Mini Turkey Meatloaves

Mini Turkey Meatloaf

First of all, let’s be real… Meatloaf just is not pretty (and it’s not easy to make pretty in pictures). But trust me when I say that this meatloaf is damn tasty and super fast and easy to make, which makes it basically a perfect main course. I’ve made this a couple times  now and it’s still as good as the first. I tend to not like extra lean ground meat. It usually seems to dry, but with this recipe extra lean turkey worked perfectly. You get a lot of moisture with the sauce you add in to the mix and it does not turn out dry.

Speaking of sauce… I highly recommend Trader Joe’s pasta sauces. As far as jarred sauces go they are my personal favorite. The Roasted Garlic and Arrabiata are my two favorites.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves
From  Better Home & Gardens

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup jarred pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I used Kinnikinnick GF Panko Crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped if large
  • 1 1/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium saucepan bring lightly salted water to boiling. In a large bowl combine egg, 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the basil, and salt. Add beef and 1/2 cup of the cheese; mix well. Divide beef mixture into four equal portions. Shape each portion into a 5-1/2×2-inch oval loaf. Place loaves onto a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Spoon on remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature registers 170 degrees F.

Hearty Turkey Meatball Stew

Hearty Meatball Stew

I don’t know where to begin with this one… The vegetables, amazing. The meatballs, fantastic. The whole meal, absolutely delicious.

The vegetables cook down in to this phenomenal ratatouille-like stew. I would have been more than happy with the vegetables alone. I am definitely planning on making them again in the future for a delicious vegetarian supper. Meatballs aren’t something I normally get excited about, but these were better than any other meatballs I’ve ever had.

Hearty Turkey Meatball Stew (adapted from Food Network)

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (I used Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko crumbs with Italian seasoning added)
  • 20 ounces extra lean ground turkey
  • 4 sweet mild Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Stew
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF Mix)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound large white mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/3-inch slices
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  1. For the meatballs: Add the breadcrumbs, turkey, sausage, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture thoroughly with your hands or a flexible spatula. Form the mixture into 16 to 22 meatballs. Arrange the meatballs on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until ready to use.
  2. For the stew: Sprinkle the meatballs with the flour and turn to coat with any flour still on the baking sheet. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Drop the meatballs into the skillet, spaced apart. Cook until the bottoms are set and brown, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible thin spatula, turn each meatball onto an uncooked side and cook until the bottoms are set and brown, about 2 minutes longer. Turn and cook a third side, until set and brown, about another 2 minutes, so the meatballs are browned and set all over. Transfer the meatballs to a large plate. Repeat until you have browned all the meatballs
  3. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, peppers, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook until soft, 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, red pepper flakes and broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until the potatoes are tender and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

It’s Thanksgiving!

Now that silly birthday things are out of the way, it’s time to get down to some very serious business.

IT’S THANKSGIVING!

Well, almost, but it’s my favorite holiday of the year, so I take it very seriously. I am also more than a little peeved about the unnecessary encroachment of halloween and Christmas on T-giving’s turf. Back up off my favorite holiday, yo!

I have a habit of not being in America for great American holidays, but in no way does that put a damper on the celebration. I’m actually pretty excited to be in the States for this Thanksgiving, because the last few years, I’ve kind of been all over the place… This one year I was on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, then I was in Budapest, the next year I was in Italy, then the year after I was in London and cooking for 25 with 1 oven and a raging case of meningitis, and then I was back in Budapest again and I nearly burnt down a really important historic building owned by the US Government. True story.

My preliminary planning for Thanksgiving may or may not have begun in February of this year… Stop it right now! Don’t you dare judge me. It’s called enthusiasm!

Like every family, we have our own traditions and favorite dishes, but I always like to try out a couple new dishes every year as well. Regardless of where in the world I’ve been or who I’ve been cooking for, I have a couple steadfast rules and traditions on which I will not budge.

