Tag Archives: sage

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

I really enjoy asking people about their families’ holiday traditions. Some are quirky, fun, or downright weird. I think my favorite answer has been from a former professor: “Our family’s tradition was to not have any traditions.” Basically, they didn’t do the same thing every year. They tried different foods, usually with an ethnic theme. I will admit, one of our little family’s favorite Thanksgiving was when we skipped the traditional food and ordered Chinese instead.

However, I am a bit of a sucker for the “normal” traditions. This dish is kind of a cross of new and old ideas. It’s got all the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving – turkey, cranberry, sage, starch – but with some flair. If you are only feeding a small group this Thanksgiving and want to go with something only a little out of the box, this is for you. For the rest of us, it is a delicious dinner any night of the week. Enjoy!

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash (Serves 4)

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, quartered, seeded
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
12 oz lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon dried sage

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Place squash quarters in baking dish.

2. In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, brown turkey with onion, celery, and carrots. When meat is cooked thoroughly, deglaze pan with water. Add cranberries, applesauce, and sage. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Evenly distribute turkey mixture over squash quarters. Cover dish with aluminum foil.

4. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove cover, and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 230
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 59 mg
Carbohydrates: 27 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 77 mg

Recipe Notes: Not all of the filling will fit in the squash pieces. I usually just kind of spread it over the whole dish and hope for the best. You can easily scoop up the excess when serving.

Source: adapted from a recipe from friends

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Citrus and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast

I usually post a nutrition article on Mondays, but I have several Thanksgiving recipes I want to make sure I share in time for you to add them to your menu. While all holidays have come to center around food in my world, Thanksgiving especially is important. If there is high pressure meal for most cooks, it is Thanksgiving.

I feel like turkey is the most stressful of all the items on a Thanksgiving menu for most of us. Roasting meat in general is incredibly easy: season, put in oven, leave it alone. But, turkey provides some higher stakes. It is a big bird, which most of us buy frozen. It is hard to thaw, which can lead to long cooking times. And undercooked turkey is bad news.

One solution: go for a turkey breast instead. Since it is much smaller, it thaws and cooks faster. The other tricky part of cooking a traditional turkey is getting the dark meat done without drying out the white meat. Since a turkey breast is just the white meat, you avoid that problem too. It is a win al around. And this recipe adds a lot of really delicious seasonings to make your turkey breast extra special.

Enjoy!

Citrus and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast (Serves about 6 plus some leftovers)

Citrus and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast

1 whole bone-in turkey breast (about 5-6 pounds)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons orange zest
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 orange
1 onion, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Pat turkey dry. Run hands between skin and meat to loosen, being gentle to not tear the skin.

3. Stir oil, sage, orange zest, salt, pepper, and juice together. Gently spread this mixture between the skin and meat with your fingers. Distribute it evenly throughout. Stuff Orange halves and onion pieces inside the cavity.

4. Place turkey breast in roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees. Rotate turkey breast 180 degrees and roast for 30 more minutes. Rotate again and then tent loosely with foil. Connie to cook until turkey breast reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees (about 25-40 more minutes). Remove onion and oranges pieces from cavity; discard. Let turkey rest for 25 minutes, uncovered, before slicing.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 229
Protein: 34 g
Fat: 10 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 76 mg
Carbohydrates: 1 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sodium: 179 mg

Recipe Notes: Make sure you get the turkey breast that looks kind of like a whole turkey. They sell smaller, skinless turkey breasts. That isn’t what you want. For the nutrient analysis, I’m assuming you do not eat the skin.

Source: slightly adapted from epicurious.com

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Pumpkin Dinner

If you are planning a Halloween dinner or just want to impress your family, look no further.

During my freshman year of college, my roommates and I needed to make dinner for a big group date we were planning.  One of my roommates raved about this pumpkin dinner her family would make.  It was early November, so pumpkin food sounded seasonal and fun.  I enjoyed the meal well enough, but other than the visual “wow” factor, I wasn’t impressed with the food itself.

Despite the lack of flavor appeal, that meal stuck with me.  I’ve made it around Halloween a few times.  Each time, I’ve tried to improve the ingredients so the taste matches the visual impression.  I think this recipe gets it right.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Dinner (Serves 8-10)

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1 small(ish) pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey (85/15 or better)
⅓ cup unpacked brown sugar
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup low sodium beef broth
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
6 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained well
2 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Remove 1 rack from oven and move remaining rack to lowest setting.

2. Cut large opening in top of pumpkin, retaining “lid”. Clean out seeds and strings. Place cleaned pumpkin on large baking sheet.

3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When hot, add onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are slightly browned and tender. Add in turkey. Cook until browned.

4. Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, soup, broth, pepper, sage, cranberries, and zucchini. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in water chestnuts and rice.

5. Spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin. Bake for at least 1 hour, until pumpkin is tender and interior scoops out easily with a spoon. As serving, make sure to scoop sides of pumpkin with filling.

Nutritional Information: (Amount per Serving)

Calories: 292
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 39 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 571 mg

Recipe Notes: Make sure to get a pumpkin that will fit inside your oven. This can be harder than you initially think, since most smaller pumpkins are tall. Err on the side of a short fat pumpkin. If you don’t want to mess with a pumpkin, this would be yummy filling for putting in halved acorn squash, although I would leave out the broth. Bake for about an hour as well, but cover for the first 45 minutes with foil. I have used about a cup of frozen peas instead of zucchini. Either is yummy. The pumpkin may sag a bit while baking, and the lid may fall in. That’s ok, but it is done if that is happening.

Recipe source: Adapted from my friend’s family recipe

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