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cooking the books 01

I promise that I cook my family more than meatloaf. Really, I do. In the small handful of recipes I’ve shared with you here from library cookbooks, it seems like meatloaf is really over-represented. I solemnly swear that the next recipe I share will not be meatloaf. 

Right now, I am very pregnant. I’m the kind of pregnant where just standing up for more than 5 minutes makes me tired and winded. The kind of pregnant where people passing me in the hallway look at my belly and then give me sympathetic looks. With only a few weeks until my baby is due, you can bet that the meals that I’m cooking for my family are getting few and far between and are starting to consist of things I can mostly prepare sitting down. 

That’s why the concept of a “dump meal” appealed to me; something simple that didn’t require constant tending and simmering and checking on things. Something I could mix, pop in the oven, and then leave alone while I took a short nap on the couch. 

I chose this recipe because I already had most of the things on hand. I would put it in the solidly “okay” category. I probably needed to amp up the seasoning a little bit; I put in 2 lbs of ground beef instead of 1 ½ and though I tried to compensate by adding a little bit more of everything, I still wished for a little more flavor. 

The plus side? These took approximately 5 minutes to mix, 3 minutes to put in the muffin tins, and 15 minutes to bake. They made enough that we’ll be eating leftovers for a few days, which means I don’t have to cook again, and at this point in my pregnancy that’s the kind of mealtime math I like. 

12.21.17 Dump DinnersEasy Pizza-style Mini Meatloaf Cups
from Dump Dinners
by Julia Grady
(2015)

 

 Ingredients: 

1 egg, beaten
½ cup pizza sauce plus extra for topping
¼ cup bread crumbs, Italian-seasoned
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat muffin tins with cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, mix together egg, pizza sauce, bread crumbs, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add ground beef and mix well.
3. Divide mixture evenly into muffin tins. Press down in center of beef mixture to make indent in center. Fill center with shredded cheese.
4. Bake for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Serve topped with additional sauce and cheese. 

Makes 12 servings.

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