I love comfort food and when the summer weather gives way to cooler autumn nights I'm firing up my comfort food recipes. One of my favorite comfort foods is meat loaf. I know this is not the most visually appealing food and it doesn't bring the creamy-goodness of macaroni and cheese but I love meat loaf. If you have been reading this blog you know that I generally try to eat healthy in both the caloric sense but also heart-healthy. For that reason, red meat is a rare treat in my world. I will give you my recommendations for how to get the best bang for your buck with this recipe.
I have made this turkey meat loaf for several years and I still love it as much today as I did the first time I made it. Now there is one major problem with turkey meat loaf namely that it has the propensity to be dry. Fear not I have a solution - grating veggies into the loaf mixture. Enough of my ramblings, let's get on with the show.
Choose a ground turkey of your choice. I used 99% fat free ground turkey. If your goal is to make a healthier meat loaf my recommendation is to use a similar grade of ground turkey, often ground poultry can be just as high in fat and calories as beef so pay attention to the label.
Also, grate the veggies. I used zucchini and onion. I bet carrots would be fabulous as well.
This is the fun part, mixing in all the other goodies. As you can see I prefer oatmeal in my meatloaf. If you prefer bread crumbs I recommend the whole wheat variety. I really love oatmeal in my meatloaf. First, I think it's a heartier grain. Second, it's a whole grain (read: heart healthy). I know some people love white bread soaked in milk but give this version a try and you will not be disappointed. Also, how yucky is that mental picture of milk-soaked white bread? Blech.
Next, the eggs. Because turkey meat loaf requires grated veggies that are chocked full of water and then oatmeal to balance the amount of moisture I use two whole eggs to help bind it. If you prefer I think egg whites would work. However, because it's so low in fat I use the whole egg. A little extra fat will help you feel satisfied when you eat it.
Finally, my favorite part...the ketchup! I have a serious problem/love affair when it comes to ketchup. Also, that is what makes meatloaf a meatloaf! So pour a little in until you think there is enough and then squirt a little extra in for good measure. You will not be disappointed.
Spray the bottom of the pan with nonstick cooking spray and plop in the meatloaf. Form the familiar loaf shape. Top it off with glorious KETCHUP!
Pop it in the oven preheated to 350 degrees for about an hour.You'll want to check on it depending on how thick you make your loaf. Because we're cooking poultry here it needs to be thoroughly cooked.
I do not play around with this and use an instant read thermometer making sure it reads 165. When this puppy came out it was around 159 or so and continued to rise in temperature until it landed squarely on 165 - how perfect is that?
Now on to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I served some roasted root vegetables along side of the loaf, specifically carrots, parsnips, and sweet potato. Also, I confess I added more ketchup to this slice after I took a picture. Lest you think my love of ketchup waned. I wanted you to know the full extent of my problem.
I hope you love it as much as I do!
1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey
1 medium zucchini grated
1 small onion grated
1 cup oatmeal
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste
ketchup for topping
nonstick cooking spray
Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and preparing the baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Use a box grater to grate the zucchini and onion.
Combine turkey, zucchini, onion, eggs, oatmeal, ketchup, and salt and pepper in medium bowl. With clean hands mix until combined being careful not to over mix.
Transfer mixture to baking pan and form into loaf. Top with ketchup.
Bake for 1 hour or until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees.