Sheet Pan dinners. As a busy mom, is there anything better than coming home, putting one (or two) sheet pans in the oven and having a complete, healthy dinner ready in less than 30 minutes?
Ok. There are probably a few things better – like a good glass of Italian red wine, reading alone on a sunny beach, or an entire day with no whining. But those joys are few and far between these days so I am grateful for small victories – like being able to make a healthy dinner that my family will eat without a lot of fuss or clean up!
Enter the humble sheet pan. Throw some protein, seasoning and veggies on these babies, pop them in the oven and magic happens. And then it happens again when you have one pan to clean. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
I chose these mini meatloaves as my first recipe in my sheet pan series because 1) they are cute little loaves; 2) they are delicious and comforting; 3) it’s a Monday and I like alliteration – Mini Meatball Monday.
I also chose ground bison for these meatloaves for several reasons. First, bison is a more sustainable choice if you aren’t going to buy grass-fed beef. Buffalo are always free-roaming and their natural feeding pattern actually preserves grasslands. Second, it has a better nutritional profile than conventional beef weighing in with more Omega 3’s (and a better Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio – meaning it’s not inflammatory) and with more B vitamins. Finally, buffalo are never administered antibiotics or hormones.
In the end, it’s a great choice!
I love Italian meals with roasted cauliflower or broccoli so this combination was a natural pairing for me!
I pre-make the mini loaves either the night before or in the morning and chop the veggies into florets (or ask Conor to do it!) so I am ready to go when I walk in the door from work!
I hope you love this meal as much as I do!
Mini Italian Meatloaves with Cauliflower and Broccoli Sheet Pan
A nutrient dense and fun take on a comforting classic
- 2 lbs. ground bison/buffalo
- 1/2 yellow onion, grated finely
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (I use pre-minced garlic in a pinch!)
- 1 tbsp avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 bag of chicharrones, ground finely
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 1/3 c. grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
- 1/2 and 1/3 c. homemade or clean marinara (I used Rao’s)
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. oregano
- Plan Ahead: Complete steps 3 through 7 and cover and refrigerate until ready to cook!
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat oil in small pan. Grate onion with a box grater directly onto pan and add garlic. Cook until fragrant and strain to remove excess water. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, spices, cheese, 1/3 cup of marinara and chicharrones.
- Add cooled onion mixture and combine.
- Add ground bison and combine thoroughly.
- Form into mini meatloaves. (I made 4 and used the remainder to make meatballs for the kiddos). Arrange evenly on sheet pan.
- Cook mini loaves for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Toss cauliflower and broccoli together with salt, oil and oregano.
- Arrange cauliflower and broccoli around mini loaves and return to oven to cook for about 15-20 minutes – until vegetables are tender and browned and loaves are cooked through.
- Serve with remaining marinara and Enjoy!
This is a balanced meal all on its own using my uncomplicated trilogy of protein, fat and fiber! The kiddos may enjoy some quinoa pasta with it as well!