I’ve been making turkey meatloaf for years. I make it every few weeks and it’s a fantastic way for the family to eat a lean meat and get some veggies in too. It takes about an hour in the oven (or less time…keep reading) but it’s one of those dishes that I can whip up in no time. I won’t lie – it took me a while to make the meatloaf the first couple of times. But once I knew what I was doing, it became easier. Now it takes me 10 minutes to get the ingredients ready and then off in the oven it goes!
I’ve become more health conscious over the years and so ground turkey and chicken have become great protein options for my family. While I could always find delicious chicken recipes, I could never find one that made ground turkey taste good. Plus, I find that ground turkey has a odd smell to it. It didn’t matter if I was cooking it in a pot, a pan, or in an oven: the whole house would get this weird turkey smell to it. That’s not the case with this dish. It’s good for you and smells good too!
Start by cooking your quinoa. I usually put my quinoa in a pot of water, mix it up, and let it boil. Once is starts boiling, I turn off the heat and cover it, letting it sit for about 20 minutes or so, which incidentally is how long it takes for me to get everything else ready for this meatloaf.
Start preheating your oven to 350°F before getting your ingredients ready to make sure that your oven is ready to cook your food when you are.
While your quinoa is cooking, chop the celery, carrots, onions, garlic and any other veggies you want to add (I sometimes add 3 mushrooms). Now, I’m still pureéing this for my baby so I’m fine with chopping the ingredients. However, if you want to serve this as is to your baby, you may want to mince the ingredients so that the only big texture your baby is getting is the actual meat.
Then whisk the egg in a small bowl and get your seasonings and sauces.
Once everything is chopped and the egg is prepared, take the amounts outlined below in the recipe to reserve for your baby-version of this meatloaf. The only extra thing you’ll need for this is applesauce. You can use store-bought applesauce or make your own (click on the link for my Quick & Easy Applesauce).
If you’re so inclined, you can soften your onions, garlic, and other veggies by sauteéing them in a pan wit oil before putting your meatloaf together. As you know, I’m looking for the fastest way to make my meals so I don’t cook any of them. I’ve done it before and don’t really notice that much of a difference. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.
Take two mixing bowls and start putting the meatloaf together, making sure not put any extra sauces or salt in the baby version. By now, the quinoa is cooked and you can add the appropriate amounts to each bowl.
Get a baking tray and using foil, create two “boats” for the meatloafs. I like to make the boats because even though the meat is lean, it will still let out fat and flavour while it cooks. This way, the meatloaf juices won’t touch each other, ensuring that the baby dish doesn’t get contaminated with the family one.
Create a loaf shape with the meatloaf mixtures on each of the boats…Now, if you don’t have 50 minutes to cook your meatloaf, make these into meatballs instead. Do your best to make sure each meatball is the same size and you could easily cut your cooking time in half! I’ve done this so many times before and it’s a hack that’s worked like a charm.
Put your meatloafs (or meatballs) in the oven and set your timer to 25 minutes. That’s when your mini baby meatloaf should be ready. You’ll know it’s fully cooked if you put a food thermometer in it and it reads 165ºF. It’s overcooked if the temperature is much higher.
Take the baby meatloaf out of the oven when your timer goes off and put the larger loaf back in (unless you made meatballs. Then take them all out). Set your timer for another 25 minutes.
While your big meatloaf is cooking, combine all of your applesauce (about 1.5 – 2 cups) and baby meatloaf in the blender. Puree until smooth and your baby food is done! If you feel that the quantity isn’t enough for your little one and that you have a lot of the family meatloaf left over, consider doubling up on the baby recipe next time.
Once the timer goes off, check the thickest part of your meatloaf to ensure the temperature reads 165ºF.
And now you all can eat!
Turkey Meatloaf for the Whole Family (Including Baby!)
Prep Time: 20 mins | Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Family Meatloaf Ingredients:
• 1 package (20oz/566g) of lean turkey
• 1/4 cup quinoa
• 1 cup water
• 1 large carrot, grated
• 2 celery stalks, chopped or minced
• optional: 3 mushrooms, chopped or minced
• 1 onion, peeled, chopped or minced
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped or minced
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp Habanero sauce (or another hot pepper sauce but not tabasco)
• 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp black pepper
Baby Meatloaf Ingredients
(to be taken from the family ingredients – no need to cut twice!):
• 1/2 cup to 1 cup of lean turkey
• 2 tbsp quinoa
• 1/8 cup carrots, grated
• 1/8 cup, chopped or minced
• optional: 1 tbsp mushrooms, chopped or minced
• 2 tbsp onion, chopped or minced
• 1 tsp garlic cloves, chopped or minced
• 1/2 tsp tomato paste
• 1 tbsp egg, whisked
• 1-2 pinches black pepper
• 1.5 – 2 cups of applesauce
- Add quinoa and water to a pot. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Set your timer to 20 minutes.
- Pre-heat your oven on to 350ºF.
- Chop (or mince) your celery, onion, and garlic.
- Grate your carrots.
- Whisk your egg.
- Combine all the ingredients, including the turkey and quinoa into 2 mixing bowls (one for family and one for baby), using the appropriate amounts of each ingredient for the baby’s bowl.
- Using foil paper, create “boats” (see photo above) for each meatloaf and place on a baking tray.
- Put each mixture on its appropriate foil “boat” and shape into loaves (or evenly-sized meatballs)
- Place the tray in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.
- Take the tray out when the timer beeps and check that the internal temperature of the baby meatloaf is 165ºF. Then place it in the blender. (If you’re making meatballs, check their internal temperature as well. Skip Step 11 if they’re done)
- Put the larger meatloaf back in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.
- Take the baby meatloaf out and place in a blender with the applesauce. Puree until smooth.
- Take the larger meatloaf out of the oven when the timer goes off and check that its internal temperature is 165ºF.
My baby went crazy for this dish and I hope yours does too. He kept trying to take the spoon from me because I wasn’t feeding him as fast as he wanted me to!
I hope your family enjoys eating this as much as mine does. Don’t forget to take a pic of your dish and post it to #notasupermommy or tag @notasupermommy on Instagram and Like us on Facebook. I’d love to hear any comments or suggestions on your experience cooking this meatloaf below.