Turkey Meatloaf Muffins, new and improved?
January 1, 2012 1:43 PM   Subscribe

I need more ideas for how to spice up/flavor my turkey meatloaf muffins.

My new favorite thing to make in bulk is meatloaf muffins with ground turkey. They freeze well, reheat well, are filling and healthy. I'll typically buy 4 lbs. of 99% fat free ground turkey at a time and make 4 "flavors" of muffin (1 lb. = 6 muffins). The problem is that fat-free turkey tends to be dry and not flavorful, and I'm running out of ideas for additives.

Base recipe for 6 muffins:
- 1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey
- egg whites (for binding)
- 1 slice of bread, shredded (for bulk)
- something to add moisture
- spices/flavorings
- something to glaze top of muffin (optional)

So far I've made:

traditional (ketchup, onion soup mix)
spicy (ginger pepper jelly, harissa, garlic)
Italian (tomato paste, Italian spices, garlic)
chili (pepper jelly, chili spices)
barbecue (barbecue sauce, steak spices)
Thanksgiving (butternut squash puree, sage, craisins)

I eat these A LOT, so would appreciate more ideas for flavoring/ingredients. No dietary restrictions, allergies, or strong dislikes, though I'd like to keep the muffins on the healthy/lower calorie end of things. I have Hispanic, Asian, Indian and specialty gourmet stores reasonably nearby. My knowledge of Asian/Indian home cooking is zero, though I like those cuisines, so ideas in that wheelhouse would be especially appreciated.

tl;dr How do I flavor my turkey meatloaf muffins so they are moist, delicious and well-spiced, yet still healthy and reasonably low in calories? Ideas from the Asian/Indian family of spices especially appreciated.
posted by booksherpa to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
lemongrass, ginger and spring onion?
pesto and whole pine nuts?
rosemary, black pepper and walnuts?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:50 PM on January 1, 2012

How about teriyaki sauce, garlic and ginger? Green onions and cilantro can add some flavor, too.
posted by dragonplayer at 1:53 PM on January 1, 2012

Definitely make some with ginger (could do both fresh and dried) and possibly some cayenne if you like spicy! Maybe ginger with diced apple or something like that.

Fennel and carrots and red peppers would be colorful and tasty.

Mulling spices, too: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove -- this would also be good with apple or, actually, bits of orange.
posted by rosa at 1:55 PM on January 1, 2012

I always like turkey with dill.

Horseradish and cranberries.
Vindaloo seasoning would work well too I bet.
posted by ian1977 at 1:57 PM on January 1, 2012

Garlic, ginger, coriander and sweet chilli sauce.

Basil pesto, garlic and kalamata olives.

I also usually add grated carrot and/or courgette for extra fibre and moisture.
posted by hot soup girl at 1:59 PM on January 1, 2012

Liberal parsley will brighten up any of those flavors, but this is what's going to change your life with regards to dry turkey loaf:

Gelatin. 1/2 tsp per pound.
posted by cmoj at 2:01 PM on January 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

Curry powder or paste.

Really, I treat ground turkey as a blank canvas. It accepts just about any seasoning imaginable.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:05 PM on January 1, 2012

posted by spinifex23 at 2:05 PM on January 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

You could buy (or make) some Thai green curry paste and use that.
Blue cheese?
posted by emilyw at 2:05 PM on January 1, 2012

We use this recipe for Indian Spiced Turkey Meatloaf and it's our new go-to recipe. (I found it when out of Lea & Perrins one day.)
posted by cobaltnine at 2:08 PM on January 1, 2012

Go Thai. Mix in basil, cilantro, mint, any garlic.
Or work with the turkey and add some sage and dried cranberries.
Or go for a bloody Mary theme: ketchup, tabasco, celery seed, horseradish.
Or teriyaki sauce and crumbled nori (maybe some wasabi)
posted by plinth at 2:41 PM on January 1, 2012

Ricotta cheese helps a bunch with texture and moisture (I add it to my turkey meatballs).
posted by biscotti at 2:48 PM on January 1, 2012

Try using oatmeal or cooked barley instead of bread.

