Thursday, February 21, 2013

Turkey Meatloaf - a place to use those frozen diced peppers

Last week, we told you how to save some money by buying bell peppers when they are on sale and freezing them. This week, a recipe for using those frozen peppers. This is also a great recipe for stretching a fairly expensive meat: ground turkey. It runs about $5 a pound (more if you get the really lean version). This recipe utilizes some "filler" ingredients: kernel corn and rolled oats. Filler has a bad connotation but neither of these fillers are bad. Kernel corn adds texture. Rolled oats help keep the loaf moist. Both ingredients add fiber. I'd rather call them "stretchers" because they are inexpensive wholesome ingredients that stretch the number of servings you get from a given quantity of an expensive ingredient. If you look back at our Pasta with Mushroom-Tomato Sauce, the fresh mushrooms are also a stretcher. They carried the flavor of the very expensive dried porcini mushrooms and added bulk to the dish. Nothing wrong with that!

Dallas Turkey Meatloaf
(serves 6, costs $12)

1 12 oz. bottle chili sauce
¼ cup water
¾ cup rolled oats (not instant)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon chili powder (hot or mild, according to your tastes)
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ pounds ground turkey
1 cup diced bell peppers, frozen if you have them and whatever color you like
½ medium onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

If using frozen peppers and/or corn, thaw them before mixing up the meatloaf.

Preheat the oven to 350 F°. In a large bowl, combine ½ cup chili sauce with water. Mix in oats, egg, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Mush in ground turkey, bell peppers, onion, and corn kernels. Grease a 9x5x3" loaf pan. Put meatloaf mixture into loaf pan.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Spread the remaining chili sauce over the top of the loaf and continue baking until the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 165 F°. If you don't have a cooking thermometer, this takes another 30 minutes. Cover with foil and let loaf stand 10 minutes before trying to cut it.

Adapted from The Turkey Cookbook, Rick Rodgers, John Boswell Associates, 1990.

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