★★★★★

Bloody Rats and Bones (Meatloaf and Breadsticks)

Who said Meatloaf is boring? Surprise your family with some Bloody Rats Meatloaf this Halloween and nobody will call your meatloaf boring ever again! Don’t forget a side of Bones in the form of Parmesan Garlic Breadsticks!

Don’t miss my classic meatloaf recipe for a perfect weeknight dinner all year long. I also recently shared an Instant Pot Meatloaf that’s easy and ready in minutes!

Mini meatloaves with bbq glaze shaped like rats for Halloween.

Why this Recipe is Best

It’s time to make a delicious Halloween dinner. Or April Fool’s day. Or, if you’re Survivor fans like my family, a Wednesday night dinner idea.

These delicious mini-meatloaves look like rats on a plate! This is not the recipe to serve your grandma but the kids LOVE it and it’s a ton of fun. You could also leave off the rat-like garnishes and make this meatloaf any time of year!

This meatloaf is the perfect blend of savory seasoned meat with a hint of sweetness and tang. I love the cheesy addition of the cheddar baked right into the loaves.

If your idea of meatloaf conjures memories of dry, bland slices from the school cafeteria, rest assured this meatloaf is NOTHING like that. Juicy and flavorful, these mini loaves are topped with a tasty blend of ketchup, mustard and brown sugar for tangy sweetness.

This recipe makes 12 rats (or mini meatloaves). Each one is the perfect portion size for my hungry eaters. But, you can also freeze these after baking if you prefer. Or divide the recipe in half. Or invite over a bunch of rat eating friends. Your call.

But whatever you do, don’t forget the bones. The garlic parmesan breadsticks are the perfect complement to this meal. And with a can (or two) or Pillsbury crescent rolls, they whip up in a jiffy!

Breadsticks twisted into a bone shape and topped with garlic parmesan.

Ingredient Notes

The core element of this recipe–the meatloaf–can be made with or without the “ratty” garnishes.

These key ingredients make the meatloaves so good:

  • Ground beef – Grab a few pounds of ground beef when it’s on sale to stash in the fridge and freezer. This recipe stretches the ground beef nicely giving you the ultimate bang for your buck!
  • Cheddar cheese – Use sharp, mild or extra sharp depending on your taste preferences!
  • Seasonings – A little onion and garlic powder go a long way! You can adjust the herbs and spices in this recipe to suit your needs.

Today we’re talking about how to turn ordinary meatloaf into something fun! To turn this into Bloody Rats Meatloaf, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Peas or green olives – I use these to give “eyes” to my little rats!
  • Green onions – Slice them thinly to add tails.
  • Crescent roll – A package of crescent roll dough along with some garlic, butter and cheese makes perfect “bones” to round out the meal.
Meatloaf and Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks transform into a goulish dinner: Bloody Rats and Bones! #halloween #aprilfools

Step by Step Instructions

STEP 1. Prepare the meatloaf

Combine the beef with oats, cheese, milk, eggs and seasonings. Mix with your hands to combine completely.

Shape the mixture into 12 equal sized ovals and place on a prepared rimmed baking sheet.

STEP 2. Toppings

To make rats, press the peas or green olives in to the front of each loaf to make eyes and add the green onion to the back as a tail.

Whisk together ketchup, mustard and brown sugar, then spoon the topping over each meatloaf.

STEP 3. Bake

Bake the meatloaves for 40 – 45 minutes.

STEP 4. Make the breadsticks (“bones”)

While the meatloaves are baking, unwrap the crescent rolls from the package. Roll each triangle into a rope shape, tying knots on the end to form bones.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 11 – 13 minutes. Meanwhile, combine melted butter with garlic and salt.

Remove the bread sticks from the oven and brush each one with the butter mixture. Sprinkle a handful of Parmesan over all the bread sticks while they’re still warm.

STEP 5. Serve

To serve, place 1 or 2 meatloaves on a plate along with 1 or 2 bones (depending on how hungry you are!).

