Saturday, May 26, 2012

Turkey and Spinach Loaf

I recently found out that I received a scholarship to go to France to take a language class and do research for my dissertation, so I'm not exactly sure what will happen with my blog while I'm there.  I may take a break from posting in July because of my trip -- but I might try to write the posts in advance and schedule them to post every two weeks because I recently discovered that blogger has that feature. The only reason I worry about taking a break is because I have such a back log of posts to make and it's really difficult to post about recipes that you made almost a year ago.  I do note in my cookbooks whether or not we liked the recipe and any tips I would want to remind myself abotu if/when I make it again, but as you've seen in my recent posts, I don't always remember how many servings we got out of it.  Also, in the case of the post I'm making for today, I had to look through all of my cookbooks until I finally figured out what the name of the recipe was that I had pictures for.

So, I made this recipe, the Turkey and Spinach Loaf, last August 4. (Part of the reason I couldn't find it is because I kept looking for "meatloaf" in the index of each book and it's not called a meatloaf even though that's exactly what it is.) This is from the Italian Slow Cooker cookbook and it's actually the first recipe that I made out of that cookbook.  And I know that because I just went through and re-tagged all of my posts based on what cookbook I got them out of, so if you want to read all of my reviews from one cookbook, you can now do that.

This recipe asks for either fresh or frozen spinach. In both cases you have to cook the spinach before you start, and I found it easy to use frozen and just cook it in the microwave. The recipe says that you should add salt, but I left that out.  The spinach is supposed to be chopped finely after you cook and drain it. Another benefit in this case to using frozen spinach is that you can get it already chopped.  So using frozen spinach cuts off time in both the cooking and the chopping, which is especially good for the busy grad student.

Then you take some Italian bread and soak it in water until it is soft and you can easily crumble it into a bowl.  You add chopped mushrooms, pancetta, and garlic and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, as you can see in the image above.

You also add ground turkey, spinach, eggs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  I did not add the salt.  Then you moisten your hands and mix everything together.  Watch out -- the mixing will make your hands quite cold if you just took the turkey out of the fridge!

This recipe also calls for you to make the foil cradle, like I did before with the salsa meatloaf (and as you can see in the picture below). Unlike the salsa meatloaf, however, this recipe also calls for the meatloaf to be cooked in chicken broth.  Now, when I went shopping for this recipe, I saw that I had enough leftover chicken broth in the freezer, so I didn't bother buying any.  Of course, I completely forgot to take the broth out of the freezer in advance so I had to melt it in the microwave, as you can see from the image to the right.  So, after mixing everything together, you shape the mixture into a loaf in the crock pot and add the chicken broth and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes. (I used canned tomatoes.)

The image to the left is what the meatloaf looks like before it is cooked on low for 3 hours.  Now, generally I trust these cookbooks, but I was really paranoid about the meat not being completely cooked after only 3 hours so I left it on longer than that.

The image to the right shows you what the meatloaf looked like after I took it out of the crock pot.  The cookbook recommends that you serve it with mashed potatoes with a little olive oil and I think that would be very delicious, but we just served it with some frozen mixed veggies that we had in the freezer, as you can see from the image below. I really liked this meatloaf.  The only complaint I have was that it all came out a little too mushy.  The recipe calls for a 1/2 cup chicken broth and some liquid was also added with the canned tomatoes.  I think if I were to make this again I would add less liquid in hopes that would make the loaf more solid (and in that way, easier to take out of the crock pot and serve).

Now this is a healthy meatloaf.  Using the 8 servings that the cookbook says you'll get, it's only 279 calories per slice. Even if you added a generous serving of the garlic mashed potatoes that I made with the Swiss steak, you'd still end up under 500 calories.   And obviously you could get more servings out of this depending on how thick you slice it. In terms of cost, this is stipend-friendly as well.  As I cooked it, I only paid $2.58 per serving.  If you had to buy everything, it'd be a little bit more, but not much: $3.31 per serving.  If you're trying to be healthy, I really recommend this as an alternative to beef meatloaf.


  1. nice idea.. thanks for posting.

  2. I definitely know what you mean about cold hands when mixing the kind of ruins the most fun part of making meat loaf, that's why I always remember to take it out of the fridge!