Easy dinner recipes: Best meatloaf ever? This recipe and more

Easy dinner recipes: Best meatloaf ever? This recipe and more
Best meatloaf ever? Maybe.
Wildcat Willies wild game meatloaf
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

It probably doesn't get better than meatloaf when it comes to comfort food. And what's not to love? We have three variations, including a wild game meatloaf wrapped in bacon, a turkey meatloaf and one of the classics from our recipe archive. The total time for each of these dinners will clock in at over an hour, but remember most of that time is baking time; active time is maybe 20 minutes or so. Prepare the meatloaf in the morning if you prefer, so all you have to do is throw it in the oven when you come home. Because comfort food should be easy like that.

Wild game meatloaf: This is one heckuva meatloaf! The recipe starts out tame enough with ground hamburger, but then Wildcat Willies in Springdale, Utah, tosses some ground bison and elk into the mix. The restaurant spices it up with steak seasoning, folds in a little marinara to keep it moist and gives it festive color with diced red and green peppers. Then, to gild the lily, the restaurant lines the creation with beautiful strips of bacon, just like a present. (Sigh.) It's a meat lover's dream come true.

Ammo meatloaf and gravy: Ground turkey and chicken sausage make up the base of this version of the classic. Drown each serving under a ladle of rich gravy and you're good to go.

Turkey meatloaf: Chalk up the moist texture in this meatloaf to a little extra love in the form of marinara sauce. Along with the traditional ground meat, egg, bread crumbs and flavorings, the Overland Cafe in Palms folds in marinara with the mixture before it is baked. It's also slathered over the meatloaf when it is done. This results in an extra-moist loaf, sure to make any fan of this classic comfort food clamoring for seconds. You can find the recipe below.



1 1/2 hours / Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon oil

3 tablespoons finely diced carrots

3 tablespoons finely diced summer squash

3 tablespoons finely diced bell pepper

3 tablespoons finely diced onion

2 1/2 pounds ground turkey

3 eggs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, divided

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a sauté pan heated over medium-high heat, add the oil along with the carrots, squash, bell pepper and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.


3. In a large bowl, knead together the ground turkey, eggs, bread crumbs, sautéed vegetables, one-half cup marinara and the salt and pepper to form a uniform mixture. Because marinara sauce will vary in saltiness by brand, to check the seasoning, break off a little of the meatloaf mixture and sauté it until browned, then taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed with extra salt or pepper, or both.

4. Place the mixture in a loaf pan, mounding the loaf to mimic the shape of a loaf of bread. Bake the loaf until set and a thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, warm the remaining 1 cup marinara sauce.

5. Remove from heat and cool slightly on a rack to set before serving. Serve the meatloaf warm, with the extra marinara brushed over the loaf before slicing or ladled over the slices as they are served.

EACH OF 6 SERVINGS: Calories 402; Protein 42 grams; Carbohydrates 13 grams; Fiber 2 grams; Fat 20 grams; Saturated fat 5 grams; Cholesterol 219 mg; Sugar 5 grams; Sodium 873 mg

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