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Cook's Corner: Turkey meatloaf delivers flavor without the calories

Thursday, January 03, 2002

By Betsy Kline, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

You've made your diet resolutions for 2002 but already you're craving a plate piled high with meatloaf and mashed potatoes. OK, OK, maybe a side salad.

You can stick to your good intentions and still find comfort in this most American of comfort foods if you're willing to compromise ingredients, not flavor: well-seasoned ground turkey instead of ground beef; maybe a few boiled new potatoes instead of butter-and-milk mashed. Or rice is always a nice accompaniment with meatloaf.

And you can feel virtuous about that nutritional boost from the added ingredient of oatmeal. (January is Oatmeal Month, wouldn't you know it?) Forty-five minutes is about all it takes from start to finish to bring this heart-happy meal to the table, as compared to the preparations plus an hour's baking time usually required by traditional meatloaf.

The sun-dried tomatoes are a nice touch, but if you don't have them in your pantry, this recipe stands up well without them. We doubled the amount of feta cheese because we like it but omitted the optional salt.

MEDITERRANEAN MEATLOAF

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 1 ounce)
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (we doubled the amount)
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup fat-free milk

HeaT oven to 400 degrees. Soften sun-dried tomatoes according to package directions; coarsely chop and set aside.

In a small skillet, cook spinach and onion over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes until the onion is tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in cheese; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine turkey, oats, seasonings, milk and sun-dried tomatoes; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape two-thirds of turkey mixture into a 9-by-6-inch loaf in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Make a deep indentation down the center of turkey mixture, leaving about 1 1/2 inches around the edges of loaf; fill with spinach mixture. Top with remaining turkey mixture to completely cover the spinach filling; pinch edges to seal.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 160 calories; 3 grams total fat; 40 mg cholesterol; 1,385 mg sodium; 12 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams dietary fiber.

Quaker Oats Company

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