Terrific Turkey Meatloaf

If you were to do a survey about the most popular comfort food, there’s a good chance that meatloaf would be near the top of the list. The No. 1 reason, perhaps, would be because of its versatility.

Typically, meatloaf is made of beef or pork, or a combination of those meats. But there are other versions of this American favorite that are just as tasty, including those that feature ground turkey.

Here’s a turkey meatloaf recipe, from the American Institute for Cancer Research, that’s made with a combination of dark and white meat, to ensure that it has minimal fat but maintains its moisture. Mushrooms and onion also help the meatloaf remain succulent.

And if you have leftovers, they can be easily warmed up and enjoyed again, or used to make a sandwich with cold slices.

Terrific Turkey Meatloaf
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
½ pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3/8 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 pounds ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)
¾ cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup ketchup
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms, add thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add Worcestershire, stock and tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a large mixing bowl combine turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs and onion-mushroom mixture. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf in shallow baking dish. Brush ketchup on top.
Bake 90 minutes or until meat is cooked through and internal temperature is 165 degrees. Serve hot. Leftovers may be served cold in sandwiches.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate  nutritional analysis per serving: 238 calories, 6 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 14 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 1 gram dietary fiber, 335 milligrams sodium.

Orange-Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and a lot of people are thinking about the turkey they are going cook for the holiday. For many, that’s about the only time all year they think about the fowl that once was under consideration to be our national bird.

But when you’re talking turkey, don’t discount it in its ground form. Turkey burgers can be pretty tasty, depending on how they’re seasoned. And it make a great casserole, too.

Another way to use ground turkey is in meatballs. The following cocktail turkey meatball recipe, from McCormick, is seasoned with poultry seasoning, ground black pepper and red pepper and coated with an orange glaze.

The biggest advantage to using ground turkey over ground beef is the fat content. Ground turkey using breast meat contains only 0.5 grams of fat per quarter pound, while ground sirloin has 2.5 grams in the same amount. (Dark meat, however, contains a shade more fat than the sirloin.)

Orange-Glazed Turkey Meatballs  
1 egg
¼ cup milk
½ cup plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup orange marmalade
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Pinch ground red pepper
Beat egg and milk in large bowl. Stir in bread crumbs, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper.
Add ground turkey; mix well. Cover. Refrigerate 1 hour. Shape into 1-inch meatballs.
Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Place meatballs in single layer in skillet. Cook until well-browned on all sides. Remove meatballs from skillet. Set  aside.
Mix orange marmalade, broth, vinegar and red pepper in skillet on medium beat. Bring to boil, stirring to release browned bits in bottom of skillet. Return meatballs to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has reduced to glaze consistency.
Yield: Serves 15  (2 meatballs each)
Approximate nutritional analysis per 2erving: 123 calories, 3 grams fat, 7 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 37 milligrams cholesterol,  245 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.

Bruschetta Burgers

Not everyone likes to grill year-round. But for those who fall into this camp, it’s not too late to get in one last meal of burgers cooked on the barbecue.

And a nice alternative to beef burgers is ground turkey. Not all ground turkey is the same, though. According to a McClatchy Newspapers story that I recently read, ground turkey can mean lean white breast or a mixture of breast, fattier dark meat.

Here is a recipe using the latter. It’s an open-faced ground turkey sandwich on one half of a split whole-wheat English muffin that’s topped with low-fat mozzarella cheese and a tomato spread.

Open-Faced Turkey Bruschetta Burgers
1 slice whole-wheat bread, crusts trimmed
2 tablespoons milk
1¼ pounds ground turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper, plus additional, to taste
2 medium, ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup minced fresh basil
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons shredded low-fat mozzarella
3 whole-wheat English muffins, split and toasted
Tear bread into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Pour milk over bread, stir to coat well and allow to stand 10 minutes, stirring and mashing bread frequently until the mixture is almost smooth. Add ground turkey, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Mix lightly until thoroughly combined. Shape into 6 patties.
Meanwhile, mix together tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes for flavors to blend.
Preheat grill to medium high or allow coals to burn down. Lightly oil grill grate or spray with nonstick spray. Grill patties about 5 to 6 minutes per side or until lightly browned and internal temperatures registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Sprinkle each with 1 ½ teaspoons shredded mozzarella cheese and allow to melt.
Place one patty, cheese side up, on an English muffin half. Spoon tomato mixture generously over the top of each patty.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving (1 turkey burger patty, ½  English muffin and about 1/3 cup tomato mixture per serving): 235 calories, 29 percent of calories from fat, 8 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 57 milligrams cholesterol, 18 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams protein, 318 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.

Mexican Meatballs

I’ve always liked spaghetti and meatballs. The main attraction for me is that I can have sauce to my heart’s content without overdoing it with meat.

Don’t bet me wrong, I love meatballs. But over the past several years, I’ve cut down on the amount of meat in my diet. In fact, I bet we don’t have red meat more than twice a week. Sometimes, it’s only once.

