Guest Blogger: Turkey Meatloaf with Baked Sweet Potatoes and Fresh Spring Salad with Spanish/Balsamic Vinaigrette

Hey guys this is a guest post from my friend Joe “Joe Fro” Gonzalez, he is a great guy and a foodie in his own right. Check out this super healthy and delicious recipe.

I like to cook, LOVE TO COOK, and cook as often as possible. I am very health conscious and it shows through my cooking. Which leads me to the recipe I will be sharing today…*

I am also starting a blog for work as I just recently became a Realtor ® working with Century 21 Today Realty in Fonthill, Ontario.  Come visit! 

When I do 99% of my cooking, I do not follow a recipe. I freestyle cook, using ingredients I have on hand. This is my first time writing a recipe and will be using my best judgements for measurements, ratios and times. Feel free to use this as a guide, and be creative with what you have in your fridge/pantry. I’m not sure I have ever made the same dish twice where it has tasted the same. Here we go!

Additionally, for all ingredients I use organic and local when possible (grown on my family farm season permitting) or from local farmers/grocery stores.

Baked Sweet Potatoes:

  1. Preheat Oven to 350-375 F. Potatoes cook at a higher temperature, but unless you have two ovens, we will be using the same oven to cook the Turkey Meatloaf which needs this temperature.
  2. If possible, use smaller sweet potatoes so that they can finish baking around the time as the Turkey Meatloaf. I do 1 potato per person eating, plus a couple extra for leftovers. Wash potatoes thoroughly, and then dry with a paper towel. Pierce sweet potatoes using a fork or knife. Spray baking sheet with Pam, or lubricate with preferred oil. Place potatoes on baking sheet, and put in oven. If oven has not reached set temperature, add potatoes anyway so that you can move on to the Turkey Meatloaf and the potatoes can get a jump start!

Turkey Meatloaf Ingredients:

2 lbs ground turkey

10 ounces white mushrooms (any fresh mushrooms will suffice)

2-3 medium/large onions (peeled, minced/cut to preference) I love onions, so I’m not shy

1 head garlic (yes, 1 head. Rarely do I cook with less than 1 head) BAM!

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 eggs (egg whites work too, I’ve done both)

1 can tomato paste (ketchup substitutes here)

½ cup milk (I use skim, but to your preference)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil (complete guess, I’ve never measured oil for sauté purposes)

2-3 tablespoons hot sauce (I use home made hot sauce, but amount and brand are completely optional)

To taste:

Salt, (although I often use Maggi Sauce to substitute salt) pepper, Worcestershire sauce, herbs dried or fresh (I like rosemary for this, but have also used thyme, oregano, and sage. Also a combination of these herbs would be fantastic!)

Turkey Meatloaf Directions:

  1. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add fresh ground pepper and any other spices you may wish to include. Heating the spices will magnify flavours. Stir spices, and shortly after add onions and until translucent/brown. Add garlic and mushrooms sautéing until there is little to no water in the pan. Add hot sauce while mushrooms are cooking, more the better! Also add Maggi sauce now!
  2. You’ll need a large bowl to mix the ingredients. Add ground turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs, tomato paste, milk, herbs, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix thoroughly; get in there with your hands! Mix it up until you’ve got a nice consistency, and then add the cooked ingredients to the bowl. Again, mix thoroughly.
  3. Spray baking dish with Pam, or lube it up with some olive oil. Add all ingredients to baking dish and place in oven. This should take an hour give or take. When top of loaf is a nice golden brown, it’s done! That was Easy!

Spring Salad with Spanish/Balsamic Vinaigrette:

My favourite spring mix is fresh from my garden using different lettuces, arugula, spinach, cherry tomatoes. For your salad, use whatever greens you have available to you, and the ones you like. As important as the greens/vegetables are for the salad, the KEY to any great salad is the dressing! I make my own dressing with every salad at my meals. It is quick, easy, AND delicious!

Spanish/Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  1. In a mortar pestle, add half a teaspoon of salt or so. The salt is used here for flavour, as well to assist in smashing the garlic. Cut up a glove of garlic, and add it to the salt. (I use between 1 glove, to 1 head pending on how garlicy I’m feeling/guest list for the night.) Smash the garlic until it is a nice smooth consistency.
  2. Using the best olive oil you have in the house, add 2-3 tablespoons. (I try to follow a ratio of 1/3 olive oil, 1/3 vinegar, 1/3 everything else) Mix ingredients.
  3. Add an equal amount of balsamic vinegar to the mix as olive oil.
  4. I like to add just a little bit of my favourite mustard here to thicken the mix, and add another dimension of flavour. I use MAILLE Dijon Orignale which is by FAR my favourite mustard. I use it often and love it! If you like mustard, this should be in your fridge.
  5. Add as much of your favourite hot sauce, grind in some fresh ground pepper, mix, and you are ready to serve!

What makes this dressing SPANISH you ask? I am Spanish Heritage, and had to tie it into this recipe! It’s Spanish because it is my recipe!

When making salad dressing, always start with some salt in your mortar, add garlic. Use different oils to preference, and experiment with different vinegars. White, apple sider, there are MILLIONS of different balsamics, rice, red wine vinegars are nice too.

*A brief history: I met Nick while we were in university, attending Brock U in St. Catharines, Ontario. We met through my roommate, Victor Genova, whom I’m sure will comment on this post making reference to me being the only person on campus with a crockpot. Nick is a great guy, and we share a common passion, food.


**I also like to add a scoop or two of 1% cottage cheese as a side dish which I do for many of my meals.