Sunday, July 1, 2012

Low Carb and Gluten Free - Turkey Meatloaf is Year-Round Comfort Food!

“Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double beatloaf. I hate meatloaf.”  - Randy from A Christmas Story

Low Carb Turkey Meatloaf is gluten free and paleo
and diabetic friendly!
Gosh I just love A Christmas Story and fall out laughing every time I see Randy sitting at the table, picking at his meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Oh my. It could be me all over again!

It's no secret in my family. I hated Mom’s meatloaf.

And I don’t even know why I hated it. It could be a texture thing. You know how funny kids are about textures. Or it could be because Mama thought she invented the use of the holy trinity and used it liberally in her meatloaf!

For those of you out of the loop, the holy
trinity in Louisiana and most of Texas (because afterall, we ripped Louisiana off), consists of a trio of veggies: onions, green bell pepper, and celery.

I'm thinking Dad who was the Captain of the Food Chain, may have
had something to do with our weekly meatloaf consumption.
Or I could have hated Mama’s meatloaf strictly because meatloaf stealthily wormed its way into the menu rotation on what seemed like a weekly basis. Apparently someone in our family higher up on the food chain than me loved meatloaf! (Ahem! Thanks Dad! Hmmphhh!) 

And we didn’t just have it once. She always made enough to have leftovers. Meatloaf sandwiches. Cold meatloaf sandwiches. Barbaric! Or so I thought in youthful ignorance.

Fast forward to today. Fluffy Chix Cook enough meatloaf to have leftovers for the freezer and to have a cold meatloaf “sammich” for lunch the day after. Take a fluffy Revolutionary Roll and fill it with a thick slice of meatloaf, a swipe of leftover gravy and oh, my, gosh! So good.

Mom and Wawa (Dad's mama and our grandmother who
lived with us) were champion budget cooks.
I do remember Mom’s meatloaf featured milk-soaked bread, or Saltine crackers, or even oatmeal. It was big on filler and short on meat.

With eight hungry mouths to feed and two of them growing, male athletes, Mama and Wawa stretched the food budget any way they could and meatloaf made a pound of meat go a long way.

I was a grown woman in my mid-20s before I started pining for meatloaf. It happened by accident, really. I didn't just wake up one day and suddenly fall in love with meatloaf. I kinda eased in through the back door with it.

Low Carb Turkey Meatloaf freezes like a champ!
Leftovers TLF (To Live For) are only minutes
from freezer to plate. Up your, Dominoes!
I figured out I could use my Daddy’s top-secret meatball recipe, shape it into a loaf and have the most amazing meatloaf! It was and still is fabulous and definitely Italian-themed. But it reopened a dialogue between me and the loaf of meaty goodness. Slowly but surely, we had more and more summit meetings together.

I didn’t do anything crazy like put meatloaf into a weekly rotation. Nothing as drastic as that. But I did refine a basic recipe and later, refined it again into a low carb, gluten free, paleo version that is completely diabetic friendly.

I change this basic recipe up to suit my mood. Sometimes Fluffy Chix go Low Carb TexMex on it and other times we visit Greece or Italy or Asia. Often, we presto-chango the meat combinations or simply use a hunk of ground turkey.

Regardless of the meat du jour, Fluffy Chix replaced the bread fillers with yummy mushrooms and veggies. The meatloaf remains moist and makes so much liquid. Pour the liquid off the meatloaf into a small saucepan during the last 20 minutes of cooking and reduce the liquid along with a little Dry Vermouth. That’s when you add the final slather of low carb ketchup and slices of tomatoes along with a final sprinkle of some kind of dried herb to the tops of the meatloaves.

Draining off the cooking liquid helps the Low Carb
Turkey Meatloaf brown. Don't forget to top it with
Low Carb Ketchup and tomato slices with a sprinkle of
dried herbs of your choice!
Draining the liquid helps brown the meatloaf. It also makes a killer gravy. Serve it over smashed cauliflower or smashed root veggies (turnips, rutabaga and a bit of cauliflower). It’s so delicious and so easy. Southern comfort, meatloaf with mash and gravy – low carb and tasty – pure, low carb, comfort food in all its glory.

Don’t wait for fall or even Christmas time – meatloaf is year round comfort food goodness.

Sure there are lots of ingredients. Don't spaz!
Low Carb Turkey Meatloaf
comes together so quickly.
I’m not gonna lie to you. There are quite a few ingredients. Don’t be dissuaded. Please?!

If you have a food processor, it literally takes about 15 to 20 minutes from start to finish, to make these loaves and put them into the oven. And with the availability of cheap bulk spices and condiments from Big Lots and budget stores, you can slowly build your condiment arsenal.

Use those triple coupons, people! Before long you too could be a Condiment Queen of the DFSW (Delicate Flower of Southern Womanhood) persuasion!

People often wonder if you can still coupon when cooking low carb. The answer is, YES! Coupons work great on condiments, spices, household, garden and personal goods! I even see coupons for some bagged veggies (but I don't really go for those too often...)

Little Mealoaf-Hating-SusieT sitting on
Santa's lap at the annual old Mrs. Baird's Santa
visit. Wanna guess what I asked for? Yep, an
end to weekly meatloaf!
Try the meatloaf. I swear you will rate this one of your favorite meatloaf recipes - ever! You will never have to poke around at it saying, “Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double beatloaf!” And hey, if you don’t like it as meatloaf, shape it into meatballs and brown them off in olive oil, then plop them into a pot of marinara or make a slider with them, or nekkid potstickers or lettuce wraps. So many variations and uses – so little time...

