Friday, February 13, 2009

To Hell in a Handbasket

Whenever I get sick, all the household chores seem to go fallow.  I've had this cold for a week now, and it's one of those viruses where I wake up in the morning believing I'm getting better, but by the afternoon, all I can think about is getting into bed with a cup of tea and a hot water bottle.  Of course, when you have children, you can't do this because they need stuff like food, or for you to break up fights, or check homework, or drive one to the orthodontist.  And you can't let your job go, because, well, it's your job.  Plus, the dogs must be walked or they get crazy. Because of this, dishes languish in the sink, and the laundry sits unwashed.  Usually my husband will pick up the slack when he gets home from work -- but he recently had this ankle surgery and can't stand on two feet for another couple of weeks.  Oh, and have I mentioned that our dishwasher is broken?  Right now it's no more than a very large dish drainer.  So we've eaten a lot of pizza lately, and last night we had Chinese food (except for Emma who prepared herself a box of mac n' cheese).

But, I can't take it any more.  I need something green.  So do my kids.  And I need some protein that's healthy, not greasy.  So this morning, while I feel okay and I'm not hocking up a lung, I'm going to make a turkey meatloaf that my gimpy husband, or even my 12 year old can shove into the oven without my help. Since I have no dishwasher, it is imperative that I use as few pots and pans as possible, so, for my green, I'm going to throw some thawed frozen spinach into the meatloaf.  This is actually a great addition, because turkey meat can be a little dry and the spinach helps moisten it up.  And, if I'm feeling too tired to make a salad, or if I can't get the 10 year old in my house to do it, at least I'll know we'll all be getting something green into our bodies.  If I'm feeling better, I might cut up a few Yukon gold potatoes and toss them with olive oil and salt and stick them on a cookie sheet in the same oven as the meatloaf.  But only if I'm feeling better.

Turkey Meatloaf

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (I usually buy these, but if you have an old loaf of french bread, grind them up yourself -- its much better)
1/4 cup of milk
2 or so-pounds of lean ground turkey breast
2 or so pounds of ground turkey thigh
1 yellow onion chopped (I usually quickly saute these, but I won't today, just to keep the dish washing down)
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup of ketchup (plus more for the top of the loaf)
1 TBLSP Worcestershire Sauce (or to taste)
1/2 cup of thawed drained frozen spinach
1 TBLSP kosher salt
Several grinds of Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 (unless you're making this in the morning).

combine milk and breadcrumbs and let sit a bit.

combine turkey, onions, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, spinach, salt and pepper with the breadcrumbs and form into a loaf.  
Spread a bit more ketchup over the top and sides of loaf.  Put loaf onto a jelly roll sheet lined with parchment (for easier cleanup). You can bake this right away, or do as I do and cover it with foil and let it sit in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.  If your organized, take it out of the fridge about 1/2 and hour or so ahead of time to let it come to room temp.  I'm not usually that organized.  But it will sit out while I'm waiting for the oven to preheat, and that helps some. 

Bake until the center of the meatloaf reaches 165 degrees -- about 1 1/2 or so hours (longer, by about 15 to 30 min if it was stone cold from the fridge).  If you don't have a meat thermometer, make sure all the juices are running clear when you poke it with a knife. (throw the cut up Yukon golds in after the meatloaf has been in for about 45 min.  If I do this, I might even toss them onto the same jelly roll pan as the meatloaf and let them soak up all the meatloaf juices.  Or you can just shove them onto another rack below the meatloaf.)

Take it out, cover with foil and let it sit 10 minutes while you beg your 10 year old to make a salad.  

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