Growing up, one of the treats that Mom would let Brother and me have was the occasional TV dinner. We would be at the supermarket, and the two of us would pester her for a Salisbury steak meal. You know which one I'm talking about, with the cute aluminum foil tray, the Salisbury steak, potatoes, peas and then a small special compartment for some sort of fruit cobbler. Mom would sigh, mutter something under her breath about the complete unhealthiness of it all, and relent, allowing us to each get one. This was such the occasional occurrence and one you would actually think Mom would relish as it meant no cooking for her, but she was always so concerned about our health she would be in agony as she baked it off in the oven for us.
It was a once in a while thing. Not often. Only when her own resolve couldn't win over our determination to get one. But when we DID eat it, for some reason that aluminum tray of processed food was the YUMMIEST thing ever. We'd sit eating, comparing notes on what combination of food on a fork made the best bite, how best to eat the cobbler, and how clean we could lick those shiny trays when we had finished most of the food.
Salisbury steak inspired me recently as I thought about what to make for dinner. My own kids have these melamine trays with little individual compartments for different foods. And it suddenly reminded me of those TV dinners with Salisbury steak. I wanted to stick something in each of those compartments and make a little meal, even if Kids didn't know what I was doing.
Enter meatloaf burgers. Individual meatloaves, shaped like burgers, topped with sauce and bacon and baked off in the oven and served, with a side of roasted potatoes and green beans. As an aside, these are made wheat, dairy and gluten free, which you don't see in a lot of meatloaves. Son and Daughter thoroughly enjoyed them, especially the crispy bacon part, and I flashed back to my own childhood.
Turkey Meatloaf Burgers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced (keep the seeds and juice)\
4 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a press
1 1/4 lb of ground turkey
1/4 cup of tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1/2 cup of sweet rice flour (mochiko) (NOTE - those who don't need dairy, egg and wheat free, substitute 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 1 beaten egg for the rice flour)
1/4 cup of basil chopped or Italian parsley chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup of tomato ketchup
1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
6 slices of bacon, sliced in half
In a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, add olive oil, bell pepper and onion.
Cook until the vegetables have softened about 6 minutes. Add chopped roma tomatoes and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook an additional 4 minutes until tomatoes have broken down a bit. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400. In a large mixing bowl (or your saucepan if it is completely cool) combine the bell pepper onion mixture with ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Combine well. Add ground turkey, sweet rice flour and basil.
Using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine until it is one uniform mixture.
Form meat mixture into six patties. Place patties onto a baking sheet, or if you want to drain off a bit more fat, on a rack on top of a cookie sheet.
Make the topping in a small bowl, mixing together balsamic vinegar and ketchup. Spoon and spread some on each burger.
Top each burger with two half bacon slices. Place into oven and cook for 30 minutes and the bacon is crispy.
My personal TV dinner
Not a great price, but just to show you what it is.