How to Make Mini Meatloaves (healthy, paleo, and allergen-friendly)


I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Mini Meatloaves that are grain, dairy, and egg-free and super simple to make! Kids love them.

Moist and flavorful, these uber simple mini meatloaves are a quick and easy dinner that is greatly enjoyed around here – especially when served with baked fries and homemade ketchup!

Using coconut flour instead of bread crumbs make this meatloaf recipe grain-free (and egg and dairy-free!) and even easier to make than the typical version. I love having easy dinner recipes, and this is definitely one of them. I am a firm believer in having a list of simple dinners that you can easily make, but are nutritious and welcomed by your family. It’s a great way to keep on track in feeding your family well, a help in keeping within your food budget, and important for making  real food realistic.

When buying meat from the store, and not in bulk directly from a farmer, grassfed beef can get really expensive. (Look for an upcoming post on the benefits of grassfed beef.) Ground beef is almost always the most frugal choice, and so I like recipes, – like this one – to help keep our food budget low. Meatloaf is known as a frugal main dish, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious!

Here are a couple other easy and inexpensive dinners using beef:

When grassfed beef is bought directly from farmers, it is generally very lean, and thus, is very easy to use in recipes like this. We’ve eaten up our ¼ of a cow from a local farmer, so I’ve been buying my meat from a local store. Their grassfed beef is 20% fat (I assume because they process some of the fat with the meat when making it). If you use fatty ground beef, you will have a lot of drainage during the cooking process, but that’s okay. It’s very easy to simply leave all the drained fat behind, as once cooked, you can lift the mini meatloaves right out of the pan, and the fat is left behind. Just be forewarned that your mini meatloaves will shrink a lot!

To make this even more nutritious, you can hide some ground liver in the meat for the meatloaf. (It sounds gross to some, but is hardly noticeable in taste). I also have a planned post on that topic in the upcoming weeks!

A word about coconut flour: They can absorb moisture differently. I’ve been using Let’s Do Organic’s coconut flour lately, just because it’s widely available. (They are also available here at my affiliates Amazon and Vitacost. If you aren’t up to making your own ketchup, you can also find organic and corn syrup-free ketchups there – Vitacost has a lot of options.) You may need to adjust the recipe slightly when using other brands of coconut flour. If it seems too dry, just add a little milk, or more ketchup. If it seems a little too wet, add a bit more coconut flour. Meatloaf is very forgivable, thankfully, so any little adjusting you need to do should be fine.

How to Make Mini Meatloaves (healthy, paleo, and allergen-friendly)
Serves: 4-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:

I’ve made this a couple different ways. Sometimes I’ll grate about ½ a small onion and add it to the mix. That’s delicious too, and adds a bit more moisture.
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground beef (grassfed, lean beef preferred)
  • 2 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • ½ cup homemade ketchup (or best quality you can find/buy)
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon each dried thyme, oregano, and basil (or 1 ½ teaspoon of Italian Seasoning)
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely minced or put through a garlic press
  1. Put rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Put aside half the ketchup, and dump ¼ cup of it, and the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl, and mash together with your hands. Divide into 12 balls and press into a muffin tin (if you are working with very lean meat, oil the pan before, but with most ground beef you don’t need to worry about it sticking because of the fat content).
  3. Divide the rest of the ketchup over the top of the meatloaves, and spread evenly.
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 20- 25 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle. Remove from pan and serve.
  5. Serve 2 to 3 per person.


14 Easy Dinner Recipes (That are healthy & frugal too!)


I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

14 easy recipes that are healthy and frugal too!

When eating a healthy diet, I think it’s important to have a list of quick and inexpensive meal ideas and easy dinner recipes to have on hand. Even in the most well-balanced and calm life, there will be nights when you don’t feel like cooking elaborate meals, or times when you need an especially frugal meal to stretch out your budget.

With that in mind, I thought I’d pull together some of my favorite easy and frugal recipes together in one place!

Easy and Frugal Dinner Recipes

Simple Baked Mini Meatballs that are paleo, and frugal too!

1. Paleo Meatballs

These grain-free meatballs (egg- and dairy-free too!) are some of the easiest ones to makes, but they are also a great frugal way to enjoy meat in many meals. These are on my $1 dollar menu, as a serving costs about 1 dollar! I use them in a variety of ways, including serving them with a mushroom sauce.

2. Persian Lentil Soup

Lentils are low in phytic acid, making the soaking process optional. This recipe for Persian Lentil Soup is gently flavored and the ingredients kept basic for an especially frugal and easy meal. To make it even more flavorful and nutritious, use my almost free chicken broth! 

3. Curried Lentils with Apples and Onions

Another lentil dish is this lovely lentil curry,  gently sweetened with apples, and flavorful from curry powder and garam masala.

