Mini Italian Meatloaves, ground beef filled with shredded zucchini and mozzarella cheese, topped with your favorite marinara sauce and more cheese, is a simple weeknight dinner.
I know it’s not really the season for these Mini Italian Meatloaves. Actually, I’m not really sure what season it is. It’s been raining on and off for days (almost 2 inches yesterday alone), then the sun would come out and raise the temperature by twenty degrees, then this morning it was fifty degrees. Fifty is too cold for me a week into June! Next week it’s supposed to be in the 90’s, yay! Anyway, this recipe came about thanks to leftover ground beef I bought for my birthday party cookout and a leftover zucchini.
Mini Italian Meatloaves
I know, that’s a horrible picture. It was the best I could do.
Over the last several years I’ve come to realize I’m not really a fan of regular meatloaf. I prefer Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf, but my husband suggested meatloaf to use up the ground beef. One reason I like to do meatloaf as mini meatloaves is that it cooks quicker. Instead of an hour and 10 minutes in the oven, these Mini Italian Meatloaves take only about 35 minutes. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to check that the meat is cooked in the middle. I don’t think anyone really wants rare meatloaf, so cook it to at least 160F.
Since I didn’t really plan on making meatloaf, I ended up making this pretty last minute. My Mini Italian Meatloaves aren’t fancy, I used onion and garlic powder instead of chopping onions and garlic so it came together quickly. I wanted to use up the zucchini so I made it low carb and didn’t add any breadcrumbs. I also made it without egg because the moisture from the zucchini along with the egg would keep the meat from binding. It really is a great weeknight dinner for those days when it’s chilly and you don’t have a lot of time.
One last tip, make sure you don’t over fill the muffin tin, otherwise the grease will spill over onto the bottom of your oven. You can place the muffin pan on a baking sheet just in case, but the grease will smoke if it overflows. Carefully tilt the pan to drain the grease before adding the cheese to the top.
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- 1 1/4 pounds 85% lean ground beef
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup marinara sauce (or slightly more)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 6-cup muffin tin lightly with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef, shredded zucchini, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, and oregano. Mix well.
Divide the mixture into the muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Spread the sauce across the top of each loaf using a spoon.
Bake in the preheated oven on a baking sheet for about 35 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the middle of each mini meatloaf registers 165 degrees. Remove from the oven and carefully tilt to drain the grease. Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.