Perfectly Portioned 'Turkey Muffins'

When I was a kid, I used to roll my eyes whenever my mother groused about having to cook for an unappreciative family. Now that I’m grown up and cook for myself and my husband, I know exactly how she felt. Sorry, Mom!

When you’re the family cook, it’s definitely a challenge to make a variety of dishes that taste good, are fairly healthy, satisfy every member of your household, aren’t too expensive to make, and don’t take too much time.

Luckily, my husband will eat almost anything I cook, as long as it doesn’t have too much dairy (he’s lactose intolerant) and isn’t too salty (he’s on a low sodium diet). I’m really the one who’s picky. (I have a lot of food issues; there’s not enough space here to list all of them.)

I usually buy ground turkey from the market because it’s healthier than beef or pork, but there are only so many simple dishes you can make from it. I’ve always hated meatloaf (No. 68 of Jamie’s 214 food issues) and turkey burgers are boring. That’s why I was so happy when I discovered this recipe.

The website where I found the recipe called these little suckers “turkey mini meatloaves,” but I just call them turkey muffins because it sounds more appetizing that way. I love this recipe because not only is it easy to make, you come out with cute little muffin-shapes that are perfect for portion control. And it helped me get over my aversion to meatloaf. 

Ingredients
• Cooking spray
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I use dried parsley – I have no shame)
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 package ground turkey breast (about a pound)
• egg white from one large egg
• 3 tablespoons ketchup, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)

What to do
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and coat your pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan and sauté for five minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
3. Combine onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt, oregano, black pepper, turkey and egg white in a large bowl. Stir in 2 tablespoons ketchup.
4. Using a muffin pan with large cups, coat the pan with cooking spray. Spoon enough meat mixture into each cup to fill it slightly above the rim. Unlike real muffins, the turkey muffins will not expand. Rather, they'll shrink a little. Liquid will bubble out of the muffin cups during baking, so to avoid a mess, place the muffin tin on a baking sheet in the oven.
5. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of ketchup and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl. Brush the ketchup mixture over the turkey muffin tops. Go light or heavy, depending on how much flavor you want to add. 
6. Bake for 40 minutes, checking periodically.

Some final tips
Make this recipe your own -- add your own spices or vegetables, play around with the size of the muffins, and try different types of toppings. Just know that larger muffins will take a little longer to cook, and be aware that everyone's oven is different.

If you want to cut down even more on the sodium, cut the amount of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce in the recipe. You can always make a Worcestershire and ketchup sauce on the side for any diners who want more flavor.