn tortillas (which boils down to one per mini meat loaf).
- While a super lean ground beef is a nice thought, I prefer an 80% or 85% lean ground sirloin. A majority of the fat cooks out of the meatloaf, and will simply stay in the pan when you pull out the mini-loaf. Plus, fat = flavor.
- Using 6 mini-loaf pans, you’ll fill each to the same depth. You can certainly pull out the kitchen scale and do it that way, or you can just eyeball it. Not only does this provide everyone with a single serving, it allows the cooking time to be much shorter than filling the mini-loaf pans (or using a much larger pan). I recommend the Wilton Recipe Right 3 Piece Mini Loaf Pan Set. They are just the right size and they clean up easily.
- A key ingredient in this meatloaf is cheese. And while you can use shredded cheese (the larger the shred size, the better), I prefer to cut the cheese (ha ha, very funny) into small cubes. If the cubes are the size of blueberries, that works perfectly. The reason is that smaller bits of cheese will literally melt completely into the meatloaf, but the larger bits will stay mostly intact. If you need me to tell you why tiny pockets of gooey cheese within a savory meatloaf is a good thing, then just do it and you’ll know why. I actually prefer cheddar cheese for this meatloaf – but if another cheese is of interest to you, feel free to mix it up!
- We used medium salsa for this recipe and the cost estimate includes the extra 6 tablespoons for the topping. Use whichever salsa you prefer.
- This recipe is gluten free (as long as you check the ingredients of your taco seasoning). McCormick makes a gluten-free version. One quarter cup is usually the equivalent of one packet. Basically, use half the amount you would use in tacos (1/2 packet per pound of ground meat).
- The cost calculations are based on the prices paid at the time this recipe was made in April 2015. As beef prices fluctuate, and your grocery store offers sales, you’ll find that saving money is as easy as planning ahead (and using your freezer to stock up on bargains).
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Ready In: 55 minutes
- Servings: 6
- Cost: Roughly $17.47 or $2.91 per serving ($6.19 per pound ground sirloin)
- 6 six-inch soft corn tortillas
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 lbs ground sirloin
- 1 cup chunky salsa
- 4 oz cubed or shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup taco seasoning
- 1/4 cup water
- 6 T chunky salsa (optional topping)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Run the corn tortillas through a food processor – or tear/cut into small pieces by hand. Combine and mix all ingredients together by hand until very well distributed.
Evenly distribute meat mixture into six (6) miniature loaf pans (5 ¾ inch by 3 inch). Each pan should be about ½ full. For ease of placement in and removal from the oven, I recommend placing your mini loaf pans on a large baking sheet.
If you like, you can top each meatloaf with a tablespoon of salsa. But remember, your spoon shouldn’t touch raw hamburger and go back in the salsa jar for another spoonful. Pour from the jar, use a bowl, etc… Food safety is sexy.
Bake (uncovered) for 25 minutes.
Remove each individual meatloaf from its pan and serve however you see fit. I mean, who am I to tell you how to eat a marginally Mexican meatloaf? (You could slice it up and wrap it in the remaining corn tortillas, make a torta (sandwich), or just eat it with a fork.)