Meatloaf freezes like a champ, too.

Basic Turkey Meatloaf
Serves – 2 Loaves, 6 Slices per Loaf
Prep Time – 15 Minutes
Cooking Time – 45 Minutes – 1 Hour

Difficulty – Must be able to reach the condiment and spice shelves and be sanctioned to use power tools (i.e. food processor)

Low Carb Turkey Meatloaf, Smashed Cauliflower with
Pan Gravy and Green Beans with Garlic and
Sun Dried Tomatoes
40 oz. Ground Turkey, (Jenny-O brand preferred)
1 medium Onion
1 medium Red Bell Pepper
1/3c Italian Parsley, fresh (2 Tbsp Dried Parsley)
6 oz Mushrooms (about 6 large)
1/4c Yellow Mustard
1/4c Low Carb Ketchup
1/4c Worcestershire Sauce
5 fl oz Dry White Wine or Dry Vermouth (about 1/2c)
3 large Eggs
1/2c Parmesan Cheese, grated

2/3c Pork Skin Crumbs (about 2 servings or 18 pieces)
1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Black Pepper
1-1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Thyme Leaves, dried
2 tsp Oregano Leaves, dried

For Topping:
1/4c Low Carb Ketchup
5 Small Tomatoes (Campari or Roma)
1 Tbsp. Basil Leaves or Parsley, dried

For Sauce:
1 Cooking Liquid (from 2 meatloaves)
1/8c Dry Vermouth or Dry White Wine
Your favorite low carb thickener (optional)

For the Meatloaf:

Preheat oven to 350 ͦ.

Line two 4x9 loaf pans with a parchment paper sling. You’ll thank me for this tip later.

Cut veggies into large chunks and place into bowl of food processor. Do it separately or tump it all in together. Either way works just fine!

Process your veggies until finely chopped using a food processor with the knife blade.

In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the meat. Mix thoroughly until well combined.

Add well-chilled meat and using the tines of a fork, lightly and quickly work the meat into the wet veggie and spice mixture. Using a fork and working it back and forth ensures tender meatloaf. It keeps the meat light and fluffy and almost separate in its crumbliness.

Once thoroughly combined, pour meatloaf into the loaf pans. Using your hand, or back of a spoon, lightly compress meat mixture to form a loaf.

Place loaf pans on a foil lined cookie or baking sheet in order to catch any spills.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Carefully remove baking sheet from the oven and pour off any excess liquid into a small saucepan. Top the drained meatloaves and top each loaf with 2 tablespoons of low carb ketchup, tomato slices and a sprinkle of dried herbs of your choice.

Bake another 20-25 minutes until tops of tomatoes start to brown and until center of meatloaf reaches 185 ͦ  internally. This is critical! Get a thermometer! You do not want to eat raw poultry!

For Sauce:
In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine cooking liquid that drained out of the meatloaves with dry white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Allow sauce to reduce to about ½ of the original volume.

Serve over mashed cauliflower or your favorite mashed low carb veggie. If desired you may thicken the sauce to your preference with something like glucomannan powder, xanthan gum or ground chia meal, ground flax meal or psyllium powder. I don’t even both doing that anymore.

The sauce tastes delicious and has some body to it from the pectins (a natural fruit thickener found in some fruit skins like tomatoes) present in low carb ketchup.

Nutritional Information

Basic Turkey Meatloaf - Entire Recipe
Makes 2 - 4x9 Loaves with 6 slices per loaf.

Basic Turkey Meatloaf - Single Serving
Serving Size - 1/6 of a Loaf

TexMex Turkey Meatloaf - Entire Recipe
Makes 2 - 4x9 Loaves with 6 slices per loaf.

TexMex Turkey Meatloaf - Single Serving
Serving Size - 1/6 of a Loaf

SusieT’s Notes –
Ok, I hope I never turn my nose up again at meatloaf. As an adult it’s become one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s so funny how tastes change! The only thing to beat meatloaf is Salsbury Steak, but that’s another killer recipe or rather a recipe TLF (recipe To-Live-For) for another day.

Low Carb Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Cauliflower and
Low Carb Pan Gravy served with a side of Low Carb
Green Beans with Garlic and Sun Dried Tomatoes hits a
comfort food grand slam!
I never feel like I’m on a diet when pulling up to a plate like meatloaf, mashed cauli and green beans! Look at it! How could I?

And I’m not kidding you. The recipe is versatile. This last time, I made TexMex Meatloaf by adding a fresh jalapeno, a serrano pepper and a 1/8 c. of cilantro. I omitted basil and added ground coriander and ground cumin to the oregano and thyme.

It was muy delicioso!

Hope you will try it and let me know how it turns out! Don't be askeered of a lengthy list of ingredients. All the spices combine to make a very well rounded flavor and each one brings a flavor note to the complexity party. And although lengthy, the recipe assembles so quickly, you won't even realize what hit you.

Also, measurement isn't so necessary. If you have a good eye, you guestimate quantities. If it fudges a bit in either direction, no worries! It will still taste awesome and taste like low carb magic!

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