Tag Archives: ground beef

Meatball Cups outta thin air……

This evening I found myself in the kitchen, mentally twirling the recipe carousel in my mind, searching for something I could make for dinner. I had 1 lb. of ground beef to work with. I’ll spare you all the boring details of what ideas were turned down because I lacked the ingredients (yes, I am way overdue to go actual grocery shopping)…eventually I landed on meatball cups.

What the hell is a meatball cup?! You ask.
A meatball cup is a fun way to convince your kids to eat meatloaf! It is a cheap go-to if you have a small amount of meat (like 1 lb,) & a big taste for meatloaf! It is an American classic with a modern twist & an interesting title that makes people wonder “What the hell is a meatloaf cup?!”. Simply put, it is meatloaf smashed into a muffin tin.
Here we go:

Meatloaf Cups
1 lb. ground beef (or more; 1 lb, only yields about 10)
breadcrumbs
1/4 c. milk (or water)
2 eggs (or egg whites)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
BBQ sauce (ahem, KC Masterpiece Honey bbq sauce is my recommendation) or ketchup, whichever you prefer
1-2 muffin pans, depending on how much meat you’re using.

Now first we need to get a couple things straight:
1) ground beef shrinks
2) you should basically make this meatloaf in the way you typically would. The only difference comes with the shaping-instead of making a mound of raw meat you’ll be separating it into portions. My meatloaf recipe varies depending on what I have on hand (although apparently I manage to keep good form: I’ll never forget the time my Aunt complimented me by saying that my meatloaf “actually held together” & that hers never did) so just do what you’re used to.

Anyway…for me, I throw my raw beef into a bowl, then I add a couple eggs (or just egg whites…a good thing to keep on hand is:
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I know, it’s more of a “rich people” food but it comes in handy if you’re like me & forget to buy eggs but then you need one here or there; I have no idea how much this stuff is or where it can be found, this is courtesy of our house-mate), I add my spices-usually garlic & onion powders, seasoned salt, regular salt & pepper-then I start mixing it all together. If it seems a little “off” I’ll add a touch of water (or milk) here & there as needed. I also just eyeball the breadcrumbs…I could be wrong about this but the breadcrumbs serve to suck up the grease and to stretch the meat, so I add enough to cover those jobs but not so much that I’ll end up with a loaf of bread in the end.

Still with me? For some reason this post seems even more discombobulated than my posts usually do; Maybe because it’s been a lot of stop-go-stop-go. Thanks for hanging in there!

Okay, now once you’ve gotten your hunk of meatloaf mixed, take a normal dinner-ware sized spoon, scoop out some meat mix & start filling those muffin cups. Some meatloaf cup recipes end up putting mashed potatoes on the top but I’m going the quick & easy (read: lazy) route today; we’ll be topping these with BBQ sauce. Remember: ground beef shrinks (unless you can afford the fancy-schmancy lean beef…kidding, kidding) so don’t gip your eaters with the cups. I managed to get (almost) 11 & a couple were on the smaller side but hey, everybody ate dammit. You should end up with something like this:

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Yes, I did bbq all of them...

Next I pour some BBQ sauce into a measuring cup-so I don’t make a mess & the whole bottle plops out & drowns the meat-cups-and use the same spoon I scooped with to put enough sauce to cover each top. For those of you obsessed with measurements, I’d figure it’s about 1-2 Tbsp, if that. Place in a 350° oven for…about 30 minutes. I’m truly sorry; for me, cooking is something of a second nature now & I’m always forgetting to jot important info like times & measurements down so that I can input them on the blog. I just cooked mine until they were done, checked on them a couple times. You end up with:
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Ta-da! The dinner I pulled out of thin air.

A closer look at the meatloaf cup:
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They were delish! Granted I wish I would’ve had more meat so we could’ve had more cups, but the basis of this recipe was working with what I had on hand (I still have not been to the store! I definitely don’t get the Mom-of-the-week award this week…)

On a side note, I’ve heard of people using sour cream in their mashed potatoes to make them creamier. I happened to have a half a tub left so I decided to try it out as opposed to throw it out.
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I honestly didn’t notice a taste or texture difference, however because you can’t taste the sour cream, that’s exactly why you should sneak it in if you have it on hand…everyone can use some extra vitamins & all that, so just sneak it in there without telling anyone . 😉

Thoughts are welcome, ALWAYS.

