Whelp, all the kids around here are officially back in school as of today, which means my mind is officially blown. Summer is over and school is in session? How in the world did that happen?
Speaking of, have you seen this recent viral video? The first minute is literally me every time I think about Lincoln going to Kindergarten, which is still THREE YEARS AWAY mind you. “His teacher doesn’t know he needs 14 kisses every 45 seconds!” It’s true! It doesn’t help when Ben says things like, “can you imagine him walking through the lunch room looking for someone to eat his lunch with?” Cue the ugly tears.
Anyway, since school is back in sesh, my thoughts are on easy weeknight recipes to help you and your family out, because back to school means back to reality. So long sweet, slow summer!
In case you missed it, a couple weeks ago I rounded up 15 of my favorite kid-approved recipes, and today I’m back at it with a mini meatloaf recipe that your littles are going love eating because of their wee, individual size, of course, and the adults are going to love just as much because it’s packed with Philly Cheesesteak flavor. Plus, melted cheese. What can I say, it’s always a winner!
Meatloaf is as Midwestern of a dish as they come. My Mom served it near weekly when I was growing up because my Dad loves it though, try as I might, I could never get into it. Ok I didn’t try that hard. I mean, a giant loaf of meat cut into slabs then served? Just not doing it for me. Also half the time it was ham loaf with a sweet glaze on top which I just. could. NOT.
Anyway, several years ago I revisited the concept with my Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves – individual-sized meatloaves flavored with BBQ sauce and stuffed with hunks of cheddar cheese and caramelized onions – and have never looked back. Food is always more fun when it’s served in individual-sized portions, and when given a unique and jazzed up flavor profile, even picky eaters are going to want to try a bite.
Since the Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves I’ve created Mini Mediterranean Turkey Meatloaves, Mini Muffuletta Meatloaves, and Mini Salsa Turkey Meatloaves. I love each one more than the last, and am not done yet because these Mini Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaves are absolutely dynamite!
The first time I ever tried a Philly Cheesesteak was in the city of brotherly love itself, Philadelphia, almost a decade ago, when I went on a tour de east coast with Ben’s family before we were even engaged. It was chewy, cheesy, ooey, gooey, and overflowing with cheez wiz. Mmmm, cheez wiz. Aka the flavor will forever be etched in my memory.
That said, I’m so glad I found a gluten-free hack for that! Keep the seared peppers and onions but ditch the roll, swap shaved steak for ground beef, and trade cheez wiz for hunks of melty provolone cheese. The result is a total winner of an easy weeknight dinner.
Not only do these Mini Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaves taste incredible, but the recipe is one where you don’t have to prep all the ingredients before you start cooking. Saute the onions while you chop the peppers. Saute the peppers while you assemble the meatloaf ingredients. Bake the meatloaves while you, gasp! sit down and rest for a second! Back to school time is stressful enough – dinnertime doesn’t have to be too.
Start by heating 1-1/2 Tablespoons each extra virgin olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 small chopped yellow onion, season with salt, then saute until the onions begin to turn golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Next add 1 small chopped green bell pepper, season with salt and pepper, then saute until the vegetables are crisp-tender, another 3-4 minutes. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, saute for 30 more seconds, then transfer the vegetables to a plate to cool slightly.
Next add 1lb lean ground beef, 1 egg, 1 Tablespoon gluten-free worcestershire sauce (I used Lea & Perrins which I believe is only GF in the United States so be sure to check labels!) 1/2 cup Rice Chex crumbs or panko bread crumbs (dish will not be GF if using panko bread crumbs,) 3oz provolone cheese cut into 1/4″ cubes, the sauteed peppers and onions, and lots of salt and pepper, then use your hands to mix everything until combined.
From the mixture into four mini meatloaves then place onto a foil lined, nonstick sprayed baking sheet and bake for 20-22 minutes at 425 degrees. FYI, I put a lot of the cheese cubes on the outside for presentation purposes, but if you like to find pockets of melted cheese inside your meatloaves try and bury them in the ground beef instead.
If you’re missing the carb factor of a big and squishy Philly Cheesesteak roll, roast up a tray of fries with the mini meatloaves while they’re baking then sprinkle on my homemade gluten-free seasoned salt when they’re hot out of the oven. TRUST ME. Enjoy, enjoy!
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Mini Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaves
Mini Philly Cheesesteak Meatloaves are a fun and gluten-free dinner recipe that both kids and adults will love!
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1lb lean ground beef
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 Tablespoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (I use Lea & Perrins)
- 1/2 cup crushed Rice Chex or panko bread crumbs (recipe will not be GF if using panko)
- 3oz provolone cheese, cut into 1/4” cubes
- Heat extra virgin olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add the onions, season with salt, and saute until onions begin to turn golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the peppers, season with salt and pepper, then continue sautéing until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes, turning heat down if vegetables begin to burn. Add garlic then saute for 30 more seconds. Transfer vegetables to a plate then let cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. In a large bowl combine ground beef, egg, Worcestershire sauce, Rice Chex or panko bread crumbs, cheese cubes, onions and peppers, and lots of salt and pepper then mix until combined. Divide into 4 equal-sized portions then form into loaves and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until no longer pink in the center then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.