Mini Meatloaves Recipe

Mini Meatloaves Recipe

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  1. One day I came home from playing with my friends—tired, sweaty and satisfied from hours of the unmonitored use of every word I was forbidden to say at home—and found my mom in the kitchen, removing a cookie sheet from the oven. Laid out on the pan were a dozen oval… things. I had no idea what they were, other than that night’s dinner, and when I asked, Mom said, “We’re having rats for dinner.”

     I gave the things a closer inspection and decided that Mom was probably telling the truth for once. They did look as I imagined baked rats would look with their heads, tails and limbs removed. Oozing from one end of the oblong meaty things was a viscous white fluid that I assumed was puss. So I shrugged, said, “Okay,” and went off to wash for dinner.

    Back in those days, I didn’t really care what I was served for dinner, as long as it tasted good, and those rats smelled scrumptious.

    I soon discovered that my mom had fibbed, again, and that what she served was a new form of meatloaf that she had concocted on a whim. It was so good that I asked for rats for dinner on a regular basis after that.

    This recipe will yield six rats.  The men in your family (and boys, who tend to eat enough for two or three men) will probably want two apiece, so plan accordingly.


    For this, you will need:

    • 1 ½ lb ground beef (not too lean or it will fall apart)
    • Breadcrumbs
    • Wax paper
    • 12 slices of Jack cheese (3 inches long by ½ inch on each side)
    • 6 Farmer John breakfast sausage links, cooked
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 Tbs. Penzey’s Turkish Seasoning (*optional, but you’ll want it*)
    • 1 Tbs. garlic powder
    • 1 tsp. onion powder
    • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
    • Salt to taste


    The procedure:

    1. Combine the ground beef, eggs, Turkish Seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl; mix by hand and scrunch the seasonings into the meat.
    2. Add salt to taste (this will require you to sample the raw meat mixture; if this grosses you out or you’re afraid of catching salmonella from the raw eggs, e-coli from the ground beef or Ebola from tainted river water or infectious monkeys, coax your least-liked child into tasting it for you or fry a small sample in a pan before tasting it). Mix by hand thoroughly.
    3. Lay out a long sheet of wax paper and divide the meat mixture into 6 mounds, lined up in a row on the paper (make sure you have plenty of room between them).
    4. Flatten and elongate each meaty mound to form rectangles about twice as tall as wide (about four inches wide, eight inches long).
    5. Place a cooked sausage link in the center of each meat patty; place a strip of Jack cheese on either side of the sausages.
    6. Wrap the sausages and cheese in the meat mixture; make sure both are sealed inside; transfer meat from the tops to the sides if necessary to plug the sides and prevent as much oozing of the cheese as possible while cooking.
    7. Roll each rat in breadcrumbs.
    8. Arrange them all on a rack over a cookie sheet and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
    9. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    10. Transfer the cookie sheet from the fridge to the oven and cook the rats for 12 minutes, or until cheese starts to ooze.
    11. Serve with rubber snakes and bats just to freak out your kids.


    On occasion, my mom would bake us a “possum” instead of separate rats. She followed the same basic recipe, only instead of six individual pieces, she would roll out all of the meat mixture, place an entire pre-cooked Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage roll in the middle along with an entire block of Jack cheese (cut in half, the long way) and roll it up into one strange-looking meatloaf that was even better than the rats. If you try this, you may have to double the recipe above.

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