Monday, September 15, 2014

Food Wot Must Be Eaten: Turkey Meatloaf

So, this is the first in what may come to be a regular staple here. I'm no chef. I've had no training...professional, formal or informal. I just know what I like, I know how to Google, and I've developed a knack for tweaking recipes to suit my tastes. I typically try to eat healthy, so many of the dishes I cook are typically conducive to an active lifestyle. Others are completely loaded with fat and sugar because you only have this life to live, you deserve something melty and gooey every now and then.

I came across a recipe for turkey meatballs a while back, and decided that while it sounded good I'm not big into spaghetti. However, meatballs really aren't that far off from meatloaf so it didn't take a lot to convert this to a larger scale main dish. I typically serve with green beans and cottage cheese, but your tastes may vary. Here is an approximation of the nutritional information. I'm no dietitian, but I think it's close based on the ingredients:

  • Serving Size: 4 oz
  • Recipe makes: 8 servings
  • 160 cal
  • 4g fat
  • 8g carb
  • 22g protein

And, here's the list of ingredients you'll need:

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp dry yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves, minced)
  • 1 small onion (or 1 cup, chopped)
  • 1 cup green/red peppers, chopped

I like mine to have a little heat, but your taste may vary. There's absolutely nothing wrong with substituting chili powder, oregano, cilantro, or whatever your spice of choice may be. Or, throw in a tablespoon of cayenne instead...but don't say I didn't warn you. I did that with my first batch and couldn't get through a serving without getting the hiccups. Also, if you have access to a Schnucks, you might be able to find their fresh-made pico de gallo. I will often use this in place of the onion and peppers, as it adds an aroma and flavor that is beyond words to describe.

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Add the onion and peppers (or other vegetable mix of choice) and toss slightly. Pour in the egg whites, then add the turkey. Here's where things start to suck. You're going to mix everything together by hand, kneading the mixture together like dough until you have a good sticky mess. It's also going to be cold. Like north pole cold. When your hands start to sting and go slightly numb, you've probably got a good mix. Seriously, once everything is evenly blended you're good to go. Don't over-mix...you can actually damage the meat and it'll come out all shoe-leathery and gross. Transfer the mix to an oven-safe pan. I like to use a 9.25" x 5.25", 2.75" deep bread pan.

It's important to note here that you'll be handling uncooked eggs and poultry, both of which can be a breeding ground for salmonella. After you've transferred your meatloaf to the pan, make sure to thoroughly clean up your prep area: wipe up and scrub any spills, throw away any trash (especially the turkey containers and any eggshells), and wash your dishes (or place them in the sink/dishwasher). Finally, thoroughly wash your hands. Seriously, Salmonellosis really, really sucks but it's easy to prevent and you'll regret not taking precautions if you catch it.

Finally, pre-heat your oven to 375F and bake for ~40 minutes. If you have a food thermometer, the internal temperature should be 170F once finished. Let it stand for 5 minutes or so (it'll be blazing hot) before cutting. Some people like to top meatloaf with ketchup...I do NOT. Mine typically comes out nice and moist, and I'd rather taste the flavors of the seasoning than be overpowered by tomato goop.

So there you have it. I make this at least a couple times a month and I absolutely love it. Hope you enjoy it as well.

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