Leftover Taco Meat Scramble

To mix up the monotony of scrambled eggs (over-easy, oh how I miss thee), we seasoned the pan by first adding leftover seasoned ground turkey from Thursday night’s taco salad.

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Scramble eggs as usual, and top with your choice of taco-friendly ingredients. In my case, that was avocado, tomatoes and goat milk yogurt.

Thyme-Saving Turkey Meatballs

With a limited window of time to make dinner and workout, I whipped together this super quick meal: oven-roasted squash and zucchini paired with homemade turkey meatballs.

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Preheat oven to about 400 degrees and then prep the veggies:

Toss two sliced summer squash and two zucchini with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme in an oven-safe casserole dish.

Next, prep the meatballs:

Mix 1 lb ground turkey with a generous scoop of almond meal, a scoop of unsweetened and shredded coconut, 1 egg, salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme. Scoop 1/4-cup or smaller spoonfuls into a buttered casserole dish.

Bake both dishes for about 30 minutes, or until veggies are tender and meatballs are cooked through.

More thyme for you!

Ground Turkey Shepherds Pie in the Crock Pot

Ever since I made my first corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot 10+ years ago, I’ve been hooked on slow cooked St. Patty’s fare.

With limited staples on hand, I decided to try my hand at this Shepherds pie recipe using ground turkey, baby Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots and broccoli. It turned out well! Luck of the Irish perhaps?

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First, prepare mashed potatoes using your preferred technique and scoop into a bowl so you can use the same pot for the meat to cut back on dishes. 

Brown ground turkey and 2 cloves of garlic, and then add the following:

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 generous handfuls of sliced baby carrots (or 2 regular chopped carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli (or peas)
  • 1 cup broth (I used chicken)
  • 1/4 cup wine (I used white)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Generous sprinkling dried thyme

Stir and simmer until liquid is almost fully absorbed. Add to a greased crock pot in an even layer and then spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Season with salt and pepper.

After cooking on low for about 3-4 hours, grate cheddar cheese over the top. Slainte!

Quinoa Lasagna

I’m on a mission to morph my beloved casserole-dish meals, which have supplied dinner on many consecutive weeknights, into healthier versions.

So tonight I borrowed techniques from two favorites: “hamburger sour cream” casserole and ground turkey lasagna with yogurt bechamel. Quinoa replaced lasagna noodles, which actually cuts down on quite a bit of cooking time beyond the obvious health benefits.

First, brown 1+ pound of ground turkey and then add a large can of diced or crushed tomatoes and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the quinoa according to the package. Then, mix 1-2 cups of goat/coconut milk yogurt with freshly minced basil or chopped green onions. Stir into the quinoa.

Layer meat sauce followed by quinoa mixture in a casserole dish, and repeat. Optional: sprinkle top layer with shredded Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil and allow top layer to get that nice golden color. Remove and serve.

Quinoa Burrito Bowl

We’ve made burritos since college, but fortunately our eating habits have become much healthier since then. So tonight I decided to makeover our old standby as a quinoa burrito bowl, apropos for a more health conscious era.

Brown the ground turkey and season with salt, cumin and chili pepper. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa and prepare veggies as desired. Serve with a dollop of goat milk yogurt; season with salt, and stir to enjoy. Bye bye burrito!

Beg, Borrow and Meal: Turkey Meatball and Spinach Scramble

Breakfast was a whole lot heartier this morning, with the addition of leftover turkey and banana meatballs from Thursday night and a 50/50 spinach and lettuce blend. There’s nothing like leftovers and expiration dates to inspire some creativity in the kitchen!

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This Meatball is Bananas

For #ThrowbackThursday, I brought back one of my old tricks: mashing fruit or veggies into ground turkey to add moisture and a hint of sweetness. In the past, I used applespears, even zucchini and pumpkin (the last of which was surprisingly popular. Just google “pumpkin meatballs” and you’ll see my 2009-era iPhone shot).

Tonight I went “bananas” and mushed an overripe banana into the bowl of ground turkey, along with bread crumbs, Herbes de Provence and salt & pepper. The meatballs were delicious served over rice with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Sweet!

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Cleaning out the Fridge: Turkey Lasagna with Yogurt Bechamel

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Lasagna noodles saved dinner, once again. Hidden in the bowels in the cupboard, they’ve come to the rescue many times before, paired with unexpected partners like beans, goat cheese and butternut squash.

This time around, I used ground turkey, spinach and crushed tomatoes for the bolognese; and yogurt and almond milk to make a bechamel sauce, inspired by this eHow recipe. The sleeper hit? Cinnamon…

Turkey Lasagna with Yogurt Bechamel

In a large pan, sauté 1 chopped onion in 4 tbsp butter. Add fresh spinach by handfuls, and simmer on low.

In a separate nonstick pan, brown ground turkey. Add 1/4 tsp each of cinnamon and pepper; and 2 cans crushed/diced tomatoes. Reduce heat and bring to simmer. Add 1 cup almond milk and 1 tsp salt.

Combine turkey with spinach, simmer on low.

Meanwhile prep yogurt béchamel sauce:

In a sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together 4 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp white flour. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to bubble and turn a light golden color. Turn off heat.

Mix in 2 cups cold almond milk and 1 cup of yogurt. Stir constantly and turn a medium-high heat until the mixture starts to boil.

Add 1/3 cup of grated Gruyere cheese and 1/3 cup of Parmesan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a sprinkling of nutmeg and black pepper. Mix together until melted and remove from heat.

For the layering, I used no-bake lasagna noodles, in the following order:

Bolognese
Parmesan
Béchamel
Noodles
Bolognese
Parmesan
Béchamel
Noodles
Bolognese
Parmesan
Béchamel
Noodles
Béchamel
Parmesan

Bake covered with foil at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Enjoy the smell of cinnamon throughout the house, and every time you heat up the leftovers!

Recipe Remix: “Hamburger” Casserole with Goat Cheese

Here’s another healthy take on the traditional hamburger sour cream casserole, this time using yogurt and goat cheese in place of sour cream and cream cheese. I also swapped in ground turkey, like last time. Can you tell my kitchen lighting and iPhone camera pixels have improved?!

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“Hamburger” Casserole with Goat Cheese

Brown 1+ pound of ground turkey in skillet with 1 minced garlic clove. Add two cans of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, boil a bag’s worth of egg noodles and drain. Next, stir together one bunch worth of sliced green onions with a 5 oz. cube of goat cheese and 1+ cup of yogurt, or enough to create a sauce. Layer all three (meat, noodles, sauce) in a casserole dish, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Stir halfway through baking so the noodles don’t get too try.

Bonus: leftovers for a couple of nights, depending on how hungry you are!

Defying the Laws of Leftovers

Two-timers are welcome in my kitchen. (See “Beg, Borrow and Meal” exhibits A, B, C, D and E.) And since we have burritos nearly every week, I often have a surplus of leftover, seasoned ground turkey (herein referred to as night #1).

I’ve experimented with leftover turkey before (exhibit F), but this time the stakes were higher, since I used a more traditional taco seasoning on night #1. Due to the complex layers of flavors – I presume – this pasta dish received rave reviews on night #2.

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Here’s how it goes:

  • In a large pan, sauté half an onion (chopped) in olive oil until soft
  • Add minced garlic (1-2 cloves) and quickly follow with leftover ground turkey and 1/2 can white beans
  • Add 1/2 bag of clean, sliced mushrooms
  • When mushrooms are tender enough to your liking, add 1/2 stick butter and a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt
  • Simmer on low and boil pasta of choice (I used spaghetti)
  • Add al dente pasta to mixture, and serve

On night #3, the other half of the white beans and mushrooms inspired me to create an antipasto salad using chopped salami, tomatoes, spinach, and dried oregano. I paired it with my favorite store-bought, 100% natural (and low-lactose) Wild Mushroom Ravioli.

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Buon appetito!

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