Monday, February 17, 2014

Adobo-Glazed Mini Turkey Meat Loaves and Garlic Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Recently, I've been trying to make a week's worth of meals at a time in an effort to eat healthier and cheaper (and so I can be super lazy once I get home because wearing pants is a sucker's game). After several, somewhat underwhelming attempts at crock pottery (I could've made a better stew on the stove in 1/4 of the time!), I decided to regroup and go for standard, less liquidy dinner-fare.

I stumbled across this mini turkey loaf recipe and was instantly transported back to an episode of the now cancelled Food Network show 24 Hour Restaurant Battle where the contestant made a meat loaf "cupcake" with mashed potato frosting as his signature dish. At last, I thought I could finally combine my loves of meat and cupcakes, but it was sadly not meant to be. This may have been one tasty and healthy dish, but it sure wasn't nearly as pretty as I imagined.

Adobo Glazed Turkey Meat Loaf
Adapted from
Servings: 12-14 loaves
Time: 1 hour
Mmm, raw meat bowl!

1 slice wheat bread, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
Olive Oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 head broccoli, chopped finely
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 egg whites
4 1/2 tsp tomato paste
Must not type Adobe...
4 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp chili powder

3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp adobo sauce
1 generous squirt of Sriracha
2 tsp honey
3 tbsp chicken broth
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp salt

Haha, it thinks it's muffins!!

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Soak the bread in the soymilk for 10 minutes.
  3. Sautée the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent (about 6-8 minutes). Put in a large bowl.
  4. Sautée the broccoli and peppers in olive oil over medium heat until the peppers soften and the broccoli begins to brown. Add to the large bowl. 
  5. Realize that after countless recipes involving it, you still don't know how to properly spell broccoli (It should be brocolli, dammit!).
  6. Add the soaked bread and remaining loaf ingredients to the large bowl and mix well.
  7. Scoop ~ 1/3 cup of the loaf mixture into non-stick muffin tins. Pack well.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes.
  9. While the loaves are baking, make the glaze by whisking all of the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. If you can't find adobo sauce by itself, you can usually find canned chipotle peppers packed in it in the Mexican food section.
  10. Brush each of the loaves with about 1 tbsp of the glaze and continue cooking for 15-20 more minutes (or until the internal temp reaches 160 F).
  11. Get absolutely disgusted at how all the juices flowed out onto the muffin tin.
  12. Let cool and remove from the tin.
  13. Use about 2 loaves for one nice dinner serving or 1 for a light lunch.
This super packed inside is just as pretty as the outside...
Flavor-wise, these mini turkey loaves were a great entree for my week's worth of healthy dinners. The sauteed veggie filling really brings a lot to the dish, and the adobo glaze has a great honey chipotle quality to it for some sweetness and a little kick. It was also great having perfectly portioned pieces ready to go. Unfortunately, there was one major downfall to this dish, and that was its less than beautiful appearance. The juices from the turkey tend to come out during cooking and pool up in a less than flattering way. Just make sure to drain it well, and no one has to know. Fortunately, these mini meals only tasted better as the week went on, so it was well worth the aesthetic failure.

Garlic Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"
Adapted from Food Network
Servings: 4
Time: 30 minutes
Can you feel the excitement?

1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 tbsp cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chicken broth
Splash of soy milk
1 sprig of rosemary
Ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp unsalted butter

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.
  2. Boil the cauliflower for 6-10 minutes or until well done.
  3. Drain well and pat the cauliflower dry between layers of paper towels. Do not let cool.
  4. Puree the boiled cauliflower, cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken broth, soy milk, salt, pepper, and rosemary together in a food processor until your desired mashed consistency is reached.
  5. Mix in a tbsp butter and enjoy.
  6. Get upset that neither your cauliflower mashed potatoes nor your turkey loaves are pretty enough to create a glorious meat cupcake.

Perfectly camouflaged "taters"
These cauliflower mashed potatoes were a good approximation of the real thing, but they couldn't quite reach the heights of your standard, amazing potato variety. The rosemary and garlic were nice touches to add some strong flavor, and the cream cheese and parmesan added a nice creaminess. But no matter, how hard I tried, I still knew I was having cauliflower (which I do like). I enjoyed this cross-veggie creation, but I think it could have been a lot better had I used a food processor instead of attempting to use a blender poorly for a smoother consistency (and that will be key for proper pipable meat cupcake frosting texture).

All in all, I was extremely happy with this foray out of my usual dinner cooking box. Aside from chopping, there wasn't a lot of effort involved, and it provided me with several days' worth of healthy meals that only tasted better as the flavors had more time to meld. Plus, there are plenty of options for repurposing the mini loaves later in the week for variety like sandwiches or meatballs in pasta or soup.

Alas, my quest for the meat cupcake continues...

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