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Alert: it’s apparently still winter. (So bring on the vegetable soup!)

Unbeknownst to me, it is still winter. I was fooled into thinking spring had finally sprung when we had those glorious few days of warm, sunny, breezy weather. I broke out my flip-flops (well, not really…I never really packed them away but no, I didn’t walk through snow in them-what kind of dummy do you think I am?) & the kids ran free without jackets. It was a wonderful time, full of laughter and smiles and hopes for a plethora of sunshiny days ahead.

And now this.

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Admittedly, not the best snow picture ever. 2 things you should know about this photo: #1 It was not taken at night (unfortunately the camera fairy still hasn’t blessed me with a dslr); #2 There is a lot more snow than depicted. Not mountains, or even enough to coat the roads, but it’s flurrying hardcore (which is actually pretty if also unwanted).

Of course the kiddos were out today-news I relished at 6 a.m. when I realized I didn’t have to get up but somehow that news loses it’s charm halfway through the day & after 45 “Can I….?”.

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This latest snow assault puts me in the mood for something warm & filling for dinner. I’m hoping (if I can get C to go get the stuff) to turn to a family classic, my Mom’s Vegetable Soup. It holds a special place in my heart not only because it came from my momma, but also because it was the first thing I made C & I when we first started out; and because my sister asked me for the recipe, which makes me feel useful, traditional & generally warm-n-fuzzy. The list of great things about this recipe is not short:
*it’s cheap
*it’s easy
*it’s super versatile
*it’s freezable
*it’s comforting
*it’s semi-healthy
*it’s tasty
*it appeals to different taste buds
I could keep going but you’re probably bored to tears. This soup can be whatever you want it to be, really. You can use whatever vegetables you like, whatever meat you prefer; you can make it more tomato-y or more beefy tasting; you can make it overloaded with veggies or just a few. It’s totally customizable for those who are looking to start their own traditional family soup recipe.

Judy’s Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 lg (or 2 small) bag frozen mixed vegetables (sometimes labeled as “soup mix”)
1 small onion, sliced or diced
2-4 beef bouillon cubes (depending on your taste…I like a lot)
1 can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomato sauce
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Water, as needed

1) In a medium skillet cook the ground beef over med-high heat. While beef is cooking, in a large pot add vegetables, tomatoes, seasonings & water (the amount of water you use will determine how much soup you end up with). Drain grease from meat well.

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Cooked, crumbled ground beef.

2) Add meat to soup pot; add salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste; put a lid on it & let it cook (aka turn fabulous) on low for one or two hours.
While cooking you can taste-test & add flavors accordingly. Since soup has so much water sometimes you have to add more seasonings than you’d normally use. Also, since it’s so versatile, you can add whatever would taste good to you:
Beef stock.
A ham bone.
Beans…cannellini (spelling?) or kidney or whatever!
You could use a different type of meat, like beef stew or cut up strip steak.
More tomatoes.
More vegetables.
Whatever…you…want.

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All together. Kinda gross now but not for long!

When it’s done melding flavors, serve piping hot with peanut butter crackers or sandwiches. Mmm-mmm good!!

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Dip that sandwich in & you're in 7th heaven!

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PS…sorry for posting a pic of my ice foot after a pic of that deiciousness-in-a-bowl…I took it specifically for the blog & felt bad leaving it out. 😉

PPS…this is one of those recipes that’s even better the next day! If you believe in leftovers, that is.

PPPS….feel free to add some pasta (elbow, ziti, the ABC pasta if you’re lucky enough to find it, whatever’s in the cabinet), just wait until the soup is hot/completely reheated so you don’t overcook the pasta & then it turns to mush. You may have to add some extra water also, depending on how much your pasta sucks up.

PPPPS….this apparently also makes good chow for pugs & mixed breed cats! Our 3 cats & 1 pug thoroughly enjoyed the remaining soup after we had leftovers with it. So, you’re welcome for that little tip.

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This princess currently has a furry belly full of warm, yummy, vegetable soup!