Comfort Food

February 19th, 2010

When you read a novel, do you do what I do? No matter what the dire straits the main characters find themselves in, I am always comforted by the interludes when they stop for a meal. Sometimes it is nothing more than a thick sandwich of pastrami on rye eaten over the kitchen sink with grainy mustard dripping seductively out around the edges. Sometimes in the middle of a murder trial, the beleaguered defense attorney finds solace in a hastily prepared meal of a cheese omelet and buttered toast washed down with a good Cabernet. No matter the seriousness of the drama unfolding, I judge many books on how they address food. I can stand only so much suspense and drama. I need the grounding presence of people who eat and enjoy food to keep me interested. Is it just me? It could just be one of my quirks because I am such a foodie.

One of the hardest parts of being on this diet is I feel like one of my favorite toys has been taken away from me. Food in all of it’s guises fascinates me. I would probably be happy just reading cookbooks for the rest of my life. So . . . . I am bored with what I have been eating and I feel like I have nothing to say on my blog. But I do know what I have to say about this turkey meatloaf. It is really good and it has given me comfort in the middle of this weight loss campaign. And to tell you the truth it is lower in calories and fat than a standard meatloaf. Also I am down six pounds now and that is keeping me motivated.

This turkey meatloaf is from the Barefoot Contessa and I have been making it for a few years now. I have always loved it. It just occurred to me that it would fit in well with our eating program, so we invited our fellow Weight Watcher friends over for dinner last night and shared it with them. It makes a lot of meatloaf. I halved the recipe and we still had leftovers. Hmmm, maybe a meatloaf sandwich for lunch eaten over the sink today with mayo dripping seductively around the edges . . . no . . . better hold the mayo for now. Oh well, don’t get bored with me. We are going to Key West next week and I promise pictures of Sloppy Joe’s Bar. But I may not eat one. Do you think Hemingway would approve?


3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 tsp dried)
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
5 pounds ground turkey breast (I used regular ground turkey)
1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
3 extra large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup ketchup

In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through. ( A pan of hot water in the oven under the meatloaf will keep the top from cracking.) Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold in a sandwich. I did not use the pan of hot water.

Printable recipe

17 responses to “Comfort Food”

  1. Comfort indeed! Penny, a good meatloaf always brings a bit of comfort to a meal. Maybe it is due to our memories of a different time or just knowing that you will be satisfied at the end.

    This looks like a wonderful recipe and next time I make a meatloaf, I think I will use turkey and save the calories for something else. Many thanks….

  2. Susan says:

    Penny, I love this posting. I also realize I do not read enough good novels! I don’t recall food or dinner in any novels lately. But, I will look closer for that interlude now. Enjoy the Keys. And yes, please pictures of Sloppy Joe’s and many some Hemingway cats…..

  3. Kat says:

    6 pounds is great! Hang in there, you are doing great. I love meatloaf and will have to try this.

  4. Karen says:

    I think the best part about cooking a meatloaf are the sandwiches the next day! I like mine on toasted bread with ketchup!

  5. Mary says:

    Continued success with your revised eating plan. That is a lovely meatloaf, but even halved it makes way too much food for the two of us. I can, however, recommend it to any whose kitchen chairs are always occupied. Have a good trip Blessings…Mary

  6. Lyla says:

    Oh, yes! It is Stephanie Plum, her donuts and Lula’s penchant for everything fattening that have soldered me to Evanovich’s entertaining series.And now a word from your fat friend: I,too, cheer on your massive accomplishment re: eating,but my advice for when you’re in Key West is to walk more, eat less everyday EXCEPT when you go to Sloppy Joe’s. You’ll hate your diet if you have to miss an opportunity that symbolizes so much more than food. A delicious treat won’t cause you to fall off the diet train, you’ll just slow it down for a few, memorable moments.

  7. Penny says:

    You are right Lyla! Carpe diem and let the taco chips fall where they may. We do plan on walking alot, eating sensible breakfasts in our studio apt. and relishing the good stuff in the evening. Thanks for the great advice.

  8. Congratulations, Penny! 6 pounds is huge (especially when you’re as petite as you are!)!!! Have fun in Key West – and definitely allow an indulgence here and there… it’s what life is all about!


  9. Penny, I hope you have a great trip too. I’ve never been great at diets, so I don’t have any good advice. I do know that deprivation makes us all crazy, so an occasional small splurge is healthy.

  10. Lynda says:

    I love meat loaf; your are right in calling it comfort food,Penny.
    Congrats on your weight loss, I know how hard it is as I am easily tempted and give in easily.
    I don’t read as often as I used to, but I ALWAYS love reading about the meals that the characters eat!

  11. Bella says:

    This looks like a great recipe. When you’re in Key West, just walk, walk, walk and then you can indulge a little at Sloppy Joe’s. 🙂 And if you haven’t already, be sure to stop by Hemingway’s house. It’s worth seeing. I wish you continued luck on your diet.

  12. You can’t go wrong with Ina. Sounds very tasty indeed! Have a wonderful trip.

  13. Kass says:

    Beautiful photo. I was shocked when you said it qualified for a Weight Watcher’s meal. Thanks for the recipe.

    I agree with you about how grounding food is in novels and our lives.

  14. I’ve looked at this recipe of Ina’s a couple of times, but have never tried it. I agree with Kass, I was shocked when it qualified for Weight Watchers.

    I feel your frustration. We’re trying to eat low-car but have come to a point of not loving it right now. I need a chip.

  15. Penny says:

    Kass and Sam, Weight watchers online actually has a recipe for turkey meatloaf that is similar to Ina’s. It has 6 points. You can see it here.
    Sam, I wish I had a chip too.

  16. Hi Penny!
    I’m glad you found your way to my kitchen… which led me to yours. Your kitchen is beautiful… I would love to cook in that kind of space…

    Thanks for the kind words… it inspires me to continue what I’m doing! I hope to see you around…

  17. Katy ~ says:

    Terrific accomplishment on your weight loss. It’s not easy and you are to be commended for your achievement. I am so proud and pleased for you!

    Yummm..meatloaf in all its manifestations is comfort food.

    I could enjoy every forkful of this.

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