Today’s lunch reminded me of the wonderful time I had this past July when my mom and my sister were visiting us. I made a turkey loaf one Wednesday during the first week they were here; they liked it so much that we ended up having it every Wednesday of their vacation (four times to be more exact!). As per my sister request I always ended up adding ground turkey to my weekly grocery list, and we all enjoyed having our Wednesday menu filled with meat loaf!
I know, it is Friday, but this recipe is so easy and so good that I decided to make Turkey Loaf today! We used to have it accompanied by brown rice and a salad made with yellow squash and tomatoes from our garden, but since our garden has given up its production and it is starting to get cold around here, today the loaf was paired with the usual brown rice and Herbed Zucchini Soup, from Eating Well – Aug/Sept 2005.
I usually make the loaf with ground turkey (white and dark meat) but you can use any kind of meat you like (beef, chicken, pork). My loaf recipe is based on a CL recipe called Sun-Dried Tomato Meat Loaf (March 2003), and I add sun-dried tomatoes only if I have them around (which is not always the case), so you can omit that if you wan. But definitely do not forget to add the Parmesan cheese, as I once did… the loaf was not the same without it.
This is a pretty basic loaf and can easily be jazzed up by adding grated carrots and/or zucchini, which I have done before (a good way to sneak in some veggies). Also, you can double the recipe and freeze a loaf for later.
You can make it as a loaf by using a pan, or by just shaping the mixture and baking in a baking sheet. Another alternative is making it as meatballs, as I have done numerous times. I bake the meatballs, then pop them into a zip bag and freeze for future use. When it is time to eat, just drop them into a saucepan with your favorite tomato sauce or soup and simmer it all together until the meatballs are heated through. This loaf is very versatile and tasty, besides it is always nice being able to make things ahead of time and having them ready when the hunger attacks!
The Zucchini Soup is even easier and super delicious! I tried it this summer and I think I have made it about ten times by now. It is creamy and cheesy, so good and so healthy!
I am posting both recipes for those who want to try. And if you like the ingredients then do give it a try, ‘cause these recipes are very easy to make and shock full of flavor!
Have to go now; we still have an afternoon play date and a goodbye potluck dinner to attend today. See you around!
My Wednesday Meatloaf
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon shopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground meat (turkey, beef, or chicken)
Preheat oven to 400F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Put the mixture into a loaf pan (8 x 4-inch), or shape into a loaf and place it on a baking sheet. Bake it for 50 minutes (or until a thermometer inserted reads 180). Serves 4.
Herbed Zucchini Soup
3 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or dill or 1 teaspoon dried
3/4 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese (3 oz)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place broth, zucchini and tarragon (or dill) in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the zucchini is tender, 7-10 minutes. Puree in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and heat over medium-high heat, slowly stirring in cheese until it is incorporated. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or chilled.
Serves 4. Eating Well – Aug/Sept 2005.
My notes: For the herbs I used fresh basil and oregano that I had in the garden and the soup came out delicious! I added some chopped onions and a clove of garlic to the broth, and substituted the cheddar cheese with 3 of those laughing cow Swiss cheese triangles, which made the soup velvety smooth! (For the Brazilians: I used 3 “polenguinhos”)