There are two types of moms: those whose meat loaf became your ultimate comfort food and those who served scary bricks of incinerated beef.

 As San Francisco Chronicle reporter Amanda Gold points out, meat loaf “has both staunch supporters and fervent detractors. But no matter whether it’s considered jail food or the stuff of happy childhood memories, it has made a definite resurgence in recent years, especially in local restaurants.”

These days, many of us substitute ground chicken or turkey for the traditional ground beef in an effort to reduce consumption of red meat. Baking single-serving mini meat loaves is another culinary trend—one that allows us to control portion size.

Today’s recipe comes from The New American Plate Cookbook, published by the American Institute for Cancer Research. Lean ground chicken is the base, with onion, carrots, mushrooms, parsley and marjoram adding substantial nutritional value, texture and subtle flavors. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.

Round out your meal by filling the remaining two-thirds of your plate with almost any vegetable (try kid-pleasing Spicy Nutmeg Carrots) and a whole grain like Quinoa Pilaf.

Chicken Mini Meat Loaves

Makes 6 servings (two mini loaves per serving)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram or 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup dried whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
1 egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable cooking spray
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
Fresh parsley for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, mushrooms and poultry seasoning. Cook for about 5 minutes. Turn off and set aside. Let cool until no longer hot to touch.
  3. In large bowl, use fork to combine ground chicken with onion mixture, marjoram, parsley and breadcrumbs. Add Worcestershire sauce, ketchup and egg. Mix well.
  4. Coat 12-pan muffin tin (3-inch cups) with cooking spray. Spoon mixture into muffin pans, filling each about half full. Spread thin layer of tomato paste on top of each loaf.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Use external meat thermometer to ensure internal temperature of mini loaves reaches 170°F. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Per serving: 200 calories, 8 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 15 g carbohydrate, 19 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 460 mg sodium

Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research