Bring on the Comfort Food: Turkey Meatloaf and Cheesy Cauliflower {Recipe}

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Now that we are getting through  holidays and settling into the throws of winter, it’s a great time to try on  some new recipes. If your household is like mine, the past several weeks have brought in a stream of  baked goods, candies, and special foods for entertaining. Although it has been a delicious experience and absolutely wonderful to enjoy with family and friends,  it’s time to get the whole family back on track with healthy eating. 

That said, it’s still wintery and stormy outside, and I’m not quite ready to give up on the comfort foods. One of my favorite  meals is fresh-baked, hot out of the oven meatloaf and thick hearty vegetables. In the past, I’ve made this meal with recipes that call for rich ground beef, bits of tender bread, savory sauces and lots and lots of gooey cheese on the veggies.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! This time around, however, I’ve made a healthier version that captures all of same comforting flavors without the extra fats and starches. 

The meatloaf is made of lean ground turkey instead of fattier beef, and it is tenderized by adding milk instead of breadcrumbs. The lactic acid and enzymes help to break down the protein and release extra collagen to keep the meat soft and juicy. The cauliflower is slow roasted to release a natural robust sweet flavor, and a light layer of cheese is broiled on top just before serving to create a crunchy gooey topping. The end result is a meal that tastes great without having all the extra carbs and calories. Yes!

It’s also a great meal to make ahead. I like to prepare it in the afternoon and let the whole thing cook in the oven for an hour before serving. It fills the whole house with incredible aroma, and I get to have the evening to spend outside of the kitchen with my kiddos. 
Turkey Meatloaf and Cauliflower, healthy comfort food recipe
Per serving: 386 Calories  41g Protein  13g Net Carbs  17g Fat  603mg Sodium

Meatloaf

1 cup onion finely chopped
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup Chicken broth low sodium
40 oz. lean ground turkey
1 tbsp milk

Ketchup Topping

2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Stevia in The Raw
1/8 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Cheesy Cauliflower

9 cups Cauliflower florettes
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Cheddar cheese shredded


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Coat a loaf pan in cooking spray and preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
     
  2. Saute the onion over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes until it becomes soft and fragrant. Add salt, pepper and thyme and cook for 1 minute more. Set aside and let cool slightly.
     
  3. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, Worcestershire sauce, broth, and milk. Mix everything thoroughly.
     
  4. Pack the meat mixture into your pan and shape it into a smooth mounded loaf using the back of a spoon.
     
  5. Spread to cover the top with home-made ketchup and bake for 80 minutes, or until the center reads 160 degrees and the sides pull away from the sides of the pan.

Ketchup Topping

  1. Whisk tomato paste, cider vinegar, Stevia, onion powder and salt to make a quick low-carb ketchup. 

Cheesy Cauliflower

  1. Season the cauliflower with salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large baking dish coated in cooking spray. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake it in the oven for 60 minutes at the same time as the meatloaf. Check it periodically and remove it when the cauliflower becomes soft and tender.
     
  2. Just before serving, remove the foil, sprinkle the top with cheese and broil it in the oven for 2-4 minutes until the cheese becomes bubbly.
     

Enjoy! What are your family’s favorite winter meals or healthy comfort foods? 

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Katie is a native of Portland, Oregon and lives in Tigard with her two young children and husband Rob. She is a cooking enthusiast, athlete, and a graphic designer by trade. She has spent the last 15 years learning about health and nutrition, mastering the art of healthy cooking for weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Her passion for food comes from her own experience losing weight and craving something delicious along the way. She is the author of a cookbook, and she continues to write recipes on her blog Eating Lean & Green. She writes with the intention to provide healthy alternatives for favorite foods that not only fuel your body, but taste good enough that you'll want to share them with the people that you love.