Turkey Chili with Avocado

Turkey Chili with Avocado

I know I’ve posted my fair share of soups and stews over the past few years, but it’s for a good reason – I love cooking these types of foods! Along with sauces, soups are fun. You can change the flavors as you go – add a bit more of this, a dash of that. It’s the type of cooking that allows you to be truly creative and experimental. It’s just fun. Well, that and delicious.

My latest is a new turkey chili recipe that I made a few times this winter. It’s really simple – I mean, half the ingredients come from cans – but has tremendous flavor that you can make as strong or as mild as you like. The main spices in this version are garlic, cumin, curry powder and smoked Paprika, but the overall flavor is actually a little on the sweeter side which comes from the vegetables – onion, carrot and red pepper. Oh, and did I mention that I top it with avocado? Seriously this is a keeper.

If you like your chili to be spicier, definitely kick up the paprika or use a spicier chili powder (I personally like the smoked flavor of the Hungarian smoked paprika). Here’s the recipe.

Read more of this >>

Share

Curry-Inspired Turkey Meatloaf

Before I delve into describing this recipe, let me be clear: in no way is this an authentic curry dish (Indian or Thai – both of which I love)! Essentially, it’s a turkey meatloaf, a classic American dish, infused with some of those beautiful exotic flavors: curry powder, coconut milk, ginger, garlic, and… okay, I guess that’s really it, but I promise it’s delicious.

This turkey meatloaf is good for you, offering lean protein and a dose of vegetables with the additions of a red pepper and fresh spinach. I prefer to use lite coconut milk, just be sure to shake the can well before opening. The coconut milk is a great touch, especially for those of use who are lactose intolerant. It also keeps the turkey meatloaf nice and moist – none of those dense loafs for us!

For a new twist on an American favorite, try this recipe for Curry-Inspired Turkey Meatloaf:

Read more of this >>

Share

Almost-Cream Sauce Spaghetti with Ground Turkey, Mushrooms & Spinach

Almost Cream Sauce Spaghetti with Ground Turkey, Mushrooms & Spinach

Almost-Cream Sauce Spaghetti with Ground Turkey, Mushrooms & Spinach

It’s a very strange day when I crave something creamy. Maybe it’s because I can feel winter barreling at me like a runaway train, or maybe it’s because of all those delicious looking cream-based soups in the sandwich shop I always walk past but can’t eat because, well, because they’re cream. Either way, tonight I wanted to be a part of the lucky dairy-eating-and-don’t-have-to-think-twice-about-it club.

Almost cream sauce pasta02 Almost cream sauce pasta03 Almost cream sauce pasta04

So, as sort of a compromise between my drooling tastebuds and sense of self-preservation I made a lightened cream-like pasta sauce in which I mixed a slew of other healthy ingredients, making for an extremely well-balanced meal: extra-lean ground turkey, mushrooms, spinach, leeks, garlic and whole wheat spaghetti.

This isn’t an thick and oozy cream sauce, but rather one that just coats the noodles and ground turkey, creating delicious savory flavors and a clean mouthfeel.

Almost cream sauce pasta05

And for the heck of it, I took out some of the filling just before adding the soy creamer which I used to stuff a buttercup squash and bake. That experiment is dinner tomorrow… I’ll let you know how it is.

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Swiss Chard & Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Meatloaf

Swiss Chard & Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Meatloaf

Swiss Chard & Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Meatloaf

Comfort food usually comes in the form of sweets or carbs for me, but one night last week I found myself craving a homey meatloaf instead. So off to the store I went to buy ground turkey (for the record I just LOVE having a grocery store right across the street) then raided my refrigerator for forgotten vegetables accumulated over the last two weeks.

That’s what’s beautiful about meatloaf, the ground meat (in this case turkey) serves as a fairly clean canvas to add, or paint, other flavors and ingredients. You can go sweet with ketchup and brown sugar, like the meatloaf I grew up eating, or make it savory as I did last week.

Turkey Meatloaf01 Turkey Meatloaf02

Here’s what I found during the raid: leek, garlic, red bell pepper, Swiss chard and a small butternut squash. The first step was to roast the red pepper because it would take the longest (about 20 minutes plus cooling time). I use the broiler method at home because I don’t have gas burners (electric, boo) and the broiler works just as well.

Next I minced the garlic, chard (separating the stems and greens first) and leeks, then sauteed them until very soft because I’m not a fan of crunchy meatloaf. Except for the top of course. A crunchy top is good but the center should be soft. After that, all that was left was to cool the vegetables then mix them with the ground turkey and other seasonings, and bake in the oven.

Turkey Meatloaf03 Turkey Meatloaf04 Turkey Meatloaf05

I did not include the butternut squash in the meatloaf, it just seemed like it would be too much. So instead I peeled, seeded and cubed the squash and roasted in in the oven with a few garlic cloves alongside the meatloaf. Instant side dish!

The best part is how healthy this turkey meatloaf is. First, I used lean ground turkey (not extra lean, I like a little fat for moisture). And second, the vegetables mixed in were extremely nutritious, especially the Swiss chard which is loaded with vitamins A and C.

And in case you haven’t heard yet, I should mention that I had a minor crisis when baking the meatloaf. Rest assured I’ll be okay in time.

Here’s the recipe:

Read more of this >>

Share

Turkey Done Right Can Be Magical

Turkey Dinner

I’m not trying to brag, but I make a mean roast turkey. For some reason, I can’t always get chicken just right but my turkey, oh, it’s magically, melt-in-your-mouth flavorlicious. Not to sound cheesey, but the special ingredient here may just be the love.

And boy do I love good turkey. I go to Bulls games just to get what I consider to be the best and most over-priced turkey sandwich ever – the one sold at the north end of the United Center. The turkey is sliced to order and is served warm on whole-grain bread with cranberry-mayonnaise and roasted root vegetable chips. I always get the hiccups from eating it too fast. Mmmm, I miss that sandwich…

Anyways, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to make a turkey this year (either for the family Thanksgiving or for any of my various culinary jobs) and, to be completely honest, I was also bit disappointed in the one I ate for Thanksgiving. After the holiday I thought about buying a discounted whole turkey but what would I do with it? Certainly I couldn’t eat a whole bird myself and I didn’t have the freezer space to store it for future company. Even the whole turkey breasts were too much. So I passed, thinking this year I’d have to do without.

Turkey and Potatoes in Oven

Then, on a random stop at Trader Joe’s this afternoon to buy dark chocolate covered raisins (usually the only thing I buy there), I came across an affordable half turkey breast on the bone. I did what any other rational person would do: bought it. I also happened to stumble across a bag of multi-colored small potatoes and added them to the basket, thus making this the most I’ve ever bought at that store in one purchase.

Deglazing

At home I found a bit of fresh sage, a bag of cranberries (I’d bought them right after Thanksgiving knowing they stay fresh for a long time) and some baby spinach. I minced the sage (about 2 teaspoons) and mixed it with 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter and a pinch of salt and garlic powder, which I then rubbed all over the seasoned turkey including under the skin. I roasted it in the oven until the internal temperature reached 160F (the temperature increased while resting due to carry-over), about an hour and 10 minutes, basting with the butter blend every 20 minutes. I  added the potatoes and five cloves unpeeled garlic to the pan after 20 minutes. Once the turkey was done cooking, I transferred it to a cutting board to rest and placed the potatoes on a plate. Then I made the jus by discarding the extra fat in the pan, placing the pan over medium-high heat and deglazing with chicken stock which I reduced by half.

Sliced Turkey

I made the cranberry sauce on the stovetop while the turkey was roasting by mixing about half the bag of cranberries (about 6 oz) with enough water to cover and a few tablespoons sugar. I gently simmered it until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickened to a jelly-like consistency. The spinach was simply steamed with a pinch of salt.

Cranberries

Finally, I served myself dinner and then called my mom to brag about the delicious meal she was missing (okay, I had to brag somewhere). And I ate the dark chocolate raisins for dessert.

Share

Blog Widget by LinkWithin