Turkey Ricotta Meatloaf/Meal One - Spaghetti and Meatballs/Meal Two

Ever since trying Lidia Bastianich’s meatloaf recipe using ricotta, I won’t make burgers, meatballs or meatloaf without ricotta. I like to experiment with different mixes of meats, different add ins, and the kids have voted this their favorite so far!!

This recipe made one large meatloaf and a lasagne pan of large meatballs.

6 lb. ground turkey
1 c. oatmeal
1 egg
1/4 c. sweet pickle relish
1/2 large sweet onion, finely diced and cooked until translucent
1 large container ricotta cheese
1 packet from a Rice A Roni ** when I make multiple packs of Rice A Roni, I use less of the seasoning packs to reduce the sodium content. I use the seasoning packs from time to time to spice up my meat mixtures.

Combine everything except the meat and oats in a very large oversized bowl. Add in meat and blend well with hands to evenly distribute the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with half the oats and blend in. Sprinkle with remaining oats and blend in.

Make large meatloaf. Glaze with sauce of your choice. This time I used leftover mustard mixture from a batch of Grace’s sandwich recipe, and added to it some ketchup, balsamic vinegar and sugar,

I have frozen my meatloaf raw and then thawed in the fridge from the day before I want to serve it. The meatballs are best cooked first and frozen cooked.

Cook covered 350 F for one hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 to 30 minutes until internal temperature exceeds 165 F.

You can bake the meatballs (I use a jelly roll pan) in the same oven. They take about 40 minutes, depending on the size. Pull them out when they look golden.

Immediately remove meatloaf and meatballs from liquid that accumulates in the bottom of the pans.

The meatloaf makes killer patty melts, if you ever have any left over!!

The meatballs can be frozen for future use. I put mine directly into the lasagne pan, topped them with sliced black olives and carmelized onions, and then poured sauce over them. I kept them in the fridge for two days and baked them for dinner tonight. 350 F for 45 minutes uncovered, topping with cheese during the last 10 minutes or so.

I found a bargain on Gia Russa sauce (Traditional style) and didn’t even doctor it up. I figured that if they sell it on their website for $8.00 a jar, it wouldn’t need doctoring. I paid $2.00 at a overstock store. It was as delicious as something I slaved over all day. Their website says “Made in small batches and produced from only real Italian plum tomatoes from Italy, our sauces epitomize pasta-sauce-making as a true culinary art form: all fresh produce, fresh herbs & spices, make for producing a very balanced, light tasting sauce. All natural, no preservatives, no added sugar, no paste or puree.” I believe it! I had a little Magic Hat Pale Ale with it too! YUM.