I occasionally like using salsa.

Teriyaki + honey + cinnamon is also pretty good.

Sage, rosemary, poultry seasoning + cornbread instead of bread bread.

Caramelized onions.

You can throw damn near any vegetable in there to add texture, moisture and maybe flavor. I even throw in broccoli sometimes.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:12 PM on January 1, 2012

One additive I recently discovered is oats. Goes nicely with the turkey and gives it a bit of chew. Then I load it up with Korean red pepper paste.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:19 PM on January 1, 2012

My turkey meatloaf has been awesome since I tried a recipe on Allrecipes that called for adding a quarter cup (dry) of quinoa, cooked in broth, per pound of turkey. Adds a nice texture and moistness.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 3:21 PM on January 1, 2012

Maybe use the egg yolks in addition to the whites?
posted by mskyle at 3:29 PM on January 1, 2012

Along the semi-homemade lines without being too Sandra Lee:

* Fresh oregano in the muffins or in some tomato sauce to go on top of the muffins; grated cheese.
* Patak's curry pastes
* Trader Joe's curry simmer sauces
posted by Currer Belfry at 4:05 PM on January 1, 2012

Add 1/2 cup each Black beans, cooked rice, caramelized onions; add some lime juice, chicken broth, an egg, tsp of cumin and poultry seasoning. It's like Cuban pork and black beans without all the fat. Eat or freeze promptly after cooking; black beans don't last long in the fridge.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:19 PM on January 1, 2012

Seconding curry powder. I would suggest using a yellow curry powder and fresh onions in the meatloaf mix, and top with jarred curry sauce. You could add fresh cilantro if you are a fan, too.
posted by shortyJBot at 5:07 PM on January 1, 2012

Response by poster: Oh my goodness, I'm looking forward to trying so many of these. I'll report back (and assign some best answers) after experimenting. Mr. booksherpa and I will have to prioritize what flavors the next cooking session will involve. Keep 'em coming!

> this is what's going to change your life with regards to dry turkey loaf: Gelatin. 1/2 tsp per pound.

I'm tempted to ask a whole 'nother question next week that will garner me more tips like this. These "secret ingredient" suggestions can make a big difference, especially to a relatively inexperienced cook like me. Thanks!
posted by booksherpa at 7:28 PM on January 1, 2012

Sauteed onions, shallots, mushrooms. I put these through the food processor and saute with a bit of olive oil until they start to brown.

Also, consider adding some ground lamb; about 20% lamb to 80% ground turkey will up the meaty flavor.
posted by bloggerwench at 8:18 PM on January 1, 2012

I really like this recipe with jalapenos and blue cheese
posted by maloon at 7:20 AM on January 2, 2012

I should also mention that 99% fat free turkey gives a very dry meatloaf. I usually use the fattier ground turkey or mix 99% turkey with ground beef as well (IIRC use 85% fat-free because it's cheap).
posted by plinth at 7:52 AM on January 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sriracha! - holy crap so good w/ just some sauteed onions
caramelized onions & roasted garlic
dried cranberries and onions

- clearly I love onions :)
posted by heartquake at 8:19 AM on January 2, 2012

Response by poster: Naturally, as soon as I posted this we've been mostly on a meat muffin slow period, mostly making flavors we've already done. However, we made one batch with ricotta like biscotti suggested and they were AMAZING! That batch also had some shredded baby spinach, tomato paste, and Italian spices. Haven't noticed a big difference with the gelatin, but I've been adding it to every batch. We've got the thread printed out (as a list of ideas) to play with as we make more. Thanks everyone!
posted by booksherpa at 9:41 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: In under the wire with an additional note. We made a giant 4+ pound batch of meat muffin mix recently (with a seriously ridiculous amount of stuff in it, spices, salsas, everything in the house that sounded good and compatible) and made some of the mix into little meatballs, and baked them in a 24 slot mini muffin tin. So good! We cooked them the same amount as we did the regular meat muffins (about 20 minutes at 350 F) and they were delicious. So, try them as mini meatballs in addition to meat muffins.
posted by booksherpa at 10:43 PM on December 30, 2012

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