Sunday, March 6, 2011

Food On My Mind

Because I'm weight-watching and exercising alot, all I can think about (when I'm not obsessing about my job or other of life's demands) is food.  I read cookbooks for fun, and when shopping my head is turned by tantalizing (food, mind you)  magazine covers at every check out.  I look forward to every meal and snack, and I want each bite of everything to be not just good, but incredibly delicious.  Of course, that isn't always possible.  Still, I don't want to waste my "points budget" on food that isn't worthy!  This is why I love Ellie Krieger's recipes.  I've written before about her book The Food You Crave, a great offering of transformed comfort foods that will have you asking yourself just what you're missing.  Pretty much nothing.  It's all there -- flavor, texture, substance -- only infused, ever so subtly, with really good nutrition that keeps itself quiet in the background but whose presence takes comfort to a healthier level.  My favorites are Ellie's Sloppy Joes and her Pumpkin Walnut Muffins.   If you don't tell your family that you've healthified their favorites, they may just never know!  Not that you should keep your efforts at improving their lives a's just that some people don't want anyone messing with comfort foods.  They are comfort foods for a reason, foods that we can indulge in with a devil-may-care attitude, because we want it, we deserve it, and tomorrow is another day.  So let them think they've been indulged if you sense pull-back at the notion of a healthier rendition of a favorite meal.

Here's Ellie's recipe for one quintessential comfort food:  meatloaf.  She uses ground turkey breast (all white meat) and traditional seasonings to create a meatloaf that has only 3.5 grams of fat/1" slice.  Ellie calls it "Mom's Turkey Meatloaf" and writes: "First, it's made with lean ground turkey.  Second, instead of bread crumbs, I use a secret ingredient that binds everything together and keeps the meatloaf wonderfully most: quick cooking oats, a  healthy whole grain that blends in undetected.  All that meaty goodness is covered in tomato sauce and crowned in onion rings that turn golden brown, making for a beautiful presentation."  In addition to making a great meal, I love meatloaf sandwiches, as I went on and on about a few posts ago when writing about ketchup! 

Forgive me for this minor interruption: just had to fit in today's photo of my grandsons, for no recipe-related reason (though Henry is checking out one of my cookbooks on cake design)!

Peter (l) and Henry (r) hanging out at Grandmas!

OK, back to business...Ellie's meatloaf recipe gets four stars on The Food Network Web site, and that is good enough for me, and I bet for you, too.  Here's the recipe:


3/4 c. quick-cookingoats
1/2 c. nonfat milk
1 medium onion, peeled
2 lbs. ground turkey breast
1/2 c. seeded and chopped red bell pepper (1/2 medium pepper)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
One 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

In a small bowl, stir together the oats and mil and allow to soak while you get the rest of the ingredients together, at least 3 minutes.

Thinly slice one-quarter of the onion into rings and set aside.  Finely chop the rest of the onion.  In a large bowl, combine the turkey, oatmeal mixture, c hopped onion, bell pepper, eggs, Worcestershire, ketchup, salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Mix just until combined.

Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 inches high.  Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and sprinkle with the sliced onions.  Bake until an instant-read meat thermomenter inserted into the thickets part registers 160 degrees F, about 1 hour.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

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