Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh, how I wish I were a Conner...

I. Am. Sick. And I. Am. MAD.

I used to never get sick. Maybe once or twice a year I'd get a measly little cold that would last a week, if even. I've gotten sick probably four times this year. I say "this year" because I'm still lumping this one in with the 2010 ills. It's more legit that way.

I spent my day in bed, where I was blessed by the television gods with a Roseanne marathon. I love Roseanne. I love love love Roseanne.

While other kids wanted to be a Tanner or a Brady or a Huxtable, I wanted to be a Conner. Sure, they were dysfunctional, they were trashy, and they were unquestionably cruel to one another at times, but they were also FUN. When I was younger and watched the show during its original run, I fancied myself more of a "Becky." Now that I'm older, I'm totally a "Darlene."

Watching the reruns, I've come to realize what I love so much about the Conners and why I still can't get enough Roseanne. Throughout the series, the Conner family endured many, many hardships. Dan lost jobs. Roseanne lost jobs. They never had a lot of money. They argued. They bitched. But they always loved. And most importantly, the Conners never gave up. Not on life and never on one another. Through unemployment, deaths, pregnancies, and anything fate threw their way, the Conner family made it through with their sense of humor in tact.

If there is any marriage I could hope for, it would be one like Dan and Roseanne's. They argued. They fought. They busted each other's chops. They were snarky and sarcastic. But they never stopped loving each other. They persevered with the strength I hope for.

My Roseanne marathon sick day got me thinking about my favorite episode, Home-Ec, from season three. In this episode, Roseanne is a guest speaker in Darlene's home-ec class, telling the class what it is like to be a homemaker. Much to Darlene's embarrassment, the class takes a field trip first to the grocery store and then to the Conner home, where they prepare meatloaf for the family. This episode represents everything I love about the Conners, and in honor of Roseanne's meatloaf, I present to you all the recipe for my favorite Barbecue Turkey Loaf.

My Barbecue Turkey Loaf was adapted from a Kellogg's recipe I found years ago. I changed some of the specs and added more vegetables and lots more spices to suit my tastes, and voila! I got a recipe that has stuck with me for years. And I have to confess, I'm a bit of a recipe slut. I love to try new things, so for a recipe to stick around as long as this one has is truly a testament to its tastiness. It has traditional elements like the corn flakes and the ketchup, but this old dog has some new tricks: ground turkey instead of beef, which is surprisingly moist, and caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Top it with a homemade mock "barbecue" sauce, and you've got a healthy meal your family will make nom nom noises over.

Enjoy this clip of my favorite Roseanne moment and give this turkey loaf a try. You won't regret it.

Barbecue Turkey Loaf


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced into crescent shape
1 8-ounce carton sliced mushrooms, button or cremini (not pictured)
2 egg whites
2 cups Special K cereal
1lb ground turkey (I use the 85% lean)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt + 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper + 1/4 teaspoon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce + 1 teaspoon
3/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons mustard (dijon, spicy brown, and yellow will all work)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar*
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

sautee pan
large mixing bowl
small mixing bowl or large measuring cup


1. Preheat your oven to 375˚F.

2. Heat olive oil in a sautee pan over medium heat and add the onions. Sautee until golden brown and add the mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Continue to cook until the mushrooms just soften, 2-3 minutes, and remove from heat.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the Special K, mix until the cereal is coated, and allow to sit while you complete the "barbecue" sauce.

4. In a small mixing bowl or large measuring cup, combine the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, honey, hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce.

5. Add the ground turkey to the cereal and egg white mixture and mix to combine. Add the onion and mushroom mixture, 3/4 cup "barbecue" sauce mixture, seasoned salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until just combined.

6. On an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, form a long loaf shape out of the turkey loaf mixture. Pour the remaining "barbecue" sauce over the top of the turkey loaf and smooth the sauce over the entire surface. **

7. Bake at 375˚F for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160˚F.

Serves 4-6.

*I suspect balsamic vinegar would be a good substitution, but I have yet to try it. Maybe next time, but I wanted to give you all the original recipe. When I try it, I'll let you all know how it turns out.

**You may be wondering why I don't use a loaf pan for this meat loaf. First, the original recipe didn't call for one--it instructed me to use the same method I have written above. Second, I didn't own a loaf pan at the time. Third, I feel this method is the best for getting the lovely "barbecue" topping all over the turkey loaf.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry you're not feeling well. :{ However, I HATE, I mean HATE, meat loaf, but this actually sounds somewhat appetizing. I may have to give this one a go. :}