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South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo Recipe)

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo Recipe)

As much as I like trying new flavors, I could eat and drink certain things every day without tiring of them.

I like what I like, and sometimes it’s just easier to run on autopilot in terms of making meals. Why reinvent the wheel? Does anyone else agree?

Anyhoo, I’ve been feeling less-than-inspired this past month, which has translated into me living on the staples: salsa, hummus, carrots, dark chocolate, deli meat and nut butter. <— I just typed “butt nutter” on accident. LOL.

Luckily, a last-minute Sunday meal prep inspired me to take the usual suspects and combine them to make a FANTASTIC new main dish: South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf.

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo friendly recipe) from Hungry Gator Gal

Photo by Brianna Kolota

Seriously. This meatloaf is delish. I’m eating it as I finish typing this post.

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo friendly recipe) from Hungry Gator Gal
Photo by Brianna Kolota 

If you’re a fan of making tex mex meals, you probably have all the ingredients to bake this incredibly flavorful, somewhat spicy meatloaf. It takes about 2 minutes to prepare and an hour to cook.

Tip: Feel free to bake sweet potatoes in the oven or make a tray of roasted broccoli while the meatloaf is cooking. When I can remember, I bake everything at once during the week to save my apartment from the heat of the oven. Let’s not make the air conditioning bill higher than it needs to be.

If you’re cooking for one, this meatloaf makes about four servings. If you bake the broccoli and sweet potatoes, just add them to a Tupperware container with a slice or two of meatloaf. Just like that, you’re good-to-go for lunch tomorrow.

Easy leftover lunch from Hungry Gator Gal: south of the border turkey meatloaf, roasted broccoli, and a chickpeas/diced tomato mixture topped with red wine vinegar and Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute.

In photo by Brianna Kolota: meatloaf, roasted broccoli, and a chickpeas/diced tomato mixture topped with red wine vinegar and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute.  

You’ll find the recipe below. Let me know what you think if you try it! Did I mention it’s gluten- and grain-free? You’re welcome, my paleo friends. 🙂

South of the Border Turkey Meatloaf (Gluten- and Grain-Free; Paleo Recipe)

Makes four servings

Difficulty: Easy peasy

Total Preparation Time: 2 minutes

Total Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup restaurant style salsa (The more liquid, soupy kind)
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey (I used the 93/7 variety.)
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers
  • 2 egg whites (1/3 cup)  

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spray a bread/loaf pan with cooking spray or spread some oil in the pan.
  4. Add meat mixture to pan and smooth top with a spatula.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. Optional: Wrap some sweet potatoes in foil and/or make a large tray of roasted broccoli to eat on the side and/or with leftovers during the week.

Related HGG Posts:

Spicy Salsa Meatloaf

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad (mayo-free; made with Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressing)

Salsa Ranch Tuna Salad (mayo-free; made with @BolthouseFarms yogurt dressing)

Easy Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

If you’re cooking for a crowd filled with people who love Mexican food, check out this next recipe I “accidentally” created using kitchen staples.

Easy Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

 

Let’s face it – this pan of cheesy chicken goodness came out of the oven looking more like lasagna than enchiladas.

To make a long story short, I really wanted  lasagna during my last night at home in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the ingredients on hand, so I went to my “default” meal flavor –  Mexican. However, it doesn’t seem as though I could get the idea of Italian food out of my head.

This Mexican lasagna could also be called baked chicken fajitas due to the choice of wrap, nontraditional sauce and added fillings.

For one thing, I think flour tortillas taste boring, so I used sprouted whole-grain tortillas for this recipe. Secondly, I’m not a huge fan of soggy tortillas, so I combined taco sauce with cream cheese to make my own thick enchilada sauce. These baked wraps also contain a heaping pile of veggies and beans you wouldn’t normally find in enchiladas.

I guess I could have named this recipe “Baked Chicken Fajita Lasagna with Veggies, Beans and a Cream Cheese Enchilada Sauce.” However, something tells me this title is a bit too complicated.
I think I’ll stick with my original title. “Easy Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas” it is.

Easy Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

Serves four to six persons

Difficulty: If you can stir-fry veggies and wrap a tortilla, you can make this recipe.

