Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Gluten Free Veggie Turkey Meatloaf

I grew up in what some of my gourmand friends refer to as a "Shake n' Bake family", meaning that most of what I ate came from either a box, a can, or the freezer. On top of that, my dad was pretty much your typical meat and potatoes guy--in fact, whenever we went to a restaurant and his meal offered a potato and a vegetable as side dishes, he asked for two potatoes. Based on this history, it's pretty obvious that an actual fresh vegetable was a rare occurrence in my household. However, rebellious little pain in the butt that I am, I insisted that when I did the cooking we would have some "real food" in the mix--I therefore often hid the veggies in the meatloaf, as it was the only way I could get my dad to consume them. It's amusing how many cookbooks these days are dedicated toward hiding healthy items in the food for the benefit of children--I'm betting that there is an entire market segment of aging Baby Boomers who would appreciate the hidden nutrition just as much.

1 package ground turkey (if possible, use organic, free-range turkey. It tastes better, it's more humane, and the dose of smugness that comes with purchasing it is even better than salt!)
1 onion, diced
1 package frozen peas & carrots mix (hey, old habits die hard)
1 crown broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 tsp olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer)
3 tbsp gluten free ketchup
1 heaping tbsp crushed garlic
2 tsp basil
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (I use Dr. Schar brand)
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the frozen peas and carrots in the microwave one minute less than whatever the package directions indicate (this will assure that the veggies are no longer frozen, but won't be overcooked later in the process).

Sautee the peas, carrots, broccoli and onion on medium-high. Add the garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until all ingredients are combined and the onion becomes translucent. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the turkey, ketchup, breadcrumbs and basil until combined. Add the veggies and mix thoroughly. Put the meat mixture into a Pyrex baking dish (or ceramic, if you prefer), press with a spatula until evenly distributed, and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Serves 4.

If you are not lactose intolerant or keep Kosher, some mozzarella or cheddar mixed in with the meat is a nice variation. Another is to add a bit of marsala wine to the meat mixture.

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