Turkey Meatloaf with Bacon, Carmelized Onions, and Smoked Mozzarella
Back before I was married, I worked at a retirement home on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It's residents were wealthy, rather demanding, but generally kind. The days where the demands outweighed the kindness, my friends/co-workers Regina and Shelley and I, would fake an important meeting, close my office door and talk food. We got on a kick of coming up with stuffed meatloaf concoctions. We competed who could come up with the best; blue cheese and mushrooms, bacon and cheddar, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and basil, ratatouille. Meatloaf was our blank canvas; we could put all kinds of combinations of ingredients in it and it would come out delicious. And, no one was a loser in this competition.
I was thinking of those days and thought I needed to bring the stuffed meatloaf back! So my creation today starts with caramelizing onions and bacon, then combining that with ground turkey. Smoked mozzarella and sundried tomatoes create the gooey layer in the middle. It's topped with a sweet and spicy tomato sauce. The end result is a slightly smoky, almost sweet dish, with a creamy texture from the melted cheese and a bit of tomato in every bite.
Harrison was hanging with me, so he was my helper in the kitchen. It is one of those dishes that kids can easily help create. He got his hands in there and mixed it up and had a blast. I will say, there was ground turkey everywhere when he was done; light switch, sink, floor, stool, yuck. But, so what! He helped and was really proud come dinner time. He told everyone how we made it, that yes, there really is bacon in it! He ate it, and the rest of the family gobbled it up and asked why I don't make meatloaf more often. Victory!