Meatloaf has been around much longer than you might think. Though your great aunt Sally may claim to have made the first meatloaf ever, she might be hyperbolizing just a bit. It was popularized in the United States around the 1940s, but its origins may be from sometime during the Roman Empire. A meatloaf like recipe was found in Apicius, a Roman cookbook which was written in the 4th or 5th century. While meatloaf has seemingly been around for eons, it has taken on new forms in the last decade or so and has become more than a red meat entree. One of my favorite meatloaf recipes is ground turkey based, making it leaner, but without sacrificing flavor. We featured the versatility of ground turkey in a previous blog and talked about how it could be used for a variety of items including skillets, burgers and meatballs. I have made many dishes involving ground turkey, but the turkey meatloaf is by far my favorite to cook. It is juicy, filling, and explodes with flavor from ingredients such as barbecue sauce, onions, and garlic.
I altered this recipe a bit from one I found on Food.com to meet my liking. The main difference is the substitution of barbecue sauce for ketchup. As un-American as it may seem, I’m just not a fan of ketchup. My meatloaf version will prepare two servings, which is great at home for you and a family member. It is also a great item to include on your menu as an entrée to share, or the recipe can be increased if you prefer to serve slices or make smaller individual loaves. The great thing about cooking with ground turkey is that it is lean, so a hearty helping isn’t as bad for you as making a beef or pork version.
I like to serve my turkey meatloaf with either mashed potatoes or green beans. They both complement the fresh flavor of the entrée quite well. Also, keep in mind that not all ovens are created equally, so check on it periodically while it’s cooking and use an oven thermometer to check oven temperatures. These ingredients are pretty easy to attain during a routine visit to the grocery store. While many ground turkey packages are 1 pound, you’ll use a ½ pound in this recipe. I have made a 1 pound loaf and doubled the ingredients for a bigger crowd, as you can see through the photos. If you choose to make a ½ pound version, use the remaining turkey within a couple days. Try out some of these recipes from the Six Sisters’ Stuff blog.
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ cup of onion, chopped
1 ½ cloves of garlic, minced
½ pound ground turkey (I prefer extra lean. It is tastier and much better for you.)
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ egg (I use the egg white.)
1/3 cup barbecue sauce or ketchup
1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce (The Food.com recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce.)
1/3 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
After locating all your ingredients, the first thing you’re going to want to do is melt your tablespoon of butter or margarine in a skillet. The smaller the skillet the better off you will be, since you’re only going to prepare the onions and garlic in it. While sauteeing the onions and garlic in the margarine, make sure to stir occasionally so that they all receive adequate heat. Do this for about 5 minutes or until the onions become translucent. After you’re done with them, set them in a bowl to cool for another 5 minutes. At this time, preheat your oven to 350ºF.
While the onion/garlic mixture is cooling, combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, ¼ cup of the barbecue sauce (you’ll use the rest later), teriyaki sauce, salt, and pepper and mix them all together. If you find that it isn’t as thick as you’d like it to be, add a little more bread crumbs. After the onion and garlic mixture has cooled, add it to the meat mixture and mix a bit more. Remove meat mixture from the bowl and press it into a loaf shape. I cook my meatloaf on a baking sheet, because I prefer crispier edges. You can also use a loaf pan if you like juicier exterior. Spread the remaining barbecue sauce or ketchup on top of the loaf before putting it into the oven.
Bake the loaf in your oven at 350ºF for about 25 minutes. As I mentioned before, not all ovens operate exactly the same, so keep an eye on it during baking. A great way to monitor its cooking is with a meat thermometer. Once the loaf has an internal temperature of 165ºF, it is finished. When you find that it is done, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes to cool before serving. Most importantly, enjoy!