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Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves are studded with melty cheddar cheese and sweet BBQ sauce. An awesome twist on the classic.

Raise your hand if you were forced to eat meatloaf as a kid! (FYI, my arm is stretched into the air, waving wildly right now!)

Meatloaf is one of my Dad’s favorite meals, so my Mom made it for dinner quite often when I was growing up. Because she’s nice like that. Unfortunately I didn’t feel the same way, and spent many nights planted at the kitchen table long after my brother’s had cleaned their plates, washing down nibble after nibble of cold meatloaf with warm milk and a pinched nose. You’ve been there.

I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime over the past year or so I’ve developed somewhat of a craving for meatloaf. It’s the strangest thing! I knew I could no longer resist when the idea of Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves came to me while working out at the gym the other day, causing me to get so excited that I nearly flew off the end of the treadmill. (Why am I always thinking about food on the treadmill, btw?!)

What if, I gleefully imagined, I combined lean ground beef with sweet BBQ sauce, melted cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions then formed them into petite, personal-sized meatloaves and roasted ’em in a hot oven until golden brown and bubbly? I’ll tell you what happened – it turned into a dish that no kid, nor kid at heart, will be able to resist. Sweet, sweet meatloaf redemption!

Start the Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves by caramelizing 1 large sweet onion. Oh yeah! Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a large pot or skillet over medium heat then add the onion cut into slices, and a dash of salt. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the onions are soft, golden brown, and unbelievably sweet. Set ’em aside to cool while you work on the rest of the meatloaf.

In a large bowl, add 1lb lean ground beef and 1 whisked egg.

Next add 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce. This will give the ground beef a mouthwatering, savory-sweet flavah.

1/4 cup crushed Rice Chex or panko bread crumbs (loaves will not be gluten-free if using panko) ensures the meatloaves will stay together, and a dash of pepper will give ’em a nice kick.

Finally, add the slightly cooled caramelized onions, and 2 ounces cheddar cheese cut into 1/4″ cubes, which will stud the inside of the meatloaves like melted buried treasure.

Mix the ingredients together with your hands then form the mixture into 4 mini loaves. Spread 1 Tablespoon BBQ sauce over each loaf to keep them nice and moist in the oven.

Roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Woo-weeee!

Pair the mini meatloaves with a side salad, or roasted broccoli like I did (instructions below!)

Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves


Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves are studded with melty cheddar cheese and sweet BBQ sauce. An awesome twist on the classic. 


Serves 4

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • salt
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup crushed Rice Chex or panko bread crumbs (recipe will not be GF if using panko)
  • pepper
  • 2oz low-fat cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes


  1. Cut onion in half then each half into thin slices. Melt butter in a large skillet or pot over medium heat then add onion and a dash of salt. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until onions are golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Turn heat down if onions start to burn. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl combine ground beef, egg, Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce, panko bread crumbs, dash of pepper, cheese cubes, and caramelized onions, then mix until just combined. Divide mixture into 4 equal-sized portions then form into loaves on a foil-lined, non-stick-sprayed baking sheet. Spread 1 Tablespoon BBQ sauce over each loaf then bake for 20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The flavors in here remind me of a summer BBQ, and, sorry, but meatloaf that oozes melted cheese when you cut into it?! I am not mad at that!

Now about that roasted broccoli. If you’ve never had broccoli this way, then you have GOT to give it a go. Bonus: it cooks at the same temperature as the mini meatloaves so you can roast them both at the same time.

Simply toss broccoli florets with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle of salt and pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet, then turn all the florets onto their crowns to get them extra crisp on top.

Roast for 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees, or until golden brown and crispy. That’s it!

Better than french fries, I’m tellin’ ya! Salty, crispy, and not to mention, so much healthier. I made a couple sheets of roasted broccoli for a family dinner a couple weeks ago and it was a HIT amongst all in attendance. It just a fun switch from plain ‘ol steamed broccoli, know what I mean?

Now raise your hand if you’re ready to give meatloaf a second chance with Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves!

In other news…

I survived my first cooking demo! It was…crazy. The combo of a giant expo going on around me, the nervousness I feel when addressing a large group of people, and 6 burners going full force, had me practically sprinting off the stage after my hour was up!

Luckily I had the sweetest readers in attendance, who nodded politely as I blathered on about bacon fat (that happened,) and came to say hello afterwards. THANK YOU so much, I cannot tell you how much that meant to me.

My partner, Ginger Johnson, was also incredible. Super charismatic and great at keeping the audience engaged and entertained while I tried not to burn the building down. I could have never done it without her.

Like anything else in life, you never know what you’re capable of until you try. Well, I tried, and while it might be awhile before I try again, it was a really cool experience nevertheless. ‘Til next year?!


Workout of the Day: 35 Minute, 3.9 Mile Treadmill Workout