Last night I was nursing sweet Baby A before bed and thinking about what protein to include in the big kids’ lunches. If you recall, W and M have very different tastes and I can usually only please one of them at a time.
I bought a pound of ground turkey this week, thinking I would make some sort of turkey-burgerish-kind-of-thing for their lunches. But as I nursed and cuddled Baby A, I came up with the idea for Turkey Meatloaf Cookies.
The kids love the Thanksgiving Meatballs from Diane Sanfilippo’s Practical Paleo, but they’re made with pork and not turkey. And, my kids carry Planet Box lunchboxes to school, so we are limited in food height which makes big, juicy meatballs less appealing after being smushed for a few hours.
Then there’s are the realities that my kids are more likely to eat a food that is:
- in a fun shape
- dotted with something sweet.
And thus was the evolution of the Turkey Meatloaf Cookie.
My priority was making this recipe super simple – you only have one real measurement to make and the chopping is largely done by the food processor. It takes about five minutes to smash all this stuff together and pop in the oven. I am sure that from a culinary perspective, I could add some steps to make these even better than they are. But I want tired moms and dads to be able to enjoy a quiet evening instead of slaving over a gourmet lunch for their kiddos.
If you don’t want to use cookie cutters, you can cut into small squares or strips. This would make a great dinner when you want something just for kids. Offer up a plate of dipping sauce options – honey mixed with mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce.
The feedback from my kids went as follows:
- W – “Really awesome!”
- M – “I didn’t have time to eat it.” Hmmmm …
- A – Pointed at the container and grunted for more.
Let me know what your kiddos think!
(BTW, I made extras, popped them between sheets of parchment paper and froze them for future time-crunched lunches.)
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 carrot
- ½ medium onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 TBSP fat (I used bacon fat.)
- ½ cup dried cranberries (Watch out for extra sugar and nasty oils in these.)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Quickly rough chop the celery through garlic. Toss into food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, taking care that you don’t puree it.
- Heat skillet to medium. Melt fat in skillet and turn to coat pan.
- Add vegetable mixture and cook until soft, salting as you wish.
- Set aside in another dish to cool.
- In a large bowl, add turkey with some salt and pepper to taste.
- While veggies are cooling, take a cookie sheet and cover with parchment paper. Make sure that the cookie sheet has a lip to it or you will have a mess and the potential for an injury.
- When veggies are cool, add them to turkey and mix thoroughly. (I used my hands.)
- Add cranberries and mix to incorporate.
- Press final mixture flat onto parchment paper. You want a depth of about 1 inch.
- Cook in preheated oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (About 25 minutes.)
- Cool and then cut into shapes with a cookie cutter or knife.