Meatloaf Muffins PICTURE: Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post.

Meatloaf makes a budget-friendly meal, but it takes a long time to bake; this version bakes in standard-size muffin pans, cutting the cooking time in half. 

That makes it a weeknight-friendly option, too. The muffins also are great as an after-school snack, served at room temperature. An instant-read thermometer is good for monitoring doneness.

The meatloaf muffins can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days or frozen, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 months.

Meatloaf Muffins (Serves 24)

680g mince

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup grated carrots (from 2 medium carrots, scrubbed well)

1/2 cup packed spinach leaves, finely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large eggs, beaten

Pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Lightly grease the wells of two muffin pans (12 each) with cooking oil spray.

Use a flexible spatula or your clean hands to gently combine the ground meat, oats, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, carrots, spinach, red bell pepper, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl until just incorporated.

Form the mixture into 24 large balls of equal size - an ice cream scoop can help - and place one in each muffin well, which should almost fill it.

Bake (middle rack) for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins are browned and the centre of each one registers an internal temperature of 73 degrees.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from nutrition consultant Casey Seidenberg of Nourish Schools.