Browsing articles tagged with " Turkey"

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf with Caramelized Onions

TAW96760 I happen to think that meatloaf is pretty high up there on the comfort food scale. It’s kind of like mac n’ cheese or mashed potatoes. When you eat it you just feel good. I’ll be the first to admit though that meatloaf can be…well…kind of boring. It’s one of those dishes that I would never order in a restaurant for fear that it might be tasteless, or dry, or just down right bad tasting. At home though, it’s a different story. I consider myself somewhat of a meatloaf aficionado and over the years I’ve perfected my meatloaf recipe to the point where I can now proudly declare this to be the Best Meatloaf Ever. I know it’s a bold claim to make, but I stand by it. What makes this meatloaf so special, besides the topping of gooey cheese and candy-sweet caramelized onions, is the addition of lots of veggies. Sounds weird right? I mean it’s called meatloaf, not vegetable loaf. Stick with me though- I promise this will be good. The veggies in the meatloaf serve three purposes. First, they add moisture, second they add flavor, and third they add the ever important healthy bits. The last part is especially important the next day when your eating a huge slab of meatloaf in between two pieces of thick bread…and oops now you’re too full for salad. No big deal- the veggies are already in the loaf!TAW96614
I’ve tried all sorts of different veggie combinations in my meatloaf. Zucchini, spinach, green beans, peas, corn, you name it, it’s gone in meatloaf. In the end I always come back to the simple pairing of carrot and sweet red pepper.This combo provides just the right amount of moisture and as a bonus it adds a nice punch of color to what would otherwise be just a boring brown loaf. I also add a bit of flat leaf parsley if I have it on hand because I like its mild peppery flavor…it also rounds out the color spectrum quite nicely. I used to cook the veggies before I added them to the meat, but over the years I’ve learned that if you chop them up fairly small (especially the carrots) and add them raw they will cook inside the loaf and infuse the meat with juicy vegetable goodness. TAW96630
The other trick to a winning meatloaf- a free formed loaf. Traditionally meatloaf is cooked inside a bread loaf pan. While this method does yield a perfectly shaped loaf, it also means that you have to cook the meatloaf longer (increasing the chance it could dry out) and it eliminates the delicious extra “crust” that results from the free form method. I’ve found that if you cook your loaf in a baking pan just a bit bigger than loaf itself (about a 1-inch border of space around the edge) the air circulates around the meat allowing it to cook evenly and creating a tasty crisp exterior all around. TAW96659 Now  for the topping. This meatloaf is quite excellent on it’s own. It really doesn’t need a thick layer of melted cheese and sweet onions to be delicious. But let’s face it, good food is almost never about need and almost always about want. And you WANT these onions. If I had my way caramelized onions would be packaged and sold as candy. Sweet, oniony candy that I want to eat by the bowlful. Okay, that’s a little strange I admit, but what I’m trying to say is that even on their own caramelized onions rock and when combined with cheese and meatloaf…well words alone can’t describe the perfection of this combination. Yes, making the caramelized onions is an extra step- a 40 minutes extra step- but totally worth it. I promise.TAW96702 TAW96780

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Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie

Pot Pie
What’s the best part of the day after Thanksgiving? The memories of a day filled with good food and even better company? The black Friday deals that you slogged out at midnight to score? How about the LEFTOVERS? No matter how much you stuffed yourself yesterday, and even if you had to unbutton your pants at the table and swore you would never eat again, come Friday morning you will inevitably be dreaming of turkey sandwiches smothered in leftover mashed potatoes and dripping with gravy. Or pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream, or Aunt Sally’s fluffy homemade biscuits smeared with cranberry sauce. Oh yum, I am getting hungry all over again! In my opinion though, the ultimate leftover meal has got to be pot pie. You can use leftover turkey, throw in whatever vegetables you have, and maybe even top it with leftover rolls. I know, I know, you spent all day yesterday cooking and the last thing you want to do is make an elaborate pot pie. But wait…making a pot pie doesn’t have to be a complicated affair. I’ve been making variations of this recipe for years and it’s rare that it takes much more than an hour to make, cooking time included. The beauty of the pot pie is just how versatile it is. The basic ingredients are chicken or turkey and vegetables. That’s it. While I am partial to potatoes, carrots, celery and peas, I have been known to add sweet potatoes, parsnip, turnip, various kinds of squash, broccoli, or green beans. Basically, use what you have or what you like, even if it’s just a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. I hate to brag, but I am a bit famous for my pot pie. It could be because I make a mean pot pie superior to all others, but I think the real reason is because I actually make pot pie. Well, I am here to tell you right now that you too can make a pot pie. Slice up some of that leftover turkey, mix in some veggies and whip up a biscuit topping. You will be pleasantly surprised by just how easy it is. Happy leftover day everyone.TAW71907


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