Variations on a theme — Meatloaf


Ground turkey was on sale and I bought 3 pounds, with no idea at all what I was going to do with it. I contemplated meatloaf, chili, burgers, stuffed peppers… I decided to experiment with meatloaf. The one pictured here is a combo–I based it on recipes from Bobby Flay, Ina Garten and my own variations. It requires a lot of prep work but is easy to make.


INGREDIENTS for Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf with Sweet & Spicy Glaze

  • 2# Ground turkey, 90%
  • 1 green zucchini, grated
  • 1 yellow summer squash, grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 yellow and 1/2 red sweet peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp. each fresh thyme and parsley OR 1 tsp. each dried thyme and parsley
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 C grated romano pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 C ketchup
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 2 splashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. sriracha
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the vegetables and garlic. Cook them for a few minutes until they begin to soften but not actually cook. Set the aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, put the ground turkey, eggs, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha and mix well using either a wooden spoon, or my way, with clean hands. After the veggies have cooled a little, add them to the mix and blend again. Add the cheese and bread crumbs, beginning with 1/2 C of crumbs. Add enough crumbs to keep the mixture together and well blended.

Turn the mixture out onto a rimmed cookie sheet covered with either foil or parchment, or into a large loaf pan.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.

While it is cooking, mix up another 1/2 C ketchup, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1 tbsp. of sriracha. After the 45 minutes, baste the top of the meatloaf with the mixture and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes.  Check the internal temp with an instant read thermometer. It should read 155 to 160. Let the meatloaf rest for about 10 minutes and serve. It will be lovely and colorful with both sweet and spicy flavors from the balsamic vinegar and Sriracha respectively.


The second meatloaf is an Italian Meatloaf and requires a lot less ingredients and prep work.


INGREDIENTS for Paula’s Italian Meatloaf:

  • 1# Ground turkey
  • 1/2# Sweet Italian Bulk Sausage
  • 1/2# Hot Italian Bulk Sausage
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Diced onion, red or white, diced
  • 1/2 Orange sweet pepper, diced
  • 1 C Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 1 C Mozzerella + 1/4 for topping
  • 1/2C Marinara sauce + 1/2C for topping
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil


  • 2016-09-06-05-27-16

In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the onion, peppers and garlic until just soft. Set aside and let cool a little.

In a large mixing bowl, add the ground turkey, sausage, eggs, tomato sauce, cheese, seasonings and veggies and blend well using either a wooden spoon, or again, clean hands. Add the breadcrumbs a little at a time, until it is the consistency you want, and turn it out onto a rimmed cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment, or into a large loaf pan. Top with 1/2 C marinara and put into a pre-heated 425 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, add the additional 1/4C of cheese and return to the oven for the last 15 minutes. Check with an instant read thermometer and make sure it is 155 to 160 degrees. Let it rest for a few minutes, slice, serve and enjoy.

Due to the density of the sausage, this meatloaf is much heavier in texture than the veggie meatloaf. I served it with additional warmed marinara sauce on the side.



Meatloaf is a wonderful dish. The basic ingredients are some kind or combination of ground meats, turkey, pork, veal, beef with the addition of onion, eggs, and bread crumbs. You can experiment with Asian flavors and add soy sauce (instead of salt) and fresh ginger, or you could top with carmelized onions, or barbeque sauce. You can make meatloaf meatballs or mini cupcakes. Meatloaf is pretty much limited only by your imagination.

And the best part of meatloaf? Sliced cold for a sandwich the next day. Yum!


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