I made meatballs this weekend, 30 of them to be precise. But when it came time to put them in the sauce I made, there were only 23. That’s because I made the mistake of not putting them in the oven right away to bake. Instead, while the oven was preheating, I left them on top of the stove and went to check on the computer in our office. Alas, the meatballs proved too tempting for my dogs.

The recipe I used for the meatballs is from one of the late Dom DeLuise’s cookbooks. It’s his mom’s recipe. The meatballs are really good but are a little rich because of the pork. I think that’s why they’re only a once- or twice-a-year endeavor. 

I’ve recently came across another meatball recipe — this one with a Mexican flair — that looks very tasty and follows. It features ground turkey and beef instead of pork and should be a bit lighter. The recipe also has a bit of snap to it because it includes chili powder, pickled jalapenos and enchilada sauce.

And when I do make the recipe, you can be sure the dogs won’t be sampling the meatballs.

Spicy Mexican Meatballs
½ pound 93-percent lean ground beef
½ pound ground turkey breast
2 egg whites
¾ cup finely crushed baked tortilla chips
½ cup finely minced yellow onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos, drained
1 cup canned red enchilada sauce, divided
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray an 18- by-13-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick spray coating.
Mix together beef, turkey, egg whites, crushed chips, onion, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, jalapenos and 1/3 cup enchilada sauce in a large mixing bowl. Blend well and then shape into 1½-inch meatballs. Place meatballs on prepared jelly roll pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
Carefully remove meatballs and place in a decorative heat-proof serving dish (about 11 by 8 inches). Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until meatballs are done and cooked to 165 degrees. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.
Yield: 30 meatballs (about 15 appetizer servings).
Approximate nutritional analysis per (2-meatball) serving: 72 calories, 44 percent of calories from fat, 3 grams fat (1 gram saturated), 19 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams protein, 123 milligrams sodium, less than 1 gram dietary fiber.

Chinese Chicken Burger

Ground chicken and turkey have become pretty acceptable in the last decade or so. One of the things that makes them so attractive is that they offer a leaner alternative to ground beef.

Mexican dishes such as tacos and burritos lend themselves to ground chicken and turkey. Also, just plain old chicken or turkey burgers can be quite tasty with the right seasonings and toppings.

That’s why I found a Lexington, Ky., woman’s recipe for Chinese Chicken Burgers with Rainbow Sesame Slaw so interesting. And to top it off, it won a contest.

Brigitte Nguyen’s ground-chicken burger with some Asian zing took the top prize of $50,000  in the 48th National Chicken Cooking Contest on Saturday in San Antonio.

The part-time bookkeeper and a baker at a wine shop and deli topped a field of nine finalists from across the country in a competition sponsored by the National Chicken Council, an industry group.

Here’s how the food editor at the Miami Herald described the winning entry:

“The burger had a clear Asian flavor profile with zing, some sweetness and lime and lemongrass notes; it was just delicious.”

The burger recipe is based on ground chicken and includes soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, lemongrass and scallions. It is served on a toasted bun and is topped with lime-accented mayonnaise and chile sauce and served with a slaw of julienned peppers, snow peas and jicama.

Now that’s not your ordinary chicken burger.

Here’s the winning recipe. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Chinese Chicken Burgers with Rainbow Sesame Slaw
2 pounds ground chicken
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
1/3 cup sliced scallions
6 hamburger buns with sesame seeds
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
sliced scallions
Sriracha Lime Mayo (recipe follows)
Rainbow Sesame Slaw (recipe follows)
In large bowl, mix together ground chicken, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, lemongrass and scallions. Divide mixture into 6 patties and set aside. Place grill pan over medium heat. Spread softened butter on hamburger buns and place on grill pan until light brown. Wipe grill pan with paper towel and brush with vegetable oil. Place chicken patties on grill pan and cook over medium high heat, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 7 minutes per side. During last few minutes of cooking, baste each burger with 1 tablespoon of the hoisin sauce. To assemble, place 1 tablespoon Sriracha Lime Mayo on each bottom and top bun. Place chicken on bun bottoms and top each with 1/3 cup Rainbow Sesame Slaw. Serve with any remaining slaw and mayo on the side. Garnish with scallions. Yield: Serves 6.
Sriracha Lime Mayo: In small bowl, mix together ¾ cup mayonnaise; zest and juice of 1 lime; and 2 tablespoons Sriracha Chile Sauce. Set aside.
Rainbow Sesame Slaw: In medium size bowl, mix together 2/3 cup julienne peppers (red, orange, yellow or any combination); 2/3 cup julienned snow peas, strings removed; 2/3 cup julienned jicama; 1½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar; 1 tablespoon sugar; 1 tablespoon soy sauce; 1 teaspoon Sriracha Chile Sauce; 1 teaspoon sesame oil; and 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds.