Santa Fe Meat Loaf


Every year for my husband’s birthday I ask him what he’d like for his special birthday meal. I’ll cook him whatever he wants as I am almost always the menu planner in our household. For a few years in a row now, he’s asked for meat loaf, the traditional, comfort food style. But this year he asked me to make a meat loaf that was completely nontraditional. He asked if I’d make again Cooking Light’s Santa Fe Meat Loaf, which is ground turkey based, with a salsa topping and a cheesy, peppery middle. Although surprised he didn’t want his ordinary meat loaf (and mashed potatoes of course), I wasn’t surprised to hear he wanted me to make this again. The first time I made it a few months ago, we loved it. I would say however, some of the steps in the beginning are time consuming, but worth it. In fact, I just watched Bobby Flay’s Throwdown on the Food Network and they did meat loaf and both competitors advised the best way to make your meat loaf was to saute your vegetables instead of including raw.

This recipe turns out a moist, cheesy meatloaf with a little kick. The only substitutions I made were using diced green chilies instead of the ones in Adobo sauce as I can never find them. Cooking Light has a yummy pic and some fantastic reviews. This is a great alternative to the tried-and-true classic comfort food. Enjoy!

Overall rating: 4 stars


Santa Fe Meat Loaf

From Cooking Light
Slicing the loaf reveals a hidden layer of cheese. Leftovers are especially good on a sandwich. Serve with tossed green salad and corn bread.

Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 pound 7% fat ground turkey
1 pound ground turkey breast
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
2/3 cup mild chunky salsa, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 slices 30%-less-fat center-cut bacon (such as Oscar Mayer), cooked and crumbled
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup (3 ounces) reduced-fat finely shredded Mexican-style four cheese blend (such as Kraft 2% milk)

Preheat oven to 350°.Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, and garlic to pan; sauté 1 1/2 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in chipotle chile; sauté 30 seconds. Remove from pan; cool. Combine onion mixture, turkey, turkey breast, breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup salsa, oregano, bacon, and egg whites in a large bowl.

Place half of turkey mixture in an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Arrange cheese over top, leaving a 1/2-inch border around outside edges. Arrange remaining turkey mixture over cheese, pressing edges to pack. Spread the remaining 1/3 cup salsa over top of meat loaf. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cut into 12 slices.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 slices)

CALORIES 288 (33% from fat); FAT 10.5g (sat 4g,mono 3.3g,poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 31.5g; CHOLESTEROL 88mg; CALCIUM 256mg; SODIUM 876mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 2.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 14.8g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2006



  1. This sounds a lot like Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Meatloaf, which is a favorite in our house. His involves a red pepper relish made with ketchup, red peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, etc. that’s cooked low and slow and then half is mixed with the meatloaf, some goes on top and the rest is served at the table. Very yum! I think the moistest meatloaves are made by sauteeing the veggies first.

    I like the sound of this recipe, though, because of all the spicy elements. I’ll have to copy this one down!

  2. foodiedani said

    I’ll have to check out Tyler Florence’s recipe. Love his stuff!

    I admit I used to add the raw veggies, onions were the worst, but since finding this recipe I’ve also taken to always sauteeing, even if it’s just onions. What a difference it makes! 🙂

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