“Meatloaf, smeatloaf, double-beatloaf. I hate meatloaf.”

Can’t say I blame him, him being little Randy from everybody’s favorite “A Christmas Story,” that is. I mean, it’s meatloaf, and I know what you’re thinking. You would be wrong, though, because meatloaf is actually quite good. Like meat? Like it shaped into balls? Then why not a loaf? What is it about the harmless loaf that turns small children all over American into little terrors? Why was I such a problem child? When was the last time I ate today and when is that going to happen again? I digress.

I make no secret of my cooking weapon: Food52. I receive lots of compliments on my cooking, but without Food52, it would be nothing. Food52 is, essentially, an online recipe vault with hundreds, maybe thousands, of recipes, from everywhere from Tartine Bakery to Gourmet magazine to a user’s own. But the real kicker is the photos. Vibrant, vivid, perfectly posed food shots everywhere. DAMNIT! It’s so good. Point is, it’s really hard to screw up a recipe when you’ve got it laid out kindergartner-style with photos so you can check your work. And that, is how I’ve turned my boyfriend and the problem child herself into meatloaf devotees.

It’s called Rosemary Turkey Meatloaf and it comes from sporkme on Food52.com. It’s made with ground turkey as the name would imply, so it’s infinitely healthier than traditional versions. Points right away. But what the hell, meatloaf is gross enough and now you have to go and make it healthy??

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Fear not, for said ground turkey is amplified with flavorful accoutrements like chopped fresh rosemary, seasoned breadcrumbs, and a mouth-watering glaze of tomato puree, brown sugar and mustard. Here is where you can really make your meatloaf shine with variations like Dijon or spicy mustard, extra brown sugar and so on. As long as you combine everything, get it into a loaf pan, and bake it for about an hour, you truly cannot go wrong.

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And then you have leftovers for sandwiches – the lunchtime possibilities are endless – for days to come. Oh Lord, I’ve become my mom with the excitement over leftovers.

Here’s the recipe. Be sure to check the link below for photos to rev your cooking engines.

Rosemary Turkey Meatloaf

Serves 4-6

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 15 oz. can pureed tomatoes *Note: I have a hell of a time finding pureed tomatoes, so I usually choose a 12 oz. can of tomato paste and temper it with a 1/4 cup of water or so. Eyeball that one.
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Mix the turkey, bread crumbs, rosemary, eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Press into a bread loaf pan.

Whisk the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and put on top of the meat.

Poke a few holes in the turkey with a knife so the sauce will seep in, cover in foil and bake until the internal temperature reaches 160F (I have never used a meat thermometer and my loaf has always been perfectly cooked, so don’t let this stress you out), or about an hour and a half.

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