It's almost like meatloaf is that school lunch or that dinner your mom makes that people just don't really ever want to eat. Even when I was in school, when they tried to feed us meatloaf as the entree for the day, I opted to eat a sandwich instead, hahaha. Now that I'm older, I realize that meatloaf isn't that bad tasting, but it's definitely not always that healthy either. Most meatloaves are made with ground beef and bread or croutons, and then it's topped with a ketchup based glaze or some similar concoction that may or may not include honey, BBQ sauce, sugar, etc. I disapprove, on many fronts. Ground beef: not the best choice. Bread and croutons need some analyzing. Ketchup is a no-no, and so are most of the things they put in those glazes.

My boyfriend's fridge is always a weird mish-mash of random goods and barely any vegetables. That being said, I normally have to find creative ways to make dinner something healthy and palatable. This is where the idea for turkey meatloaf (a.k.a. turkeyloaf) came from. I figured, as far as I knew, you could pretty much throw anything into a meatloaf, call it a meal, and still have it come out tasting alright, hahaha. And so my 7-Ingredient Turkeyloaf was born.
Instead of ground beef which has a lot of unhealthy fats ground up along with the meat itself, I used ground turkey breast. Not just ground turkey, I used ground turkey BREAST. There is a difference and you can find them both in supermarkets (I go to Safeway). Why specifically the breast? Because, just like the other kinds of ground meats, they can use any assortment of the meat from the animal, all fats included. Sure, ground turkey, as a white meat option, is inherently less fatty than ground beef, but ground turkey breast specifically is ground breast meat, which is the light/white meat of the bird and is the least fatty part. If you were to hold ground turkey and ground turkey breast up next to each other, you'd be able to see the difference (you'd be able to see the difference in the amount of the white bits of fat).

I'm sure everyone realizes that not all breads are healthy. There's enriched vs. unenriched, white vs. wheat, whole wheat vs. whole grain, etc (the latter in each pair is the better choice, in case you were wondering). With all this debate about bread, sometimes it's hard to stand in the supermarket and just pick out a loaf. If you take the time to look at the nutritional values and ingredients, eventually you'll find the right one. Don't just take the big labels on top at face value. Just because it's wheat bread doesn't make it healthy, and just because it's low-fat doesn't mean it's the best choice. I normally opt for a whole grain bread (with grains visible on the crust if possible) with little or no sugar and an ingredient list that only has things I recognize (i.e. wheat flour, sunflower seeds, safflower oil, etc. vs. partially hydrogenated soybean oil, azodicarbonamide, potassium bromide, etc). In case you're wondering where I got those weird chemical names from, Fooducate has a short list of some of the bad bread ingredients to avoid.

Last but not least, no ketchup or BBQ sauce or whatever glaze. I threw chunky salsa into my turkeyloaf instead. Where ketchup and all that stuff has been seriously processed and has more stabilizing chemicals in it, chunky salsa is closer to natural. Compared to something like BBQ sauce, salsa has fewer calories, is much lower on the sugar scale, and you don't have to feel bad throwing it in. It adds some moisture, extra veggies, and a bit more surprising flavor to the meatloaf. I only had medium spice salsa, but I totally promote the use of a the spiciest kind you can find because the heat of the spices definitely gets buried in the meat and veggies. 


7-Ingredient Turkeyloaf

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If I can make it without a pan, you can do it too!
Serves 3

Ingredients:
  • 20oz. ground turkey breast
  • 1 slice healthy bread, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 C green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 C onion, diced
  • 1/4 C salsa, as spicy as you can stand + additional for serving
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper (or plain black pepper)
  • Salt

Directions:
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Use your hands to really incorporate everything together.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a 9"x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Scrape mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, may take longer depending on oven strength. Should brown a little on top.
  4. Let it cool 10 minutes before cutting.
  5. Top with extra salsa or with a gravy of your choice.




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