I had the privilege of meeting Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh, authors of the new Random House book How to Feed a Family, at a blogger dinner just over a month ago. It was an intimate gathering and Laura and I were seated at the same table where we discussed food and blogging. Over the course of the evening, I found myself feeling more and more interested in Laura as a person. First off, she’s funny, smart, and very stylish (being a former editor at FASHION Magazine couldn’t have hurt, right?). But it was her commitment to helping her daughter cultivate a healthy relationship with food that really struck me. Both her and Ceri worked in the beauty magazine industry and shared that in those days dinner often consisted of a few hors d’oeuvres and a glass of champagne or a rushed bowl of cereal. Having children made them want to be more intentional about food choices, balanced nutrition, and connected family mealtimes. It was this deep commitment to caring about what their children ate and how they related to food that made Laura beam when she spoke.
How to Feed a Family is a culmination of these efforts. The beautifully put-together book includes a full range of kid- and family-friendly recipes covering every meal of the day, plus snacks and dessert. Nutritional notes scattered throughout the book teach us “what’s so great about kale/berries/tomatoes, etc.,” and other humorous anecdotes and pearls of wisdom fill out the remaining pages. One of the things I like most are the approaches to food and eating that preface the book. Listed out in bullet-like formatting, are real, everyday philosophies like, “if you eat at home, half the nutritional battle is won” and “get your kids involved in making and growing their food” (or at least understanding where it comes from). These philosophies, though focussed on families and kids, are ones that we can all glean benefit from.
If you’re dying to know more about the substance of the book, these freezable mini turkey meatloaves are reflective of the kinds of recipes you’ll find in it: simple, kid-friendly, fun, and delicious. Made ahead, these mini loaves make a perfect addition to a busy workday lunch. I packed a couple of them up with a salad, a couple of baby macintosh apples, and a cookie for good measure. Next on my list are the roasted tomato and garlic soup with grilled cheese croutons, the cornmeal-crusted fish sammie, and the cocoa date bars. One other recipe that has been on heavy rotation around here (and will continue to be) is the slow-cooker oatmeal with coconut, banana, and almonds. Imagine for a moment waking up to that smell!
The book boasts a range of recipes and, in my view, is best suited to families without any dietary restrictions. There are a good number of vegetarian and pescatarian recipes, most using traditional gluten-based flours. That being said, if you’re willing to experiment with subbing flour mixtures (like me!), you might find things like the Baked Spiced Apple and Sweet Potato Toaster Tarts to be calling your name. In the meantime, these little turkey loaves will make a perfect addition to your weekday lunch.
Pro Tip: When making burgers or meatloaf, try pan-frying a little sample to taste it before you cook the whole batch. That way, you can adjust the seasoning to your liking. I added some dried basil, Italian seasoning, chile flakes, and sea-salt to the meatloaf mixture and a little honey to the sauce.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onion (about ½ a medium onion)
- ⅓ cup finely chopped celery
- ⅓ cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1½ pound of ground turkey
- ½ cup rolled oats (gluten-free, if preferred)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, whisked
- ¼ + 2 tbsp cup ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Warm the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and fennel seeds and allow them to just soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a bit.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the turkey, oats, Parmesan, egg, ¼ cup of ketchup, and the sautéed vegetables and mix to combine well so that every bite has a morsel of each ingredient. The best tools for this job are your hands!
- Using a ⅓ cup measure, scoop up the mixture and put it in a 6-cup muffin tin. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ketchup with the Worcestershire sauce. Use a pastry brush or spoon to smear a bit of this glaze overtop the mini meatloaves.
- Place them in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165 degrees. *Note: I made even smaller muffins by placing them in a regular muffin pan and cooking them for less time, approximately 20-25 minutes.
- If you freeze these, do not allow them to cool on the counter first. Bacteria can flourish between 40 and 140 degrees. Once the loaves have firmed up, put them into freezer bags. The faster you freeze, the smaller the ice crystals will be. They'll keep well for 2 to 3 months.
- To reheat, either thaw them in the fridge over night and warm them in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, or bake them from frozen at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.