I’ve noticed a trend among my brood on Thanksgiving: the adults will drool over the usual, traditional fare—turkey, gravy, vegetables, potatoes—but the kids pick at their plates and save their appetites and enthusiasm for dessert. Our children haven’t been raised in a typical, “meat and potatoes” type home, so the sight of a slab of poultry with bones and gravy and colorful dollops of side dishes is a little foreign to them.
That’s why these Thanksgiving Meatloaf Cupcakes are a must-have at our turkey-day table. They are made with cranberry sauce instead of tomato sauce to sweeten the deal, and the mashed potato “frosting” is really fun. Everyone gobbles ‘em up! You can use ground beef or even chicken instead of turkey, but whatever you do, make sure you bake enough for the grown-ups to try them, too!
Thanksgiving Meatloaf Cupcakes
(Makes 18 cupcakes)
2 lbs. ground extra-lean turkey
14 oz. whole cranberry sauce
2 beaten eggs
1 cup of whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
1 small zucchini, finely shredded or chopped
2 tsp. organic Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. pepper
Edward & Sons Home Style Organic Mashed Potatoes (prepared according to package; you will need half a cup of milk or almond milk and 2 Tbs. of buttery spread) or use mashed potatoes you’ve already prepared for the big feast. You can also top with mashed sweet potatoes or with cranberry sauce instead!
Dried cranberries to top (optional)
Head oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tins with baking cups.
Combine all ingredients except for the mashed potatoes and dried cranberries in a large bowl, then distribute evenly among 18 cups.
Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the instant mashed potatoes according to package ingredients or set aside 2 cups of homemade mashed potatoes for this recipe.
After meatloaf cupcakes are baked and have thoroughly cooled, use mashed potatoes as “icing” for cupcakes and top each with a dried cranberry.
Jorie Mark is Vitacost.com’s Director of Marketing Communications and mom to three kids, ages 3 to 10.