1.16.2011

sunday is for football

I grew up in a family that, no matter what, always had Sunday dinner together. It was one day a week that we weren't running off to this game or that practice. If my dad had it his way, we'd have dinner at 4pm on Sundays. While my mom says she "tries" to have dinner on the table this early, I think we all try to delay this - it never happens, sorry dad.

Since we moved to Chicago, I've had to do my own version of Sunday dinner. And while I miss having dinner with my sisters and parents each Sunday, I keep the tradition going and honor them in our absence. My boyfriend loves turkey loaf, LOVES it. It's his favorite thing his mom makes. While I'm not a loaf kind of a girl, I can stand eating turkey loaf every now and then. Especially since it's one of his favorites.

This Sunday dinner is a mix of my families tradition with his favorite comfort food from home. I have to say, as a non-loaf lover, this one is pretty darn good. Matt happens to be a big football fan and sport fan in general. Sadly, I'm more of a fare-weather sport fan. I get excited when my teams are in the playoffs or if there's a lot of hype over a game. Since the Seahawks are in the playoffs and Matt loves football, I decided to make football shaped turkey loaves. GO HAWKS!


Turkey Loaf

ingredients:
1 package ground turkey breast (1.25 lbs)
1 yellow or sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 eggs
½ c. chopped fresh baby spinach
½ c. can diced tomatoes (drained)
3-4 squirts worcestershire
2 t. italian seasoning
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. ground mustard powder
2 T. grated parmesan cheese
⅓ c. bread crumbs
salt + pepper to taste
Ketchup (for the top)

yield 4-5 servings

Preheat oven to 350º

Dice onion and place in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Cook until just opaque. Add in the 2 chopped cloves of garlic and continue
sautéing for 1 minute. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, place turkey, eggs, spinach, tomatoes and mix with hands (or spoon). Once incorporated, add onion mixture, worcestershire, herbs + seasonings, parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. mix until it comes together. Add more breadcrumbs if it seems too loose. The mixture should still be "wet". You don't want to add too many bread crumbs so it's a sticky paste, you want it to come together just enough that it will hold a shape.

Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil. Place mixture onto covered baking sheet and form into a loaf shape. In this case I made 4 mini-loaves in the shapes of footballs. Top loaves with ketchup. I put mine in the design of football laces but you can just blob it on top and evenly spread it. Bake for about 30-45 minutes depending on loaf sizes and your oven. When the juices run clear and the loaf has a slight spring when you press it, you know it's done.

I served mine with a salad and smashed red skin potatoes. Serve it with your favorite side dishes!

improv style:
Use ground turkey instead of turkey breast for a more flavorful loaf. Not a fan of spinach or tomatoes? Substitute it for basil leaves or carrots. You can leave them out if you're not a big veggie eater. Don't have ground mustard? You can substitute it for 1 T. of your favorite stone ground or dijon mustard. Turkey loaf is like a hodgepodge of flavors so add your favorites, experiment, go crazy!

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