Turkey Meatloaf

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Hello summer! Before it gets too hot, let’s use the oven one more time for a tasty meal: meatloaf!

I remember dreading meatloaf growing up. It was exactly what it sounded. A loaf of dense, heavy, plain, icky meat. Since then, I discovered that we weren’t making it right. You just can’t throw a couple pounds of ground beef in a loaf pan, throw some oats or white bread pieces in it, pour some ketchup on top, and call it good. I have learned from the mistakes of others and understand how to make meatloaf more than a scary nostalgic dish. Meatloaf can be delicious. I promise.

Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs. Not only is she funny and personable, all of her recipes are amazing. This one is no exception. Her Turkey Meatloaf recipe is out of this world. I didn’t change a thing. My only complaint is that it takes over an hour to make, but it’s worth the wait. I do provide some tips on how to decrease the cooking time so read on.

Gather your ingredients.

Turkey Meatloaf

Preheat your oven. Chop up an onion, mince some fresh thyme and sage (please use fresh!), and grate some garlic. Heat up some olive oil in a large skillet, and add your onions, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Cook it until the onions are a bit soft. Add the garlic, cook for another minute, and then add the tomato paste and cook that for another minute. I really think that adding tomato paste adds a ton of flavor. Throw in some Worcestershire sauce. That adds a bunch of flavor too. Turn off the skillet and let this cool a bit so you don’t burn your hands later.

Turkey Meatloaf

In a bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs and broth. I like this combination more than using plain bread. The broth will prevent a dry meatloaf. Next, add your ground turkey (I prefer ground turkey with dark meat rather than ground white turkey), eggs, more salt and pepper, and your cooled onion mixture. The next part is messy. I can never manage to combine it with a spoon so just get your hands in there and mix it up until it’s just combined. The more your work the meatloaf, the tougher it’ll be, but you do want the ingredients well distributed.

Instead of using a loaf pan, form a loaf on a foil-lined baking sheet. Making multiple smaller loaves or mini loaves in cupcake tins will work too and cut down on the cooking time. Just make sure the meatloaf 165 degrees F in the center before calling it done. For this large meatloaf, cook it for at least an hour. This is a good time to watch some TV or catch up on your reading.

When it’s 165 degrees F in the center, pull it out and let it rest a bit. If you don’t wait, the slices will fall apart when you slice it. Enjoy with your favorite veggie and starch (maybe some green beans and mashed potatoes!). I put it on a bed of beans and rice. Sorry, but I had that in the fridge and wanted to use it up. I know, weird combination, but go with it. No one seemed to complain.

Turkey Meatloaf

So here’s the scoop. Yes, summer is approaching, but this meatloaf reminds me of Thanksgiving. The secret ingredients are the fresh thyme and sage. Mixing it with ground turkey is just like turkey dressing. Sometimes you just need something special and comforting before the heat pours in.

Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, sage, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the Worcestershire. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Add the panko to a large mixing bowl and pour over the chicken broth so the breadcrumbs soak up the liquid. Add the turkey, eggs, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the cooled onion mixture and mix well with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into a 10-by-5-inch loaf on the foil-lined baking sheet.
  • Put the meatloaf in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake until a thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf reads 165 degrees F, at least 1 hour. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Beef and Italian Sausage Meatloaf

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I’m always on the hunt for the world’s best meatloaf recipe. It’s a home-style classic that is making a comeback, but it’s different now. We will no longer settle for the dense, dry loaf of our youth. Meatloaf can be delicious!

The secret lies with a few tricks.

Meat. You cannot use lean ground beef alone. It’ll come out dry because there’s no fat in it. When it comes to meatloaf, fat is your friend. If you want to make a leaner meatloaf, try a combination of lean and not so lean meats. For example, use lean beef or ground chicken with ground sausage (like in the recipe I’m going to share with you).

Breadcrumbs. Your best meatloaf might not be Keto or low-carb friendly. Sorry, but someone needs to discuss these truths. I’m sure there are bread substitutes (like almond flour) you can try, but that’s not this recipe. Straight up breadcrumbs make meatloaf less dense and help to hold in the juices. Remember, you are making meatloaf, not a meatbrick. If you are watching your carbs, just eat less meatloaf and more salad.

Vegetables. Shhhh! Meatloaf is a great way to hide those veggies your picky eaters won’t touch with a 10-foot pole. It also adds a bunch of moisture when the veggies break down and cook. The key is to chop them really finely so no one notices them. They’ll make your meatloaf tasty. The breadcrumbs will capture the juices and do its thing.

Do not over mix. I actually have a difficult time following this one. My OCD comes out. I have a tendency to mix everything together a lot because I want it well blended. But over mixing messes with the texture and leaves you with tough, dry meatloaf. You should barely mix it. You’ll end up mixing it a little more when you add the vegetables and then again when you put it in the pan. Whatever you do, do not compress it in the loaf pan. Smooshing (a real word) makes it dense, which is exactly what you are trying to avoid.

I’m a fan of several meatloaf recipes. Let me count the ways. Ina Garten’s Meat Loaf, BA’s Meat Loaf with Barbecue Sauce, and The Pioneer Woman’s Meatloaf are good choices, although I’m not a fan of ketchup on meatloaf. I’d like to try BA’s Best Beef-and-Bacon Meatloaf, but I’m skeptical because bacon on meatloaf never seems to crisp up for me. If you want to try a leaner one with turkey, go for Giada’s Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I was impressed with the short cooking time of Sheet-Pan Glazed Meat Loaf and Blue Cheese Spinach Meat Loaf Muffins.

This recipe was inspired by The Spruce Eat. I needed to use up the leftover sausage from the Christmas dressing I made and this seemed like a perfectly good recipe to try out. I changed up the type of sausage to use and added a few tips for you. I was also surprised that they want you to pack the meat into a loaf pan, which is a big NO in my book.

Barely combine the meats, egg, and breadcrumbs. Remember, you’ll be mixing it again. Pulverize your canned tomatoes. I like to use a NutriBullet, but you can use a food processor or even chop it up with a knife. Chop up onion, garlic, and bell pepper into tiny pieces. Add these to a bowl along with your seasonings and cheese.

Beef and Italian Sausage Meatloaf

Mix it up with half of the tomatoes and meat mixture. Lightly press into a loaf pan.

Beef and Italian Sausage Meatloaf

Go find something fun to do while it bakes. Like make a bundt cake while watching HGTV. I know. I’m weird.

After an hour, spread the rest of the tomato mixture over the top of the meatloaf. I like it better than ketchup. There’s something not right about warm ketchup.

About 15 minutes later, pull it out of the oven and let it rest a bit like you would a steak. This helps keep the juices in. I did expect the tomato to brown a little, but it didn’t. and that’s okay.

Not your mom’s meatloaf. Better. But don’t tell her.

Beef and Italian Sausage Meatloaf
Beef and Italian Sausage Meatloaf

Beef and Italian Sausage Meatloaf

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 large egg slightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes divided
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 bell pepper any color, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly shredded

Instructions
 

  • Spray cooking oil in a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • In a large bowl, combine meats, egg, and breadcrumbs until barely blended.
  • Puree tomatoes in a food processor.
  • Add half of the tomatoes to the meat mixture. Then, add diced onion, minced garlic, diced pepper, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and shredded cheese to the meat mixture. Mix until barely blended.
  • Put meat mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.
  • Top with remaining tomatoes. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature is about 155F.
  • Allow the meatloaf to rest for about 5 minutes, slice, and serve.