Category Archives: Turkey

Autumn Penne Pasta with Sauteed Brussels Sprouts in a Light Ragu

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m sure:  I hate that brussels sprouts get the bad reputation that they do.  They are our favorite vegetable, we almost always have some in the house!  So needless to say, instead of being skeptical when I saw a recipe for this tasty veggie in the most unusual of places – pasta with red sauce, I was SO excited!

I feel so fortunate that my husband is willing to try new (and sometimes weird) foods.  He never says “that sounds weird” or anything, he’s the best sport!  We both loved this dish and it made enough for us to eat several meals.  The best part is that I only used half the packages of meat I purchased, so now I have the most costly part of the makings of another!  If you’re a fan of the sprouts, you definitely need to give this a try!

Autumn Penne Pasta with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts in a Light Ragu
Recipe from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage (no casings), we used mild
1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
4 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz brussels sprouts (I used frozen), thawed if using frozen
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (or use some Tony’s)
1 lb. whole grain penne pasta

Instructions:

In a nonstick skillet, cook sausage and turkey over medium heat, breaking up into small pieces as it cooks.  Once fully cooked, set aside in a bowl.

Cut the brussels sprouts in half and then into slices/shreds.  Add 2 tsp oil to the skillet and add the garlic, cooking for a minute until golden, then add the brussels sprouts, salt and pepper and cook until tender and slightly crisp, about five minutes.  Set aside in another bowl.

In the same skillet, add the remaining 2 tsp oil and then add onion and carrot, stirring well to coat with oil.  Cook until the vegetables are golden brown and soft, about ten minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, sausage and turkey, bay leaf, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 30 minutes until the sauce thickens.

While the sauce is cooking, cook your pasta and drain.

Toss the pasta in the sauce, then add the brussels sprouts.  Toss well to combine and serve topped with ricotta and parmesan cheeses.

Autumn Penne Pasta with sautéed Brussels Sprouts in a Light Ragu

Asian Lettuce Wraps

So I’m back on the diet bandwagon, you will probably be seeing a lot more healthy posts for a while.  At least you better, because I really need to stick with it!  Keep me in check!  I do have a few remaining “unhealthy” recipes to post, so don’t fuss at me too much.  Here’s one of the healthy ones…

So not only was this a low-cal recipe, it tasted really great.  It was super easy to make and got me wondering about other meal possibilities that I could put in a lettuce wrap.  So yummy!

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from Gourmet Day to Day

For the sauce:
4 tsp hoisin sauce
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp cornstarch
freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, minced
1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrot blend
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green apple, finely diced (sounds weird but just go with it!)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp Sriracha (I actually forgot this and am SO bummed because I love it!)
Lettuce, for wrapping

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  • Add oil to a medium skillet and let it heat up over medium heat.  Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with your spoon.  Once done, create a well in the middle of the pan and add the peas and carrot mixture, onion and bell pepper.  Cook until tender, about three minutes.
  • Add the sauce, apples, sriracha and green onion and cook for another minute or so, stirring to mix, until the sauce is heated through and has slightly thickened.
  • Serve on fresh lettuce as a wrap.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Lately, I have two challenges facing each mealtime.  One is that I’m trying to lose weight.  The other is that I have the pickiest eater in the world – my daughter.  In this recipe, I manage to kill two birds with one stone.  Turkey Sloppy Joes.  It uses ground turkey and as a secret ingredient, it also uses puree’d carrots.  You’d never even know they were there but they give that extra kick of healthy in the meal.  I had never made sloppy joes before from scratch, I always use the can!  I must say, I was very happy with how these turned out.  Definitely a two thumbs up recipe!  The only thing that wasn’t good was the potatoes we served as a side.  They were the frozen variety and very much lacking in deliciousness!

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Erin’s Food Files

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
4 carrots, processed fine in the food processor (about 2 cups)
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 lb ground turkey
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
other seasonings to taste:  salt, cajun seasoning, garlic and onion powders, and a few dashes of less sodium Montreal steak seasoning
buns and whatever toppings you like

Method:

Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, onion and garlic, season with salt and cook until vegetables are soft. 

Add turkey, breaking up and cooking until no longer pink.  Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute.  Add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings, cook 15 minutes.  Serve hot on buns.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Turkey Chili with Beans and Pumpkin

As you can probably tell, we love chili!  It’s one of my favorite cold weather foods.  You’re probably looking at the title and thinking “pumpkin in chili??  No thanks!”  But really you can’t even taste the pumpkin.  It’s pretty much only there to give the chili a little more nutritious content.  It also gives it a nice color.  I admit, I was a little nervous about how this was going to taste, but I’m on a mission to cook some healthier things in 2010.  Normally when we have a “red chili” our go-to recipe is Tony’s He Man Chili, but my husband said he actually preferred this one over Tony’s!  It was nice having something healthy (ground turkey instead of beef, loaded with beans and tomatoes and pumpkin!) and delicious.  We served ours with Mexican cornbread

Turkey Chili with Beans and Pumpkin
Source:  Erin’s Food Files

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 package frozen seasoning blend
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
2 cans diced tomato (one was fire-roasted)
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pure pumpkin puree’
1 can zesty tomato juice (the kind you drink)
1.5 TBSP chili powder
1/2 TBSP cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 can beer

Method:

Heat olive oil in a deep nonstick pot.  Once hot, add the turkey and cook until no longer pink.  Add the seasoning blend, half of the jalapenos and the garlic and cook until they are soft.  Add the beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, tomato juice and seasonings and mix well.  Simmer for 30 minutes (good time to make some cornbread!).  Serve hot with garnishes of your choice.

Turkey Chili with Beans and Pumpkin

Turkey and Oyster Gumbo

Wondering what to do with that leftover turkey?  Sure, you could make sandwiches.  Really exciting.  Really.  OR you could go get a couple of small containers of raw oysters and make a gumbo.  Yeah, I thought that sounded tastier too!  Gumbo is great, you can stretch it and it gets better leftover!  It’s REALLY yummy when it’s being made with leftover fried turkey!

Turkey and Oyster Gumbo

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1 bag frozen seasoning blend vegetables
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can Rotel original tomatoes 
1.5 pounds frozen okra or equivalent fresh, if fresh is used fry in oil till not slimy anymore
Oil for frying okra
4 cans chicken broth
Water
3.5 tablespoons salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper
1 large bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Few grains chile pepper
2 pints oysters, drained into a cup
leftover turkey from Thanksgiving

Method:

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add flour to make a roux, stir constantly until the mixture is the color of a brown paper bag.  Add garlic and seasoning blend, cook till soft.  Add chicken broth to dissolve the roux, then add the Rotel.  Once it’s boiling, add the okra and seasonings.  Add the turkey, then add more water until it reaches your desired thickness.  Taste for seasonings.  Allow to cook at least 30 minutes, but preferably cook for several hours on low.  Add some of the oyster liquid (not a lot, maybe a cup).  About five minutes before you’re ready to eat, turn off the heat and add the oysters.  Allow to cook in the pot (with the heat off) for five minutes.  Serve over rice.

Turkey and Oyster Gumbo

The Verdict:  This is yummy!  Don’t be freaked out by the oysters, they don’t overpower this at all, and you can’t taste it in there unless you eat an actual oyster.  But they’re big enough that you can pick them out if needed.  But I don’t need to, they are delicious and this gumbo is perfect on a cold day, especially after decorating for Christmas all day!  Please note that if you decide to freeze leftover gumbo, remove any oysters as they do not freeze well!

A Thanksgiving Feast!

This year was the first time my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving at our home.  Or any major holiday, for that matter.  We thought about things and planned well and it went very smoothly.  In fact, I was able to enjoy my guests and visit some, not just slave away over the stove.  Here was my menu.

Thanksgiving 2009 Menu

Appetizers:
Spinach and Goat Cheese Tartlets – my husband and I
Pumpkin Curry Soup – My husband’s grandmother
Sweet Chex Mix – My husband’s grandmother
Onion Dip – My husband’s grandmother
chips and salsa – bought at Target

Thanksgiving 2009 Appetizers

Main Dishes:
2 fried turkeys – my husband and I
1 ham cooked in the crockpot – my husband and I
Fall to your Knees Mac and Cheese – my husband and I
Sweet Potato Casserole – my mom and dad
Cornbread Dressing – My dad and my husband’s grandmother
Mixed Vegetables – my husband’s grandmother
Bacon Brussels Sprouts – my husband and I
Salad – my mother-in-law
Green Bean Casserole – my brother and sister-in-law
Rolls – my brother and his fiancee’

Desserts:
Ginger Pumpkin Truffles – my husband and I
Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tarte – my husband and I
Brownies – my mother-in-law
Pralines – My mom and dad
Chocolate Mint Cookies – my niece and I
Cookie Assortment – my mother-in-law

The Dessert Table

Gerry’s Fried Turkey

One of the greatest southern traditions on Thanksgiving is a fried turkey.  Once you’ve had it, you can’t go back.  Everything else just falls short.  Sorry.  This was my husband’s first year frying turkey, since we hosted on the big day.  He used my dad’s recipe and everything went smoothly!

Gerry’s Fried Turkey

Ingredients:

11-12 lb. turkey
Cajun Injection Marinade
Tony’s Creole Seasoning
5 gallons peanut oil or hog lard

Method:

When you get the turkey, stick it (still in the wrapper) in the turkey fryer pot and fill with water to cover it.  Remove the turkey and measure the amount of water left in the pot.  This is the amount of oil or hog lard to get.

Inject the entire contents of the jar of marinade into the breast, thighs, drumsticks and wings of the turkey.  Rub some Tony’s creole seasoning inside and out of the bird.  Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.  Remove from the fridge about an hour before frying to let it reach room temperature.  NEVER FRY A TURKEY THAT IS FROZEN!!!  Heat the oil to about 320 to 340 degrees, then submerge the turkey slowly into the oil, using the rack stuck through the “legs” first, coming out of the neck.  Then just use the hanger hook to lift the whole turkey.  Try to maintain the temperature at around 325 degrees using the thermometer provided, and cook for 4 minutes per pound that the turkey weighs.  Remove very carefully and enjoy!

My husband lowering the turkey into the pot

Still lowering...

And she's frying!

Fried, ready to be carved!

Turkey is carved!

The Verdict:  My hubby did a great job!  It was seasoned perfectly and the skin had that perfect crisp to it!  We fried two for about 20 people and had a good bit leftover.  But no fear, we made a turkey and oyster gumbo the next day :)