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette, plus seven more tasty, nourishing salad dressings

4. Main Dish Salads

I love throwing together a main dish salad with extra cut up vegetables, leftover roasted chicken, Bpa-free canned or precooked beans, or canned salmon or low-mercury tuna, nuts or seeds, and a homemade salad dressing. It’s a very fast meal, and can be very frugal as well!

5. Thai Broth with Chicken

One of my popular recipes from my cookbook, Ladled, is this Simple Thai broth. Make is a main dish by serving it over rice noodles and cooking some chopped chicken in it too. Sooo good! It’s also very frugal if you use homemade broth, and don’t use too many “extras”. If you have broth on hand, it’s extremely easy and fast to put together.

6. Sloppy Joe’s in a Bowl

This unusual way to enjoy Sloppy Joe’s is a super easy meal that is also inexpensive to make!

7. Congee

Congee is an Asian-styled rice porridge. I have a section in my cookbook, Ladled, for them, but here is a Miso version. I especially like the broth based ones – such a fun way to get in that nutritious, inexpensive broth! This is a filling meal, and can be made with the most basic ingredients.


8. Chicken Noodle Soup

This chicken noodle soup makes its own broth while it cooks. Yes, it does take a couple hours to simmer, but it’s a ten-minute operation before that point.

9. Roasted Meats and Vegetables

This simple, one pan meal can be put together quickly and makes an easy dinner, and you get to relax during the roasting time.

10. Bacon Frittata

This basic, but delicious frittata is a great simple meal to make for any of the three main meals of the day! This version is dairy-free.

Sweet Potato Crusted Frittata

11. Sweet Potato Crusted Spinach Frittata

Or, why not try this sweet potato crusted version? It’s gotten rave reviews, and is just a little more work.

12. Oatmeal

Truth be told, we love oatmeal. It makes a stick-to-your-ribs type meal, especially when served with butter and pure maple syrup. So yummy. And yes, we eat it for dinner sometimes. We just did last night, in fact! And you can’t beat it for simplicity and frugality!

13. Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

To make oatmeal a special treat, try out this baked, pumpkin oatmeal!  It only takes a few minutes the night before/in the morning, and then a few minutes before you stick it in the oven to make.

14. Soups

And of course, soups are on the top of my list for easy, simple dinners. One example out of many is this German Dumpling Soup. Yum!

I’d love to hear your easy dinner recipes using healthy ingredients too!

6 Tips for Adding Flavor to Any Dish for Less

Katie Mae

Katie Stanley is a dorm “mama” to 12 amazing girls ages 8 to 18 at a home and school for the Deaf in Baja California, Mexico. She and her “hijas” can be frequently found in the kitchen, the garden or making friends with their new chickens. She loves to read, hike the hills near her home and spend time with her girls. In her spare time Katie blogs at Nourishing Simplicity about nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living, the deaf, raising her girls and encouraging other women in their walk with Christ.

Latest posts by Katie Mae (see all)


By Katie, Contributing Writer

Do you believe that cooking delicious and nourishing foods is possible even on a tight budget? Sometimes we overlook how much flavor some of the humblest foods in our pantry can add to our dishes. These 6 simple and frugal tips are practical and have been used by our ancestors and different cultures for generations. Unfortunately some of these have become a lost art in today’s modern society. You might even be surprised to find most – if not all – of these ingredients already in your kitchen.

Let’s celebrate the simple, flavorful additions we all can have access to on any budget.

Use homemade broth for better flavor 

It seems that we are always talking about broth here at The Nourishing Gourmet. It is just so good that we just can’t keep sharing about it! Chicken stock is my favorite of all broths. It is light, delicate and the perfect base for soup, stews, stir frys and sauces. It’s considered a cornerstone of many cuisines because of it’s wonderful flavor. And who hasn’t been told to eat a bowl of chicken noodle soup to cure a cold? It’s often called the “Jewish Penicillin” because of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals found in it.

Homemade broth (stocks) are essential for making delicious and nourishing soups (Kimi wrote a whole book on soups and broths). They are easy to make and are a way for you to use up kitchen scraps that might have otherwise been tossed. Have you ever used a can or carton of broth from the store? Not only are they expensive but they also lack flavor. If that is what you are used to, I understand that you probably see nothing wrong with the flavor as our palates get used to certain flavors. Unfortunately broth from the store not only lacks flavor and nutrients found in the bones but it also has unnecessary added ingredients like sugar.

You can make a delicious chicken broth practically for free when you use bones and vegetable scraps. You can also follow this method for using whole pieces of chicken and vegetables which is still a more fugal and flavorful option than buying the pre-made verity.

