Italian Turkey Meatloaf

Today’s Kevin and my four-year wedding anniversary.  Yay!  I get just as excited about our anniversaries as I do my birthdays, which is funny since we never exchange gifts and don’t even have plans this year.


Our Rehearsal Dinner @ Baraonda in Atlanta

We agreed that four years is worth celebrating but not worth throwing down a bunch of cash.  We’ll splurge next year on a little fall foliage getaway or an anniversary photo session.  (Kevin might humor me with the photos since I never got a professional engagement session.)


My Pitiful Attempt @ Engagement Photos

These four years have taught me a lot of things, like how to trust, the importance of respect, the amazing capacity of my own heart…


Kevin’s Plate – Italian Green Beans & WW Mac

and how to cook.


Pre-Smothered & Baked Turkey Loaf

I’m no chef, but I’ve come a loooooong way since our first few dinners of burned chicken, watery tofu lasagna, and Lean Pockets.  For instance, just take this Italian turkey meatloaf I came up with all on my own.  Kevin was pleased, to say the least.


Turkey Loaf, Smothered & Oven-Ready

Italian Turkey Meatloaf


  • 1 cup oats (cheap old fashioned oats are great)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup (heaping) diced onion
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup shredded 2% Italian cheese blend (I’m sure just mozzarella would probably work.)
  • 1.3 lb (20.8 oz) lean ground turkey***
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, divided (I used Classico’s Tomato & Basil, which doesn’t have too much sugar.)
*** I used 99% lean, and it turned out great.  I added 1 tsp oil, but it was so moist that I don’t think that was even necessary.  If using fattier meat, decrease your sauce a little.  If your store sells ground turkey in 1-lb packages, just decrease the oats and marinara, and you should be just fine.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a loaf pan.  I used Pam’s organic olive oil spray.
  • Mix all of the ingredients except the marinara sauce in a medium/large bowl.  By “mix” I mean, get your hands dirty.
  • Add half the marinara sauce, and mix well.
  • Press the meat mixture into the loaf pan, and pour the remaining marinara sauce on top.  You can use a little less sauce if desired.
  • Bake the loaf for about 50 minutes, or 45 minutes if using 1 lb of turkey.  You really have to trust your oven and the feel of the baked loaf with this recipe.  The sauce makes even the cooked turkey look pink, so use extreme caution to not under-cook it.
This recipe adds flavor to lean protein with aromatic and delicious spices.  It’s true comfort food.  This recipe does not add extra sodium or fat with processed breadcrumbs.  Yeah, you could use Italian breadcrumbs here, but the oats work very well.

See, I told ya’ I was getting better at cooking!  Ironing on the other hand might be another forty four years.


  • If you’re married, did you get engagement photos?  If you’re not, would you want them?
  • Do you exchange gifts for anniversaries?

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19 Responses to Italian Turkey Meatloaf

  1. Aw, yay! Happy Anniversary! I hope you two enjoy the day! :)

  2. I love making turkey meatloaf! Its so delicious!

  3. Happy Anniversary to you both! Kevin definitely has no reason to complain about your cooking now… the dish sounds fantastic! And I’d really like to get engagement photos done when I’m getting married, but to be completely honest, even without the lack of professional photog, I still think that the one you took of the both of you looks really good :)

  4. Happy Anniversary!! Your cooking looks like it’s something to be proud of:) Even in the morning, the meatloaf sounds incredible!
    I’m not even engaged, but engagement photos aren’t my favorite – I always feel like I’m creeping on people when I look at them! Same thing for when people post honeymoon pictures. I don’t know if I want to share all of that with others – I want it to be my thing!

  5. Happy Anniversary!! Hope you guys have a wonderful day!!

  6. Kacy says:

    Happy Anniversary! Tom and I don’t really exchange gifts either. It’s too much pressure!

  7. Happy Anniversary!!! We did get engagement photos. I loved them. but really we didn’t buy any of them sooo they were just pretty to look at.. they were also included in our wedding photo package so we thought why not!

    We don’t usually exchange gifts.. We go out to dinner, and every year so far we have taken a trip on our anniversary.. first year we went to london/ireland… last year we went to Vancouver, and this year we went to San Diego :)

  8. Happy Anniversary! Good job on the meat loaf! Not an easy item to photograph. haha.

    We don’t always get each other gifts for our anniversary, just make it more of a special day/night for us and make sure we hang out together.

    We just did our engagement photos last Sunday. I saw a preview and can’t wait to see more! We’re going to use them for our save the dates, christmas cards, and a guest sign in book.

  9. Happy Anniversary — I like the idea of splurging for the 5yr too!

  10. Happy Anniversary! We did not get engagement pics…but we did have that fun photo shoot the day after the wedding to trash my dress – that was WAY fun!

    xoxo from Trinidad

  11. healthy and easy, going on my list because D will love this.

    I love our anniversary, we don’t often do anything major that day because I think we do a good job of appreciating each other all the time! But I am thinking for 5 years we may just have something fun on the books

  12. Elena says:

    Happy anniversary–and yum! bookmarking this recipe for use next week!

  13. Laura says:

    Happy Anniversary!
    My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over 2 1/2 years and we never exchange gifts for any special day. This is the first time we even gave each other a little birthday gift (he started that lol). I really like that. i think that it takes the stress factor out of the entire occasion. We just try to get some quality time together, maybe a nice dinner and some wine.

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