Total Preparation and Cook Time: 45 to 60 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (You may omit this ingredient if you want the enchiladas to be very mild.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • One large green bell pepper, cut into small strips
  • One small onion, diced (Any type will work. I used red onion.)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (I used Publix Neufchatel.)
  • One 8-ounce jar of taco sauce (I used Old El Paso.)
  • 8 taco-sized tortillas (I used Ezekiel 4:9’s sprouted whole-grain version.)
  • One 15-ounce can of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Three slices provolone cheese
  • Shredded lettuce on the side (This is optional. I used romaine, but feel free to use what you have on hand.)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Salsa (optional)

Steps:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place chicken in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook chicken for about 12 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, heat oil on in a large skillet at medium-high heat. 
  4. Add pepper strips, diced onion and all spices. Cook for about 10 minutes or until peppers are golden brown and onions are translucent.
  5. Remove veggies from the pan and set aside. 
  6. Drain water from the pot of chicken. Using a fork and knife, shred the chicken. Set aside in a separate bowl.
  7. Place taco sauce and cream cheese in the pot. Heat on a medium-low setting and stir until cream cheese has melted and no chunks remain.
  8. Evenly spread half of the sauce mixture on the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch baking pan.
  9. Place one tortilla on a small plate or cutting board. Add one small handful of chicken, about two spoonfuls of beans and a small handful of veggies to the center of the tortilla. 
  10. Roll the tortilla as best you can. Flip the tortilla over so the edges are facing downward. Place it in the pan.
  11. Repeat the previous step until you have filled and added eight tortillas to the pan. 
  12. Spread the remaining sauce mixture on top of the tortillas.
  13. Tear provolone slices into small strips and place on top of the tortillas.
  14. Bake the enchiladas uncovered for 20 minutes. 
  15. Turn oven on the broil setting and cook for an additional four to five minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbling on top of the tortillas.
  16. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes before serving.
P.S. The ingredient and steps lists may seem long, but I promise the recipe is very easy to make and will impress a crowd! 
My parents lived in California and had their fair share of traditional Mexican food while living close to the border. They said the enchiladas tasted authentic, even though I added my own twist. 
Enjoy! 🙂

Related HGG Posts:

Easy Beef Enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo

Taco Tuesday

Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos and Spicy Cilantro Salsa

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Meatloaf – love it or hate it, it’s here to stay.

Despite the bad rap this classic entree sometimes gets, meatloaf found itself atop 2012’s food trend list. Although new trends emerged with the dawn of 2013, this comfort dish hasn’t disappeared. People around the world continue to reinvent the ever-versatile meal.

I hopped on the meatloaf-loving train last year with my nontraditional Spicy Salsa Meatloaf. The dish tasted incredible, but I somehow managed to forget about the recipe as summer turned to fall, fall turned to winter, and winter turned to spring.

I probably would have never made meatloaf again if Julie Fagan, the blogger behind Peanut Butter Fingers, hadn’t posted a picture of a version she made about a month ago. Let’s just say it wasn’t long before I found myself at the grocery store buying the ingredients for her easy but incredibly satisfying twist on Cooking Light’s recipe.

I followed Julie’s recipe exactly to make a loaf for my family at home a few weeks ago. When I returned to school and cooking for one, I cut the recipe in half, which made nine muffin-sized meatloaves.

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Julie used Bone Suckin’ Sauce, but I wanted to try a new-to-me brand called Stubb’s. I’d been on the hunt for a brand and flavor without high-fructose corn syrup and finally found a winner in Stubb’s Original, All-Natural Bar-B-Q Sauce. It tasted incredible in this recipe and served as inspiration for a few new creations I promise to share soon!

Both the loaf and muffin versions were moist, flavorful and not-at-all boring. The loaf takes about twice as long to cook (about 40-50 minutes), so if you’re craving meatloaf but find yourself in a hurry, I’d go the muffin route. They only take 20 minutes to cook.
I ate three minis for dinner with crispy, baked sweet potato fries last week and packed three muffins for lunch with carrots and hummus the next day. I didn’t reheat the meatloaves, but they tasted just as good when eaten cold.
You should have seen the strange looks I got from other UF students as I sat on a picnic bench on campus, knife and fork in hand, eating my all-American dinner for lunch. Do you think they were jealous or just confused as to what I was eating? I guess I’ll never know. 
Enjoy 🙂

Questions:

  1. Did you eat meatloaf as a kid?
  2. Have you tried any interesting meatloaf recipes lately? Please share!

Related HGG Posts:

Spicy Salsa Meatloaf

Crispy, Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Chicken and Biscuit for One


 

Of Possible Interest:

 
Ethnic Meatloaf Recipes from Best-Meatloaf-Recipes.com

My Favorite Meatloaf from The Pioneer Woman

9 New and Flavorful Meatloaf Recipes from Sophia Venetos of Recipe4Living

Easy Beef Enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo

Easy Beef Enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo

Hello, and happy Cinco de Mayo!