Adding flavor with spices

The world of spices add variety and tremendous flavor to dishes. It can be as simple as a grind of pepper over chicken, to multi-spice curry creations. Many, many spices have also been found to hold incredible health and healing benefits, showing us once again how our tongue can guide us to good eating habits.

Spices found in the jars on the shelves of your local supermarket are a bit lackluster. By the time they’ve made it to your humble abode they can be void of flavor, potency and nutrition. When possible, it is best to buy high quality whole spices in bulk and grind/grate them yourself. One excellent company to buy spices and herbs from is our affiliate, Mountain Rose Herbs. (Kimi notes: I just found a bag of dried peppermint I bought from them several years ago, and it’s still incredibly flavorful! They have some of the freshest herbs and spices I’ve ever bought.)

There are some spices I prefer to buy whole in bulk and others I tend to buy pre-ground. When it comes to some spices such as cinnamon I keep both the whole sticks and ground on hand. (When you are searching for cinnamon be sure to purchase Ceylon and not cassia.) A few pre-ground spices I buy are curry powders, turmeric and cumin.

Dishes such as curries and many Indian dishes benefit from frying the spices for a few minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. It brings out a fragrant smell and rich flavor that would other wise be missing. Two great example of this technic are this garam marsala lentil soup with coconut milk and this simple Indian daalh (lentil) dish.


Adding flavor with fresh herbs

I love fresh herbs! I try to keep some of my favorite growing year round in my garden. If it’s too cold to grow herbs outside year round or if you don’t have space try growing a few small pots of herbs like basil, peppermint and oregano on a window seal. They add a complexity of flavor that is lacking in dried herbs. Adding add a bit of freshly chopped herbs on top dishes like this nourishing Thai noodle soup or fresh garden pasta give the dish added nutrition, flavor and beauty.

Adding flavor with traditional fats

Healthy fats are must in a nourishing diet for health, but  they are also important flavor components. I love olive oil, pastured/raw butter and coconut oil like any other real foodie. Sadly they can be a bit pricey even in bulk. I count myself blessed to live in a Mediterranean climate so I am able to buy local olive oil for a reasonable price.

When I think of frugal fats I am immediately dawn into my grandma’s kitchen. I can see her pull her tin can out of the small cupboard by her stove that she used to to save leftover grease from frying bacon or sausage. Nothing went to waste. Back then I was squeamish over the thought, but now I see the wisdom she had. Whenever I make chicken stock I also skim the fat off the top after it is cooled. I buy pork fat to render my own lard. The best tamales and refried beans are made with fresh lard. There is a depth of flavor that just can’t be beat. If I’m roasting beef bones I scoop off the fat after it’s cooled to make tallow. If you have never tasted french fries made in tallow and sprinkled with real salt then you are missing out!  Let’s not forget popcorn popped in a little bacon grease! To die for! If you ever have eaten much low-fat food, you know the lose of flavor that happens. Keeping healthy, traditional fats in our diets allows us not only to fill our body’s fat needs, but also makes our food absolutely delicious.

Adding flavor with unrefined salt

Yes, you heard me right, salt. It is that simple ingredient that allows a dish to shine. Once again, if you have ever eaten low-salt or saltless foods, you know much we rely on salt for well balanced flavor in our food. I tend to be a bit heavy handed on the salt shaker (actually I have a salt well) but I’m not that worried about it since I use a mineral rich high quality salt, Redmond’s Real Salt. Another excellent brand is Celtic Sea Salt or HimalaSalt. The body needs salt. Just a pinch (or few) goes a long way in adding drawing out the flavors in your dishes.

It’s easy in our modern days to take salt for granted, but wars were fought in the past over access to salt because it was traditionally held in such high regard. Our bodies need salt for health, and our food is more vibrant in flavor when well salted. It makes the sweet, sweeter, the spice, spicier, and is needed for a well balanced dish.

Adding flavor with onions and garlic

I cook with onions and garlic almost everyday. They are a simple, frugal, and delicious way to add flavor to dishes. I use them in salsa, stir fries, pasta, soups – you get the idea. Unless I am using them in salsa,  I normally saute the onions and garlic in a bit of fat and sprinkle with with salt. They add a delicious taste that can’t be achieved in with raw. Caramalized onions take extra time but they are worth the effort to add that extra special touch to a dish. Both onions and garlic lay down a flavorful foundation for many dishes, from a simple salad dressing, to a complex stew. Don’t overlook the simple, frugal things in your pantry that, when proper used, add depth of flavor, and make your food shine.


10 Reasons Homemade Broth Should Be Part of Your Diet


I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

10 reasons broth should be a regular part of your diet

The Jewish penicillin, the gut-healing golden liquid, the frugal kitchen’s star, the gourmet’s canvas, healthy homemade broths and stocks are incredibly worthy of your time, and certainly worthy to be on your table.

