Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves

Don't you just hate April Fool's Day?

Let me rephrase that. Don't you just hate when you forget that it's April Fool's Day and someone's actually successful at punking you?

It's been a few years since anyone's pulled a good one over on me. But there is one in particular that stands out in memory. Back in 1989 my hubby was transferred from his job in Ohio to one in southern Michigan. The house went on the market in October and didn't sell until the following spring. During that time period he commuted an hour and a half each way to work, and the strain was really starting to get to both of us. Finally the house sold in March and we then bought a home in Toledo (you didn't REALLY think we'd live in Michigan, did you?) The closing on the home we were selling was scheduled for mid-April, but the spit hit the spam on April 1st when I received a phone call from the prospective buyer stating that he had decided he no longer wanted to buy our home. I was frantic and crying as I called our realtor, and barely able to explain to her what had happened. She then got on the phone with the prospective buyer who proceeded to tell her that he had never called me regarding this issue, and that he was still planning on buying our home. Only then did this April Fool put two and two together and figure out that it was my very own husband who'd called me, disguising his voice and pretending to be the prospective buyer. Cruel, you say? Very. (still a sore subject to this day, in fact!)

There is one other April Fool's Day memory that I have but it has nothing to do with getting punked... and it is considerably more enjoyable in its recollection. On April 1st, 1985, shortly after Villanova beat Georgetown in the NCAA championship game, I became pregnant with Kellen, our second son (don't worry, I won't go into details, but I do know that ever since, I REALLY look forward to March

(Is she EVER going to get to the point of this blog post???)
wait for it.... wait for it......

I'm not going to try to FOOL you (aren't you glad you waited?) into thinking that these little turkey loaves are in the least bit pretty. After all, it's ground turkey, for pete's sake. However, I can assure you that they are indeed very tasty. Quinoa, the surprise ingredient in this recipe, adds nutritional value by supplying fiber and additional protein to this dish, and sauteed veggies and reduced-fat cheese add moisture and richness. For this particular batch of turkey loaves I used one pound of ground turkey breast and one pound of 93/7 ground turkey. I think using all ground turkey breast would have produced too dry of a loaf. Plus, the 93/7 stuff was on sale for $.99, so this was a no-brainer.

Mini Turkey Meat Loaves...Loafs?? (hey/hay, spell check accepted both, so/sew who am I/eye to/two/too know/no which/witch one/won is correct?

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed, and cooked according to package directions
2 tsps olive oil
1/2 medium onion, small dice
1/2 bell pepper (your favorite color,) small dice
3-4 ounces button mushrooms, small dice
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2 eggs
3/4 cup skim milk
2 Tbsp grill seasoning (I used McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning)
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 cup 2% sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 pounds ground turkey
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Splenda brown sugar (or 1/2 cup regular brown sugar)
2 tsp prepared mustard

Prepare quinoa per package instructions. Set aside to cool a bit.

In skillet, heat olive oil and add onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Set aside to cool a bit.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9X13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, grill seasoning and worchestershire sauce. Stir in cheeses. Crumble ground turkey on top of this mixture. Add quinoa and sauteed veggies. Take off your rings and roll up your sleeves. Gently combine mixture and shape into mini-loaves/loafs (this is where you get to decide how big your portions will be... this mix made 8 minis for me.) Place loaves into prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Spread over tops of meat loafs/loaves.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, depending on the size of your loafs/loaves, and probably most importantly, until a meat thermometer reads at least 180 degrees. Drain grease (if any) and return to oven. Up temperature to 400 degrees and brown for an additional 3-5 minutes.

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