January brings a weird dichotomy. I'm often exhausted from December, a month packed with lots of travel and merriment and comfort food. But I also feel energized for the new year, fresh planner in hand and lots of lofty goals ready to be set.
It's the same way in the kitchen. I am so ready for healthful food, for meals that do not begin and end with a handful of Christmas cookies. But I am not quite ready to commit to something ambitious, what with my house still strewn with remnants of holiday decor and celebrations.
So I am turning to a couple of classic one-pot or one-pan meals this month that will fill my husband and I with nutritious, good vibes but that don't take more than 20 minutes of prep.
The first is this turkey meatloaf.
One of my cooking resolutions is to use cookbooks more often in my daily cooking. I have collected quite a few over the years, including some that I really love and that line up with my way of cooking and eating. Every time I make a meal from these books, I enjoy the sense of accomplishment and camaraderie with the author, fellow food writers like myself. So why not do it more often?
I find that is also helps with meal planning, something I must be better about in 2018. For me, even just physically writing down the name of five recipes to make for weeknight dinners helps get them on the table more seamlessly. Doing that forces me to think about those recipes ahead of time, making sure I have the required ingredients and mentally preparing myself to make almond-crusted chicken tenders when I get home from Zumba on Mondays.
This week's recipe is inspired by Sheet Pan Suppers, a wonderfully approachable but also quite inventive cookbook from Molly Gilbert. The idea here is to cook thinly sliced potatoes on a sheet pan as you cook the meatloaf on the same pan. I swapped in my own turkey meatloaf recipe, which includes some minced celery and onion and lots of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to keep things moist. But the technique remains, and it results in a very low-effort dish that I will make again.
At the suggestion of a Martha Stewart recipe, I included the celery, a new meatloaf ingredient for me by which I was pleasantly surprised. Next time I'd like to try red peppers. Meatloaf is a great way to load up on veggies without really realizing it, so try to choose one in addition to some white onion. Just make sure to finely chop the veggies, so they cook evenly and sort of blend in with the ground meat.
We had this meatloaf for dinner this past weekend, and it made enough for at least four servings. So, Monday's lunch? Already in the bag.
Turkey Meatloaf and Potatoes
2 ½ pounds (about 4 medium) Yukon gold potatoes, sliced into
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup milk
2 pounds ground turkey
⅓ cup finely chopped celery
1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ketchup or barbecue sauce, for basting
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Place the potatoes on the prepared pan, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and garlic powder, and toss to coat. Spread the potatoes in an even layer and set a wire rack on top.
Fold a piece of aluminum foil into a rectangle large enough to hold the meatloaf and place it in the center of the wire rack. Use a fork to poke little holes evenly throughout the rectangle of foil — this will help with heat circulation and keep the meatloaf from steaming in its own fat.
Combine bread crumbs and milk in a medium bowl, mix well, and let sit for a few minutes. Add the ground turkey, celery, onion, egg, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Gently combine. Without squishing and squeezing too much, form the meat mixture into a loaf on top of the foil rectangle.
Place the pan in the oven. Bake the meatloaf and potatoes for 30 minutes, then brush the top of the loaf with ketchup or barbecue sauce.
Return the pan to the oven and bake the meatloaf and potatoes until the potatoes are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meatloaf registers 150 degrees, about 45 minutes more.
Serves 4 to 6.
Source: Adapted from Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert