Pioneer Meatloaf

I'm not sure why meat loaf has such a bad reputation.  I, for one, love it.  I have a recipe for a Hawaiian loaf that involves ginger and pineapples that I've been making for years, so I'm always on the lookout for new recipes that aren't the standard meat + breadcrumbs + cover in ketchup.

While I was home in Oklahoma, I was browsing through my sister's Pioneer Woman cookbook (while watching Ree Drummond use sixteen sticks of butter in one episode of her new show, coincidentally) when I jotted down an altered version of her original recipe and vowed to make a healthy version that I could eat without dreading buttoning my jeans the next day.

This version is pure perfection in a loaf of meat.  Even though the bacon is removed, you still get the same flavor as the original recipe (or so I'm told).  Ree's recipe makes one gigantic loaf, but I made mine into two loaves and froze one.  I just wrapped it in freezer wrap then foil after baking and cooling.  I saved some extra sauce in the fridge but we've since used it as a tremendously flavorful ketchup on other dipping chips or cheese in it.  Now you know my dirty little secret.  Anyway back to the meat - each loaf makes four generous servings.

I'll do the nutritonal/calorie/fat/carb calcs and post when I have more time.

Pioneer Meatloaf
1 cup skim milk
8 slices bread
2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp Lawry's seasoned salt
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup minced parsley (or 1/8 cup dried)
4 eggs, beaten
10 slices hickory smoked bacon

1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
Tobasco sauce

Preheat oven to 350.  Pour milk over bread in a large bowl and let it soak while you gather all the other ingredients.

Mix all of the meatloaf ingredients except bacon together in the bowl with the bread and milk.  I like to do this one single ingredient at a time, and add the meat last.  I add the meat in chunks of about 1/4 lb each.  This way, I avoid mixing with my hands.  Something about having raw meat under my nails just freaks me out!

Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add Tobasco to taste, I used no less than 1/4 cup, I'm not kidding.  Just keep tasting the sauce and adding'll see what I mean & be dipping chips in it in no time!

Shape meat into two equally sized loaves and place on a broiler pan or wire rack over a larger pan or cookie sheet.  Line your bottom pan with does get messy!  Cover each loaf with a very, very thin coat of sauce, then cover each in five bacon strips.  Put a little more sauce over the bacon.

Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove the bacon and cover each loaf with sauce, much as you would when making traditional ketchup covered meatloaf and bake 15 additional minutes.

Photo of original meatloaf from