Spinach and Ricotta Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

DSC_0181  DSC_0177

This meatloaf muffin is the perfect spin-off of a culinary classic, which many children despised during the early twentieth century.

The muffin is densely packed with wholesome protein and vegetable, but it does not feel or taste heavy. The filling makes it moist, with creamy ricotta cheese in every bite. The confetti-looking pieces of speckled spinach add pizazz.

The ricotta/spinach combination works perfectly. Consider the two an inspired duo, helped along by the saltiness of Parmesan and good old-fashioned salt and pepper. The muffins stand alone beautifully and can be served with salad or a side of baked fries. The topping is optional for those who like marinara.

If meatloaf is on your menu this week, try this lighter version. If you intend to serve leftovers, omit the mozzarella on top because it does not reheat as well as the rest of the ingredients.

This recipe is great to make with beef or a mix of turkey and beef.

DSC_0179  DSC_0173

Spinach and Ricotta Turkey Meatloaf Muffins (makes 12)

1 Lb ground turkey
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg, beaten
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs (or 14 Ritz crackers, crushed)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Topping (optional)

1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine and mix thoroughly with hands the turkey, spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
3. Distribute turkey mixture into the muffin-pan cups and press with back of spoon.
4. Spoon the marinara evenly over muffin cups. (optional)
5. Sprinkle mozzarella over marinara (optional).
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

DSC_0004

 

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

DSC_0184

These self-contained, portion-sized muffins are ready to be reheated at a moment’s notice. Top with spaghetti sauce or ketchup, Parmesan or breadcrumbs. These make an excellent dinner if you’re short on time. They also freeze well for quick meals on the run. To add a splash of color or sweetness, add dried cranberries or serve with a side of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner.

These muffins are especially tempting with crushed Ritz crackers on top. The sprinkle of Ritz makes an exciting impression and adds a taste that is buttery-delicious.

Tip: Use a fork to mix in order to aerate the mixture to produce a less-dense meatloaf.

DSC_0197   DSC_0186

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins (makes 12)

1 Lb lean ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs (or 14 Ritz Crackers, crushed)
3/4 cup marinara sauce
1 tsp onion salt
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups with olive oil or cooking spray, or line with paper liners.
2. In a bowl, combine turkey, egg, bread crumbs, marinara sauce, onion salt, and seasoning. With a fork or your fingers, mix all ingredients. (Use a fork to mix in order to aerate the mixture to produce a less-dense meatloaf.)
3. Distribute evenly into prepared muffin cups. Use a spoon or ice-cream scoop to pack each mound, for a more typical looking muffin-top and denser finished product.)
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes.