It was getting late, I'd had a long day at work, and I just didn't have any ideas about what to fix my child for dinner. So I asked him what he wanted, fully expecting the answer to be "noodles with peas," which is The Kid's favorite default meal. Instead he announced, "I want to have snake for dinner like the snake I make with Play Doh," holding up his purple Play Doh snake to demonstrate.
Great. That wasn't going to happen, since I didn't have three hours to let dough rise, which was the only possible snake construction material that popped into my head. I looked through the contents of my freezer looking for other dinner possibilities. That's when I spotted the tube of frozen ground turkey and inspiration (or something) struck.
This was very much thrown together, since it's been years since I've made any kind of a ground meat loaf. After all my effort, The Kid was absolutely delighted with how it looked, but didn't eat it with a lot of enthusiasm. It wasn't a huge hit, so I won't be spending any time tweaking, but it has so much potential for other shapes or decorations, I thought I'd go ahead and post the recipe for anyone who might want to adopt and adapt it.
1 lb ground turkey
6oz can tomato paste
1 C fresh bread crumbs (also from my freezer)
1 Tbs flax seed meal
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbs orange juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line oven-safe pan with aluminum foil. Mix all ingredients together in a large nonporous bowl. Take large handfuls of mixture, form into desired shape, and place onto pan. Continue until all of mixture is used. Apply any decorations you wish to add. (For this I cut little pieces of carrot into eyes and a tongue, and used olives to make a snake like design on the back, simply because that was what was in my fridge. Thin pieces of pepper, zucchini, or other firm vegetables would all probably work.)
Most meatloaf recipes cook for about 45 minutes. I checked this skinny one after 20, but wasn't able to get a good read with my thermometer, so I put I put it back in for another 10. (Yes, I'm a raw poultry phobe.) After 30 minutes, the "Snakeloaf" was moist, savory, and held its shape fairly well.
There's been one problem I didn't anticipate: I'm not sure The Kid understands that this wasn't an actual snake! I explained several times that it was the same thing as a turkey burger, but he's been a little skeptical of Mommy. I've probably been a little too discrete about the relationship between the animals he loves and the contents of his plate!