Cupcakes. Meatloaf Cupackes

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Morgan requested (and I use this term loosely because it was more like demanded) that she make an appearance on the blog. Of course, she realized that this meant she had to actually come over for a NFT dinner. How rough... right? I asked her and her boyfriend Blake (also a long time friend) to come up with what they would really really want to eat. Big mistake. We were all chatting online and I was feeling pretty good when they came up with mashed potatoes, asparagus and here is where my heart sank... meatloaf. What? Who when they can have anything requests meatloaf??? Blake and Morgan do.

Well, I accepted their challenge but decided to do it my way. On the menu...

cream of asparagus soup with garlic Parmesan crustinis

arugula and beet salad with pecans


meatloaf cupcakes with honey chipotle barbecue sauce and horseradish mashed potato frosting.

Um.... in over my head much?

While researching meatloaf, I learned one thing. You can put anything, and I mean ANYTHING in meatloaf and it will be good. I had no idea what to go with. So, my plan was to go with what I know and what I know is to do as Ina tells me. For those of you who don't know who Ina is, she is a popular food network star known as the Barefoot Contessa. You can make any of her recipes and it's pretty much a guarantee. The only other trick I had up my sleeve was bacon. Everything is better with bacon. Lots of bacon. Not to mention the best barbecue sauce I've ever had. I highly recommend Sweet Baby Ray's honey chipotle barbecue sauce. You will not be sorry.

So folks, the lesson of the day is that meatloaf is not so scary. And even though it did not end up like this...

but I bet you anything they tasted better.

1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup canned chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
8 pieces crisp bacon finely chopped
1 cup favorite barbecue sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, bacon and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meatloaf will be dense. Divide the mixture into 6 (10 to 11-ounce) portions and shape each portion into a small loaf on a sheet pan. Spread about a tablespoon of sauce on the top of each portion. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees F and the meat loaves are cooked through. Serve hot.

Peace and Beer Floats

P.S. After a few drinks Morgan asked if I was going to add some old pictures of us in the blog. As I was searching through old photos, I realized there were too many good ones to pick just one. So here you go... a Morgan montage.