I know that I circle around to how great homemade broth is a lot on this blog , but could I really ignore the topic in my 21 steps to a nourishing diet series? Absolutely not! Considering that I am the type of person to write an entire book on soups ( affiliate link),  you better believe that I think that broth’s are valuable.

Today I thought I’d gather together ten great reasons making broth should be high in your priorities when switching to a nourishing diet. And don’t worry. Broth making  is one of the easiest methods to learn in the kitchen. I have a couple links at the end of this post for recipes.

1. Homemade broth is delicious!

Homemade broths (stocks) have been the cornerstone of many different traditional diets, and have been held  in high regard for their health promoting aspects and how delicious they make food. Not only can you make delicious hot soups (who doesn’t like Chicken Noodle Soup?!), but you can also use them for delicious sauces, to moisten stir fried dishes, and even use them in gravies! I made a dairy-free sausage gravy with homemade chicken broth the other day, and it was delicious. The point it this,  we can find many delicious ways to use broth.

2. Making broth respects the death of an animal

We have chosen not to be vegan as we feel that animal products are necessary for our health and well being. But that doesn’t mean we take the death of animals lightly. We respect and honor their sacrifice. One of the ways we do that is by making sure that all parts of the animal are used. When making broth, you are making sure that none is being wasted.

3. Homemade broth is a frugal practice

Do you like making roasted chicken or chicken drumstick dishes? Absolutely save those bones for homemade broth! I can squeeze so many more meals out of a strict grocery budget when I am making broths and using them in meals. Beef broth is also frugal to make. To take frugal to the next level, reuse the bones following this method, or my own version of it in my cookbook, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for all Seasons. (aff link)

4. Homemade broths made with bones are a good source of minerals, including calcium

When you make broths in slightly acidic water (by the addition of vinegar) and slow cook it for hours, the minerals in the bones start drifting into the broth creating a mineral rich food for you. The higher the bone-to-water ratio, the more mineral rich it will be. Since we have found that we can’t rely on dairy for calcium, homemade broths fit the bill nicely for us. Some may remember that soup made with homemade broth was part of Dr. Price’s body and teeth building protocol. 

5. Homemade broths are a good source of proline

Proline could help support our nervous system, and is being researched as a possible treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, meaning it could help protect our brains! Some are considering it an essential amino acid.

6. The glycine in broth could help with detoxification

As was explained so well in The Healing Power of Broth, “Another vital function [of glycine] is detoxification. The human body requires copious amounts of glycine for detoxification after exposure to chemicals…”

Unfortunately, we are often exposed to chemicals in our environment. Regular servings of high quality broth could help our bodies deal with that real stress.

7. Glycine in broth could help your digestion

Once again quoting, The Healing Power of Broth, “Glycine also helps digestion by enhancing gastric acid secretion. Research published in 1976 established that only proteins stimulate gastric acid secretion, but apparently not all amino acids do so. Glycine is one of those that do, a fact that was known in 1925.”

I’m sure that many of you have heard of the research showing how abnormal our stomach acid levels are. Glycine (and more broadly) the gelatin in broth could help balance that out for us, which is vital for proper digestion, and gut health. Gut issues are really much more common than many know. Because so much of our health starts in the gut (even our bodies ability to respond to allergens!), keeping out gut healthy is vital, and homemade broth is full of elements that are gut healthy – one being glycine.

8. Gelatin in homemade broth helps you digest protein from meat and plant sources

Homemade broth can be a wonderful source of natural gelatin, which has many benefits. One of which is that it was found to increase the digestion of protein from wheat, oats, barley, beans, and meat. If you are on a stricter budget that doesn’t allow higher amounts of protein foods, homemade broth or gelatin could help you absorb and use more of the protein you do eat!

9. Homemade broth is an excellent food for those recovering from illness

Homemade broth was especially valued for those who were sick traditionally, and some studies did show that those who consumed gelatin (one of the main parts of broth) did indeed heal and recover faster. Ever wonder why Jello was served so often at hospitals? Now you know (and I would actually eat it if it was made with fruit juice or kombucha!).

10. Homemade broth is a rich source of a variety of nutrients

There is always a danger in turning to supplements of this or that for healing and nutrition. A single substance could have many benefits, but it is also more likely to have side effects or throw out of balance other nutrients in the body. However, when eating them in food form, other balancing nutrients are also present. This allows the body to be well nourished across the board, instead of simply getting high doses of one thing. Homemade broth is an excellent source of many important minerals, amino acids, and health building gelatin, and as such, can be an excellent addition to your diet.

Posts on Making Broth: