Tag Archives: turkey

Lentil Chili

It’s fall and starting to feel like winter. That means fall festivals, football, and the beginning of holiday/family gatherings. I have lived in a lot of places around the country. No matter where I go, this time of year is ALWAYS the time for chili cook-offs. I admit I’m not usually craving a big bowl of chili. I prefer chili as part of a meal – on a baked potato, on Fritos, as part of a taco salad, etc.

This chili is different though. The flavors in this are spot on, and it is quick and easy to make (especially if you have a pressure cooker). It seems a little strange to have chili with lentils instead of beans. But everyone will love it. Even my little kids ate it!

Lentil Chili (Serves 8)

1 pound 93/7 ground turkey
½ large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrot
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 ½ cups brown lentils
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Pressure Cooker
1. In pressure cooker, sauté the ground turkey with onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and vegetables soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, lentils, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and pepper. Close pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure and cook for 10 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release to open. Serve with ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving.

Stove top
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the ground turkey (if using) with onions, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic until meat is brown and vegetables soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, broth, lentils, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil Reduce heat, and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Serve with ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 378
Protein: 29 gm
Fat: 16 gm
Saturated Fat: 7 gm
Cholesterol: 70 mg
Carbohydrates: 33 gm
Fiber: 6 gm
Sodium: 322 mg

Source: adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Confession: I love sweet potatoes. Maybe even more than regular potatoes. But I prepare them about 3 ways: mashed with brown sugar, casserole, or roasted as fries. And I have never felt bad about that. Those three are delicious, so why fix something that isn’t broken?

After my second baby was born, I rediscovered stuffed baked potatoes as an easy dinner. I figured sweet potatoes could work too, right? But everything seemed kind of strange and not appetizing enough to try. But I finally picked one and tried it.

Guys, it was delicious. Very different than you typical dinner, agreed. But very yummy. And with fall starting, sweet potatoes are in season and abundant. Go grab some and try this dinner soon. Your bravery will be rewarded.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (Makes 4)

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4 medium sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon paprika
¾ tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey breast
3 cups torn curly kale
¼ cup golden raisins
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Pierce each potato with a fork a few times to prevent exploding. Wrap potatoes individually in foil. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a fork easily slides into potato. Let cool slightly.

3. Combine vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic in a bowl.

4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add turkey to pan and cook 7 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Drain any excess liquid from pan; return to medium-high heat. Stir in vinegar mixture; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Remove meat from pan.

4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add kale; cover and cook 4 minutes. Stir in turkey, raisins, and lemon juice.

5. Cut each potato lengthwise. Spoon about ¾ cup kale mixture onto each potato; top each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Serve.

Nutritional Information (per stuffed potato):

Calories: 407
Protein: 29 g
Fat: 18 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 95 mg
Carbohydrates: 36 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 577 mg

Recipe Notes: You could also microwave the potatoes if you don’t have an hour in the oven. I do think the flavor of the potatoes is a little better from the oven, but not essential. The original recipe for this was trying to make a “chorizo” like mixture out of the meat, but healthier than using store bought chorizo. While yummy, I don’t think it ended up tasting like chorizo. You could sub in chorizo for maybe half of the meat. All chorizo would be very fatty, sodium rich, and kind of overpowering (I think, and I like chorizo). I used smoked paprika and it was tasty. The original recipe called for sweet paprika, which is what you generally find in the store. The original recipe also called for goat cheese. That would be yummy as well. I just had feta, and figured it is a kind of goat cheese and went for it. If you aren’t a sweet potato lover, this would be yummy on regular potatoes too.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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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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Thanksgiving Recipe Round-up

I have several more recipes to post over the next few days that I hope you find worthy of your Thanksgiving weekend. However, here is a quick round-up of recipes for your feast on Thursday.

Meat
Citrus and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast (I’m sure this general idea would work for a whole turkey. You would need a bit more of the oil/herb/citrus mixture and definitely need to cook it longer.
Citrus and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast

Sides
Fall Vegetable Bake
Fall Vegetable Bake

Roasted Butternut Squash
Roasted Butternut Squash

Sweet Potato Casserole
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Roasted Green Beans
Roasted Green Beans

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
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Bread
Honey Wheat Rolls
Honey Whole Wheat Rolls

Pretzel Rolls (obviously without the Halloween designs)
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Dessert
Apple Cake
Apple Cake

Apple or Pear Crisp
Apple or Pear Crisp

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake
White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints
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Breakfast
Pumpkin French Toast
Pumpkin French Toast

Apple Pancakes
Apple Pancakes

Breakfast Rolls
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Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
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Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Pancakes

Other

Tangy Cranberry Sauce
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Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza
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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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Chili

Recently, we were having a chili dinner fundraiser at my church. The person in charge of the food asked if I had a good, basic chili recipe, and I suddenly realized that I didn’t. They used a recipe from someone else, but I did help cook some of the chili. It turned out tasty, but the whole experience got my brain going.

This recipe is inspired by the recipe we used for the fundraiser, but trying to raise the health level a bit. I was shocked at that amount of meat and the lack of vegetables in that recipe. This recipe tries to ramp up the health level without sacrificing on the flavor. Next week, I’ll show you my new favorite way to eat this chili, too. Enjoy!

Chili (Serves 8)

Chili

½ tablespoon canola oil (if needed)
10 ounces lean ground turkey
1 large onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced carrots
½ jalapeno, diced (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
½ tablespoon oregano
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can low sodium pinto beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn
1 can tomato paste
1 (8 ounce) can no salt added tomato sauce
¼ cup masa
½ cup water

1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add turkey; cook until browned. Add onion, pepper, carrots, and jalapeño. Saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. Saute for about 1 minute more, stirring constantly. You want the spices to begin to be fragrant but not to burn.

2. Add in both beans, corn, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine well. Bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 1 hour, up to 3 if you have the time.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, mix ¼ cup masa with the water until not lumpy. Stir into chili. Cook for 30 minutes more.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories:
Protein:
Fat:
Saturated Fat:
Cholesterol:
Carbohydrates:
Fiber:
Sodium:

Recipe Notes: If you don’t get lean turkey, then you won’t need the oil. I usually aim for 90/10 or 93/7 turkey. If you can’t find that, you can use a higher fat percentage. Just don’t add the oil, and make sure to drain some of the excess fat before adding the vegetables. All you need is a light coating to prevent sticking. You could easily substitute kidney beans, which are more traditional. I happened to have pinto and liked the taste. The step with the masa and water is somewhat optional. I think it adds good flavor and thickening. But if you don’t have it around, don’t stress out about it. This is pretty thick chili, but I liked how hearty it was.

Source: Adapted from Joy of Cooking and The Pioneer Woman

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Quick Pastitsio

It’s a snow day at my house. Well, as snowy as Tulsa gets, which is more ice than snow at this point. But snow days make me think of living back in Chicago, where cold and snow are the norm. In Chicago, my husband and I loved to go eat in Greektown. Greek food is full of love and made any snow day better.

This pastitsio is not like what I would have eaten in Greektown. It’s much lighter, has more veggies, and cooks in at least half the time. But it still evokes the same flavors. I hope it brightens your world on this wintry day.

Enjoy!

Quick Pastitsio (Serves 6)

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Cooking spray
8 ounces uncooked, whole wheat penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey (93/7)
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped
¾ cup finely chopped carrot
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
2 cups skim milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced no salt added tomatoes, drained
7 ounces fat free cream cheese
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

1. Preheat broiler to high. Coat a broiler safe baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Cook pasta to al dente, omitting any fat or salt in cooking. Drain.

3. While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Once oil is heated, add ground turkey. Sauté until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Remove from pan. Drain pan if needed. Add remaining oil. Add onion, pepper, and carrot. Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5-6 minutes. Add garlic, sauté one minute more, stirring constantly.

4. Return turkey to pan. Sprinkle in salt. Add flour and stir frequently, cooking for 1 minute.

5. Stir in milk, tomato, and cream cheese. Bring to a simmer, stirring until smooth. Cook for 2 minutes, or until heated through. Stir in pasta.

6. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the top. Broil for 4 minutes, or until top is golden and slightly crunchy looking. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 406
Protein: 32 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 71 mg
Carbohydrates: 45 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 523 mg

Recipe Notes: I subbed in ground turkey here. A lean ground beef is also tasty and lends to a slightly more colorful dish. I don’t need to drain my pan after the turkey. I like having any juices or browned bits in there to stir in with the rest of the ingredients. It is important to chop the carrot small or even shred it for this dish. There isn’t a ton of cooking time for it to soften. I wouldn’t skip on broiling time either. The crunchy lid of cheese is delicious, and the extra heating time doesn’t hurt the sauce or pasta to come together either.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

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