If you’re looking for a recipe that is easy but will knock your socks off on this beloved Mexican holiday, look no further.

Easy Beef Enchiladas from Recipe Girl

The above-pictured Easy Beef Enchiladas from Recipe Girl  tasted so good that I made two huge batches: one for an end-of-the-semester celebration before I left Gainesville and one for my family when I arrived home the next day.

These hearty enchiladas take about an hour to make from start to finish. The smell of seasoned beef  and warm sauce wafting through the kitchen is heavenly, but resist the urge to dive in! Waiting for the cheese to melt and tops to crisp under the broiler is well worth the wait.

I followed Lori’s recipe but made the following changes to make the enchiladas a bit healthier:

  1. I swapped 12 corn tortillas for 8 Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Flour Tortillas and did not fry them in oil before baking.
  2. I didn’t make my own enchilada sauce. Instead, I used two small cans found in the ethnic foods aisle at Publix. I can’t remember the brand name, but the ingredient list was short and simple.
  3. I added two 4.5-ounce cans of green chilies to the beef-zucchini-onion mixture.
  4. I scattered fresh diced tomatoes on top of the enchiladas.

I topped my enchiladas with sliced avocado, diced bell peppers and a dollop of plain low fat Greek yogurt. However, I’m sure they taste just as good with sour cream and/or other veggies.

P.S. Be sure to check out Lori’s Zucchini-Beef Enchiladas recipe too!

Related HGG Posts:

Southwest Chicken Chili

 Chili Lime Chicken Burger Salad

Avocado Taco Salad

Turkey Burger Spaghetti Bowl

Turkey Burger Spaghetti Bowl

The following picture is what I call a hot mess of a meal . . .

But then again, how is eating spaghetti fun if you don’t get sauce all over your face? And let’s not forget to dirty the counter, the bowl, and your clothes while we’re at it.

I feel somewhat silly telling you how to make spaghetti, but I’ve realized lately that some people’s brains don’t work the same way mine does.

A normal person looks into the freezer, sees a turkey burger and decides to eat it on a bun with ketchup, mustard, cheese, lettuce, etc. Some frozen french fries might also make an appearance. When I look into the freezer, I see a turkey burger and decide to eat it bunless with tomato sauce on a bed of spaghetti and sauteed veggies.

I know. I’m weird.

Anyway, this meal is quick, easy, cheap and complete according to My Plate standards. Whole grains? Check. Veggies? Check. Lean protein? You betcha.

Go ahead. Make a healthy mess, and enjoy every bite. 🙂

Turkey Burger Spaghetti Bowl

Serves One 

Difficulty: Some multitasking is involved, but it’s manageable.

 

Total Preparation and Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • One frozen turkey burger (I used a Bubba Burger, which provides five grams of fat and 25 grams of protein for only 160 calories.)
  • One ounce whole grain spaghetti (I used Barilla.)
  • One handful each of frozen broccoli, fresh spinach, sliced red pepper and diced onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs Dash Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning Blend
  • A few dashes each of ground black pepper and Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Classico’s Tomato & Basil, which is low in sugar but full of flavor.)

Steps:

  1. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and bring to medium heat. Also bring about four cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, place your turkey burger in the skillet and cook for five minutes.
  3. While the first side of the burger is cooking, slice and dice the peppers and onion. 
  4. Flip the burger when the underside is golden-brown. Add all veggies to the pan and season with the spices.
  5. At this point, your water should be boiling. Add the pasta and cook for eight to nine minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, stir your veggies around in the pan to avoid burning.
  7. Your burger, veggies and pasta should finish cooking at about the same time. Drain the water from the pot and place spaghetti in a large bowl.
  8. Add your veggies and sauce. Stir until well-combined. Place ‘the turkey burger on top.
  9. Use your fork and knife to swirl and stab pasta, veggies and protein all into one bite!

Questions:

  1. Do you prefer pasta or spaghetti?
  2. Do you prefer tomato sauce or Alfredo sauce? (Fun fact: I’m all for team red sauce, but my dad is in love with all meals involving white sauce.)

Related HGG Posts:

Easy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

 

Italian Style Hummus Crusted Chicken with Veggies 

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Spinach-Mozzarella Grilled Cheese


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Of Possible Interest:

Garlic Chicken Pasta Bowl – Del Monte

Cheesy Turkey Burger Pasta Skillet – epicurious

Black Bean Pasta Bowl – ready set eat