Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Jack-Studded Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey meatloaf

Nothing says homey comfort food like a good meatloaf.  Though decidedly unsexy, meatloaf certainly delivers an almost unparalleled stick-to-your-ribs satisfaction.  What I love about this recipe is that not only is it better for you, it is also packed with flavor and cheesy goodness.  I’d even go so far as to say that I like this particular recipe better than my favorite beef/pork meatloaf.  What makes this turkey meatloaf so great is the variety of flavors it offers.  Though the ground turkey alone may seem boring, a bit of fresh Italian pork sausage, minced aromatics, freshly ground herbs, and creamy Monterey Jack cheese take it to a whole new level.  Plus, the leftovers make fantastic sandwiches or even makeshift meatballs when diced and added to marinara.

This recipe is yet another adaptation from Pure Flavor, one of my favorite cookbooks.  If you don’t already own a copy, go buy one.  You won’t regret it.

A few thoughts before you get cooking:

  • If you have a food processor, use it!    I use mine to make the fresh bread crumbs as well as mince the veggies.  I’m all about saving a few minutes when I can.
  • If you have a spice grinder or a small mortar and pestle, use it to grind up your herbs and spices.  Doing so will better release the flavors.
  • Like things on the mild side?  Feel free to reduce or omit the cayenne and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • To save about 50 calories per serving, use extra-lean ground turkey instead of lean.  The resulting loaf may be a tad drier, but all those minced veggies and cheese will help keep things moist.
  • I use Franz Made with Whole Wheat White Bread for the bread crumbs.  It adds a bit of fiber as well as some extra vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, to the loaf.

Jack-Studded Turkey Meatloaf
Serves 6

Ingredients

20 oz lean ground turkey
4 oz fresh Italian pork sausage, casing removed (or chicken sausage)
½  yellow onion, minced
½ celery stalk, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend (or a combo of dried oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8-¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs (I used Franz Made with Whole Wheat White)
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, diced small
1 egg

Place all ingredients except for the diced cheese and egg in a large mixing bowl.  Gently begin to mix your ingredients until well-combined, either by hand or with a couple forks.  Now mix in the cheese and egg until also combined.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and be sure there is some over-hang.  Now dump in your meatloaf mixture and press into the pan.  At this point, you can either cover up the top of your loaf with the plastic wrap over-hang and refrigerate until ready to cook, or else carry on with the rest of the recipe.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spritz with cooking spray.  If you had covered your loaf with the plastic wrap over-hang, pull this out of the way and then invert the whole lot onto your baking sheet.  Now peel off the plastic wrap and pop your meatloaf into the hot oven.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until an internal temperature reads 160 degrees.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Slice and serve!

Nutrition information per serving (1/6 of recipe): 330 calories, 18 g total fat, 8 g saturated fat, 13 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 25 g protein

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