Mini Spicy Chicken Meatloaf + Sautéed Zoodles & Fennel

Can you believe we're already halfway through the week, which means we're halfway through the 10 Ingredient Tabasco challenge?! Well, I'm coming in hot for day 3 with these cutie pie mini spicy chicken meatloaves served up with yummy sautéed ZOODLES and fennel. Also, let's talk about meatloaf for a minute, or two, or FIVE. Do you love it or hate it!? I LOVE IT, it just feels so cozy and warm and just plain good. Like talk about the ultimate comfort food, this is it right here. And that ketchup and brown sugar glaze. Like, woah. Best. Part. Ever. Seriously. It's thick, kinda sticky, sweet and tangy at the same time, and honest to goodness delicious. It tastes like home. And I get why maybe it might get a bad rap. I mean, yeah, ok, it isn't gonna win any beauty awards but when you minify it, it gets pretty cute, pretty quick. And then, it's also instantly portion controlled for you! Score one for mini meatloaf!! Side note: if you hate it, I'm sorry, I totally just gushed all over the place about it. :D :D Maybe try this version and get back to me? Or don't! No pressure either way....I still hate olives, yet somehow I try 'em everytime they're there, just to make sure. Yup, they're still gross.

Anyway, more meatloaf talk, it's perfect for a weeknight meal 'cause it's super easy peasy to mix up. For my Tabasco-fied version, I've sautéed some diced fennel and zucchini and added it to dark meat ground chicken. Trust me on the dark meat, it's the key to a JUICY loaf (hehe, did that sound funny to anyone else!?). Anyway, to that you add a beaten egg, ciabatta breadcrumbs, some s&p, and YESSS, Tabasco! Mix it all up (use your hands, it's fun and fast), transfer to your mini pans, and let it cook! And since this challenge doesn't include ketchup but meatloaf clearly requires a glaze, heat up some honey and tabasco while your loaves are cooking and brush on for the last 10 minutes of baking. Et voila! Honey-tabasco glazed mini chicken meatloaf! 

Last but not least in this quick and easy dish, ZOODLES!! Zucchini noodles!! Cutest name ever. And they're so fun. And don't fret if you don't have a spiralizer. There are so many ways to make 'em. You can use a mandoline and if you don't have one of those you can you a vegetable peeler and a knife! Lots of options. Anyway, zoodles are quick and fun and super tasty. Just don't forget to sweat them before you sauté. Apparently there's a lot of liquid in a zucchini and you'll want to get that out before you cook those noodles! Between zoodles and mini meatloaves, I think I've got your cute covered for tonight!! :D

This is Part 3 of Tabasco's 10 Ingredient Challenge – 5 recipes made from any of these 10 ingredients: Tabasco (Original Red, Green Jalapeño, or Chipotle), Chicken, Eggs, Mozzarella, Fennel, Zucchini, Rice (Brown, Basmati, Jasmine, or Wild), Rigatoni, Ciabatta, Honey, (Bonus Ingredients: Salt, Pepper, and Oil). 

Mini Spicy Chicken Meatloaf + Sautéed Zoodles & Fennel

Adapted from CHOW

Serves 4 to 6, depending on portion size

INGREDIENTS

MEATLOAF

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced into 1/4" cubes
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, cored and diced into 1/4" cubes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound ground dark-meat chicken
  • 1/3 c. ciabatta breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco, red

GLAZE

  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Tabasco, red

ZOODLES + FENNEL

  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized, grated or sliced into noodles
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and sliced (length or crosswise) into 1/8" thick slices
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 dashes, Jalapeño Tabasco

TOOLS

  • Chef's knife
  • Cutting board
  • 8 cavity mini loaf pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Heavy bottomed skillet
  • Small saucepan
  • Pastry brush
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Spiralizer, mandoline, or vegetable peeler

FIX

MEATLOAF

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat loaf pans with oil if not nonstick and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until shiny and shimmery. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and a pinch or two of salt, and continue to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until veggies have softened and have just started to brown.
  3. Remove from heat and transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. After veggies have cooled for 5 minutes, add the ground chicken to the bowl, using your hands to break it up. Add the breadcrumbs, egg, cheese, tabasco, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Mix together, using your hands until evenly combined. Be careful not to squeeze or overmix!
  5. Transfer the mixture to prepared pans and fill each cavity to the top, spreading mixture edge to edge and smoothing the tops. Bake for twenty minutes then brush tops with honey Tabasco glaze (see below). Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F. 
  6. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

GLAZE

  1. While meatloaf is cooking, combine honey and Tabasco in a small saucepan and heat on medium. Heat until mixture is bubbly, thick, and has reduced slightly. Immediately remove heat.

ZOODLES + FENNEL

  1. Place zucchini "noodles" in a colander and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of kosher salt all over. Place colander into a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Using a clean towel, squeeze as much water as possible out of zucchini "noodles".
  3. Heat olive oil in a small pan on medium until shiny and shimmering.  Sauté fennel for 5-6 minutes then add zucchini "noodles". Season with salt and pepper and a few dashes of Tabasco and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy with mini meatloaves!

Many thanks to Tabasco for being awesome and sponsoring this post. All opinions, ideas, and overzealously used exclamation marks are my own. Psst...you should follow along with the #Tabasco10 on social media!