As a kid, I never liked meatloaf. I don’t remember eating it frequently (probably because I just wouldn’t), but I do remember it sitting there on my plate staring at me. Meatloaf can be kind of bland and unappealing to kids, but it doesn’t have to be.
I use turkey in my meatloaf because not only is it healthier, but I tend to like the lighter texture of turkey over ground beef. Turkey does need a lot of flavor added to it though, and I don’t skimp on flavor in this recipe.
Another thing I love about my meatloaf recipe is that it freezes well and can easily be popped into the oven without thawing on those nights when you don’t want to cook. The mini meat loaves are nice to give to friends or relatives to freeze, too. I did this when my mother-in-law was out of commission after knee replacement surgery and she now makes my recipe. The small pans are just enough for one or two people.
Ingredients for one loaf pan or three mini meat loaves:
1 lb of ground turkey (not turkey breast only — it will be too dry)
1/2 a red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 a small yellow onion (about 1/2 cup) diced small
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/2 – 2/3 Cup breadcrumbs
3 slices of bacon *optional*
1/2 Cup ketchup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees If you plan to cook these immediately. Grease a glass loaf pan or three small mini loaf pans with cooking spray.
Sauté you veg in the olive oil over medium high heat for a 5-7 minutes to soften them, them set them aside to cool in a bowl.
After your veggies cool, add the remaining ingredients, except the ketchup and bacon, and mix together with your hands until everything is incorporated.
Divide into three sections if you are doing mini pans, or put in your large loaf pan. Smooth out the top of your loaf/loaves and cover each with an even layer of ketchup. You can’t have meatloaf without ketchup!
If you want to add bacon, add two or three slices lengthwise on the top of your pan(s). The bacon adds a great smokey flavor and crisps up some when you bake. I consider it acceptable since turkey is so lean, but you be the judge. Sometimes I just don’t have bacon on hand (the horror).
From here you can cover in plastic wrap and then in foil to freeze or bake in your preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees in the center.
If you freeze this recipe, it will take about an hour for frozen mini loaves and an hour and a half for a large frozen loaf at 350 degrees.
Serve this over creamy mashed potatoes. These are easy to make. Just peel and cut into chunks two russet potatoes and place them in salted boiling water. Let them boil approximately ten minutes until fork tender. Drain and put the potatoes back in the pot with 2 Tbs of butter, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 tsp of salt, some fresh ground black pepper, and 1-2 Tbs of milk. Mash this all together until smooth and adjust seasonings if needed. Delish and makes enough mashed potatoes for 2-4 people, depending on how much you like your taters!