These simple and tasty paleo meatloaf muffins are a family favorite! Pack these protein-packed Whole30 and keto-friendly meatloaf muffins in school lunches and there won’t be any leftovers!
Although my dear hubby is off to New York on a business trip and I’m smack dab in the middle of another week of night shifts, there’s no excuse not to cook. I’m not saying it’s easy; as I’ve said before, I’m terrible at meal planning. But luckily, I’ve got a new weapon in my kitchen arsenal that helps procrastinators like me get nourishing, flavorful, real-food meals on the table with a minimum of fuss or muss: Julie and Charles Mayfield’s new cookbook, Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods!
After an early review copy of the Mayfields’ cookbook showed up in my mailbox, I immediately whipped out a bunch of sticky-notes and began bookmarking my favorite recipes. But can you blame me?
Since starting this blog, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really wonderful people from the Interwebs, but Julie and Charles are two of my absolute favorites. Henry and I instantly bonded with this warm and gracious couple back at the inaugural Ancestral Health Symposium over our shared love of good food and belly laughs. Since then, every time we’ve seen Jules and Charles—whether it’s in L.A., Austin, Boston, or their home base in Atlanta—we’ve had more fun than a barrel of monkeys. And now, there’s a third Mayfield to enjoy!
It’s not just that the Mayfields are a lovely family—they’re also foodies of the first order. Longtime readers know that the kiddos and I had a great time cooking through their first cookbook, the wildly popular Paleo Comfort Foods, and their fried chicken remains one of our favorite recipes.
What I love about Jules’ and Charles’ follow-up is that its pages are crammed with similarly rib-sticking recipes—but all of ‘em can be prepared from start to finish in a flash.
In the past week alone, I’ve made multiple batches of the Mayfields’ easy and delicious Meatloaf Muffins (recipe below). This is hearty, portable fare at its simplest, and it’s fantastic for both dinner and as a packed lunch.
In fact, every time we finished eating a batch of Meatloaf Muffins, Big-O demanded that I make more of ’em because he liked munching on ’em at school.
Another of my favorites from the book? Roasted Butternut Squash Dip. The first time I tasted it was at Julie and Charles’s house in Atlanta last month. After polishing off a plate full of this wonderfully hummus-like dip, I demanded that Julie fork over the recipe…and she politely told me that I could find it in their new book.
This dish isn’t just a breeze to make—its smoky finish will make you crave summer barbecues well into the winter. Just roast some butternut squash in the oven…
…’til it’s fork tender…
…and blitz it in the food processor with tahini, extra virgin olive oil, spices, garlic, and lemon juice.
With butternut squash finally back in season, I’ve already made two batches of this yummy dip this week. I’ve been packing it my lunchbox (along with raw veggies) to take to work…
…and the kiddos have been greedily scooping it up with grain-free pita bread.
Quick & Easy Paleo Comfort Foods doesn’t feature a ton of sweets in it—which meshes perfectly with the way we eat—but those that are in the book are all quick and satisfying. One treat I couldn’t resist making: Nutless Balls. (And not just because the name made my third-grader laugh so hard he had to go lie down.)
The boys have friends with nut allergies, and per school policy, they can’t sit together at lunchtime if their packed meals contain nuts. Thankfully, as their name suggests, Nutless Balls—a variation of the Mayfields’ Homemade “LARABAR” Balls—are nut-free. Plus, it took just 5 minutes and zero cooking to prepare them.
After pitting a few dates…
…I pulverized them with sunflower seeds and coconut flakes in my handy-dandy food processor…
…until a chunky “dough” was formed.
A few scoops later…
…I had 20 nutless balls…
…that I rolled up and tucked in the fridge.
There are still so many dishes I want to cook from this book. At the top of my list are Jalapeno Poppers (stuffed with bacon & shrimp!), Brunswick-ish Stew, Tortilla-Less Soup, Paella, and Creamy Shrimp Fra Diavolo. Every single recipe in the Mayfields’ cookbook is accompanied by tons of encouraging tips and tricks, so I know I’ll be in good hands when it’s time to cook.
My favorite quote from the book sounds like it came straight out of Charles’s mouth: “Remember: Perfect gets in the way of really good.” In other words, don’t stress about whether you have every single item chopped into a perfect uniform cubes or if you happen to be missing a single ingredient—it’ll still taste great if you take the time to cook your own meals. Don’t be stymied by a quest for perfection.
Time to make some paleo meatloaf muffins!
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and extra for greasing the muffin tin if not using muffin liners
- ¾ cup finely chopped onions
- ½ cup finely diced button mushrooms
- ½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ pounds ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup carrot juice
- ¼ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil or line with parchment muffin liners.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions, mushrooms and peppers for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the vegetables to cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, garlic and pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the beef, the reserved sautéed vegetables, eggs, thyme and garlic powder. Stir in half of the tomato mixture and combine well.
- Spoon the meat mixture into the greased muffin tin and bake for 10 minutes.
- While the muffins are baking, combine the remaining tomato mixture, carrot juice and warer in a small saucepan. Bring to a quick boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the muffins are removed from the oven.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and spoon or brush the sauce on each muffin. Place the muffins back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160°F. Allow the muffins to stand for about 5 minutes before eating.