  • There will be cornbread stuffing and it will be awesome
  • There will be no canned cranberry sauce (unless Lauren is there and only then)
  • There will be no canned cream of something soup anywhere near my green beans
  • Turkey is not that big a deal
  • If you want pumpkin pie, you can make it yourself, pecan is where it’s at
  • And most importantly keep the g.d. celery away from the stuffing! (celery makes me want to punch things)
So, all that being said, let’s talk menu. There are some things that will always be on my menu, some things will come and go. Here’s a look at how this year’s menu is shaping up:
  • World Famous Cornbread Cranberry Stuffing
  • Dried Cherry Cranberry Sauce
  • Horseradish and Chive Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole w Madeira Mushrooms
  • Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic and Shallots
  • Some kind of turkey
  • Pecan Pie
This week, I’m going to share some other recipes that would also make for a great Thanksgiving.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onion & Chipotle Turkey Chili

This is a recipe I made up the other day. It was part out of ingredients I needed to use up and part out of just what I was in the mood for. I had an opened can of chipotles to use up. I also had to use up some ground turkey. And I was just in the mood for caramelized onions. I decided to try to combine them and see where it took me.

The good thing about made up recipes, is that you sometimes end up with something great. The bad thing is that I don’t really have exact measurements. But that’s really not a problem. You know your tastes. I know mine. Just use whatever you think is going to make you happy; regardless, it’s going be delicious.

This recipe is probably a little more labor intensive than most other slow cooker recipes, but I really think it’s worth it. I diced up two onions very finely and caramelized them. When they were nice and brown and caramelized, I threw half in the crockpot and left half in the pan. Then I added in the garlic and ground turkey to brown. The turkey and the caramelized onions got all nice and friendly in the pan and I think this really added to the flavor of the chili. While the chili was cooking away, I caramelized a third onion because I’m a bit crazy. When the third onion was almost done caramelizing, I added in some of the adobo sauce from the can of chipotles. Oh my. I could have  eaten the entire pan of onions by themselves, right then and there. They were amazing and definitely made a great topping to the chili.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onion & Chipotle Turkey Chili

  • 3 large onions, 2 finely diced, 1 finely sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed (or a 1 can measure of frozen corn)
  • 2-14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • 2-14.5 ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
  • 1-14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1-3 chipotles in adobo sauce, diced
  • Taco seasoning
  • Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Garlic & Herb Powder
  • Shredded cheese (for serving)
  • Sour cream (for serving)
  • Chopped green onions (for serving)
  1. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is heated, add two diced onions and caramelize. When onions are caramelized, put half of the onions in the crockpot, then add in garlic and turkey. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.
  2. While the onions and turkey are cooking, add the cans of tomatoes, beans, corn, chipotles and tomato sauce. When the turkey is browned add that to the crockpot. Take taco seasoning, chipotle powder and garlic powder and sprinkle up and down the length of the crockpot. Add in turkey.
  3. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  4. While chili is in crockpot, add third sliced onion to pan and caramelize. When onions are nearly done, add a couple spoonfuls of the adobo sauce from chipotles and finish caramelizing.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Sesame Encrusted Baked Turkey Tenders

I picked up some turkey tenders from Trader Joe’s and honestly I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Turkey tenders are about the size of a chicken breast, so it probably would have been easiest to cook them like a chicken breast, but I really wanted something a bit different.

I decided to cut down the turkey tenders a bit and try a chicken tender recipe. I probably should have cut the turkey a little smaller. While the turkey did turn out well, it certainly wasn’t the star of the meal. The coating, while nice and light, was definitely missing something. If I were to make it again, I would add garlic or onion powder to the sesame seeds, along with using something like sesame chili oil instead of regular sesame oil.

Sesame Encrusted Baked Turkey Tenders (adapted from SkinnyTaste.com)

  • 1 package of chicken or turkey tenders (cut turkey smaller if needed)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce or low sodium tamari
  • 6 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon course salt
  • 4 tablespoons panko crumbs (I used Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko Style Crumbs)
  • olive oil spray
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the sesame oil and soy sauce in a bowl, and the sesame seeds, salt, garlic powder and panko in another.
  3. Place turkey or chicken tenders in the bowl with the oil and soy sauce, then into the sesame seed mixture to coat well. Place on the baking sheet; lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray and bake 8 – 15 minutes. Turn over and cook another 4 – 5 minutes longer or until cooked through. – NOTE: cooking time will vary if you are using turkey or chicken and depending on the size of the tenders.