Weeknight Dinner: Meatloaf and Polenta
Do you ever read or hear the name of food and immediately think it will be unsatisfying? That’s what I thought about meatloaf and polenta. Those foods just sound….squishy. But then you try the food and it TOTALLY changes your mind! That is also what happened with meatloaf and polenta.
Both of these foods were also very foreign to me since I had never made either. It is always intimidating to try a new food for a weeknight dinner too. That is all the food I’ve got to make this meal so I better not screw it up! And then one day, I took the plunge to make a turkey meatloaf and IT WAS DELICIOUS. I’ve continued to make turkey meatloaf when I want a simple dinner and have enough time in the afternoon to keep it in the oven for the required amount of time (50-60 minutes).
As far as polenta goes, I cheated and bought the precooked polenta from Trader Joe’s (don’t judge me) because I figure that makes it pretty much fool proof. They’ve already done the hard work! Now it was up to me to flavor it. It’s a recent discovery but I know that polenta is sort of like tofu in that it will take on the flavors you add to it. So I figured why the heck not.
Short on Time, Big on Flavor
It’s always a gamble what time I get home for the day. I could get home midday and have plenty of time to nap (I always hope for a nap), or I get home at the end of the day with an hour or two to get situated and make dinner. I’m not always one to prep dinner before hand, either. I like to see how the ingredients inspire me and go from there.
Last week, I came home and I had ground turkey and ground pork in the fridge. What inspired me to buy ground pork, I’ll never know. I was thinking about what I was going to make all day long and nothing good was coming to mind. I searched a little bit for ground pork recipes but nothing caught my eye. Finally I decided on meatloaf but I was not very happy with the prospect of meatloaf for dinner.
Then, like lightning, an idea struck! Why not make mini loaf muffins?! Small, simple, and much better for portion control. The combination of lean turkey and pork keep the calories down and make for a lighter meal that is big on flavor. Polenta is a great gluten free option and can replace the typical, starchy mashed potatoes. Pair both with some green beans and we have a good ol’ fashioned American meal!
Mini Meatloaf and Cheesy Polenta
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1/4 c breadcrumbs
- 1/4 c yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp dried ground sage
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- Your favorite BBQ sauce
- 8 oz of precooked polenta (I used Trader Joe's brand)
- 1/4c milk
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat muffin tin with olive oil or cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine ground turkey and ground pork.
- Once combined, add egg, breadcrumbs, onion, Worcestershire sauce, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sage, and time. Mix with fork or hands until just combined.
- Scoop small pieces of mixture and roll into 1-2 inch balls and place each one in the muffin tin. Meat should fill the muffin spaces.
- Push down the tops to flatten a little bit.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce on each meatloaf muffin and spread to cover the tops.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until center of each muffin is at least 160 degrees.
- Remove and cool for 8-10 minutes.
- Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. Discard remaining liquid.
- Once slightly cooled, place another tablespoon of BBQ sauce on each muffin.
- Serve immediately or cover and save in the refrigerator.
- Heat polenta as the package instructs.
- Once heated, add remaining ingredients and stir. Reheat with all ingredients and stir until smooth and creamy.
Gluten Free meatloaf option: substitute regular bread crumbs for GF breadcrumbs or almond meal
Sugar Free meatloaf option: Eliminate BBQ sauce or find a sugar free sauce