Tips & Tricks

  • If you’re not going with a spooky Halloween theme, just bake the crescent rolls according to package directions, jazzing them up with the garlic butter and parmesan cheese! You can also just swap them out for my favorite dinner roll recipe.
  • The mini meatloaves store well in the freezer! If you have more than you can eat at once, feel free to toss the rest in the freezer after baking. I love freezing meatloaf in mini loaf form so you can just remove as many as you want without having to reheat an entire pan.
Meatloaf and Garlic Parmesan Breadsticks transform into a goulish dinner: Bloody Rats and Bones! #halloween #aprilfools

Recipe FAQs

Can meatloaf be made with ground turkey?

Definitely! I prefer the flavor of the ground beef for more of a classic meatloaf taste but ground turkey would be good too.

How do you store leftover meatloaf?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days. Or freeze them in freezer safe bags for up to 2 months! I’d reheat them in the oven for best texture. They also make great sandwiches.

Are these only for Halloween?

Nope! The rat theme is a fun surprise for April Fool’s day or anytime you want to have a little fun with your family. You can also leave off the rat eyes and tail and make these as regular, delicious little meatloaves!

Favorite Halloween Recipes

PS. If you try this recipe, please leave a STAR rating in the recipe card below. I love your feedback! Connect with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Yield: serves 12

Bloody Rats and Bones (Meatloaf and Breadsticks)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Who said Meatloaf is boring? Surprise your family with some Bloody Rats Meatloaf this Halloween and nobody will call your meatloaf boring ever again! Don't forget a side of Bones in the form of Parmesan Garlic Breadsticks!

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup quick cook oatmeal
  • 2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 24 peas (or green olives), for eyes
  • 12 thins sliced green onions, for tails

For the breadstick "bones":

  • 2 pkg Crescent Rolls
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. For the meatloaf, combine the ground beef with salt, onion, garlic, oats, cheddar, milk and eggs. Mix with your hands in a large bowl until thoroughly blended.
  2. Shape into 12 ovals on two large baking sheets (with 1inch  sides). If making rats, press peas in the front as eyes, and onion in the back as tails.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Spoon over meatloaf.
  4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes.
  5. For the bread, unroll each package of crescent rolls and separate the triangles. Gently roll each triangle into your hand, into a small rope. Carefully tie a knot at the ends of each rope. Place "bones" onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. (If you are not making bones, just roll up your crescents as package directs). Bake in a 375 degree oven for 11-13 minutes.
  6. While baking, whisk together the melted butter with garlic and salt. Brush over hot rolls after removing them from the oven and generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  ENJOY

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 757Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 901mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 19gSugar: 35gProtein: 46g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Say goodbye to the boring meatloaf of yesteryear. Get creative in the kitchen with Bloody Rats and Bones Meatloaf!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on October 26, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. Hi, Neat post. There is an issue along with your web site in web explorer, might test this? IE still is the marketplace chief and a big portion of folks will pass over your excellent writing due to this problem.

  2. Aimme I love this idea. Meatloaf is just so comforting and perfect for Autumn and you totally spookified it! (is that a word? It’s telling me it’s not but you get me) What a festive dinner for Halloween!

  3. Well, you know I am going to HAVE to make this for my boys, right Aimee? Just perfect for Halloween! Pinned!

  4. What a fun recipe, Aimee! I’ve always loved fun Halloween foods and this is just perfect! It is almost too scary to eat!

  5. You are a brave, creative soul, Aimee. I would be afraid of my family’s reaction if I set these on the dinner table. But then again, Halloween is supposed to gross and daring, right! Pinned!

  6. This is gonna sound weird, given the rat factor, but this is so cute! I love this idea! And it’s too delicious as well. Nicely done!

  7. Well, this definitely isn’t a shugary sweet! Love how you tossed aside SEO for this post:) My family will love these bloody rats and breadstick bones are always welcome at our house! Very creative…

  8. I can’t decide if I love this or am totally grossed out! A little of both I think… Which is exactly what Halloween is all about! So creative!!

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