After a long time away, the Lazy Psychologist is back in the kitchen! As we move into Fall and get closer to the season of overindulgence, it seems like a good time to bring you another delicious, healthy recipe. If you’re a new reader, you may be wondering why on earth I’m posting a recipe to my mental health blog. The answer is remarkably simple: food affects mood. For a deeper dive on this topic, please check out my blog post Our Second Brain: The Important Connection Between Food, Gut Health, and Mood.
Taking good care of our physical and emotional selves is an excellent reason to eat good, healthful, minimally processed foods. Easy peasy, right? Ummm, well, not for me, dear readers. Long-term subscribers know that I get easily overwhelmed by meal planning, preparation, and cooking. With a busy life and an ever-growing to-do list, it’s easy to feel like making healthy meals is JUST ONE MORE THING TO DO. Complicated recipes leave me wondering how I ever finished my doctoral program. Advanced cooking techniques make me feel about as competent in the kitchen as my adorable cats, Hazel and Baxter (see right). Given how easily overwhelmed I am by cooking tasks, I am on a mission to create easy, healthy recipes to feed myself and my loved ones. An important disclaimer for all of my recipe posts: I’m a psychologist, not a nutritionist, dietician, or physician, so don’t take my recipe posts as golden advice based on the most recent nutrition science. In sharing some of my personal recipes, my goal is to inspire you to find easy ways to incorporate healthy eating as one way to cultivate healthy mood. Now on to the tastiness…
Today’s recipe: Turkey quinoa meatloaf with veggies. I found a stained printout of this meatloaf recipe by Andrew Benoit on Allrecipes while cleaning out my kitchen a while back. We used to make this recipe many years ago so decided to try it again. Score! It’s awesome! I’ve added some of my own personal touches recently to help me increase the Lazy Chef points—more on that in the next paragraph. Quite honestly, it’s not very pretty to look at when it’s all done. But it’s packed with high quality nutrition and tastes delicious!
You’ll notice that this recipe has quite a few ingredients and steps and even involves *gasp* turning on the oven. This recipe sits right on the precipice of being too complicated for my easily-overwhelmed brain. I only make this on the weekends so I have a little more brain power available. Even so, as I’m coordinating all of the steps and ingredients, I can find myself starting to move into tizzy mode. I breathe through the tizzy and remind myself that it will take more than turkey meatloaf to bring this strong woman down! There are two reasons I think this recipe is worth it the effort: Firstly, it makes lots and lots of leftovers. A high volume of leftovers is a guaranteed way to drive up the Lazy Chef points in my book. Reheating leftovers during the week allows us to conserve energy for other stuff. Secondly, everything goes into the loaf: meat, veggies, quinoa. Boom! This ups the Lazy Chef points because cooking up a bunch of different dishes and trying to coordinate the timing makes me want to run away and live off the land with my cats, Baxter and Hazel. The side serving of veggies you see in the pics below are just for show and completely optional (although oven-roasted broccoli is delicious and you may want to try it!).
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa (Lazy Chef tip: try buying pre-washed quinoa to save yourself a step)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cooking oil (I like avocado oil)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1.25 lbs (20 oz) ground turkey
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce (adds just a touch of mild heat, adjust to taste)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (Lazy Chef tip: I’ve forgotten to beat the eggs before adding it the loaf mix and it still came out just fine)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 medium carrot
1 small zucchini
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon water
1. If you are not using pre-washed quinoa, rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh colander. In a small sauce pan, bring water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the water has been absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350’ F.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it has softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside and cool.
4. Grate carrot and zucchini.
5. In a large mixing bowl, mix together turkey, cooked quinoa, onion, tomato paste, mustard, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, eggs, salt, grated carrot, and grated zucchini. This is easiest to do by hand.
6. Shape turkey mixture into a loaf shape on a baking sheet lined with foil.
7. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Spread over top of the meatloaf.
8. Bake until meat thermometer in the middle of the thickest part reads 165’ F, about 45 minutes. Let the meatloaf cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.
This healthy recipe makes about 8-9 servings and stores well in the fridge for several days.
Wishing you and yours happy, healthy eating,
P.S. Check out these other recipes from The Lazy Psychologist in the Kitchen: