Category Archives: Turkey

Turkey Bacon & Cheddar Breakfast Muffins

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Hello! If you are reading this, it means I’m still alive.

In all seriousness, though, this long dark winter has really put a damper on my blogging. The past few weekends I’ve planned out recipes, cooked and photographed them, only to have the clouds come out and take away any good lighting that my basement apartment gets. I’m so glad the days are starting to get longer and daylight saving time is next Sunday!

The next few weekends also may be a bit busy for me, as my dad and Robin’s wedding is coming up in two weeks, as well as Naomi’s 2nd birthday! Throw in Jill’s birthday and a trip to Mohegan Sun with Dan and March is looking like a pretty busy month. Which is a good thing because March usually seems like such a long and dreary month filled with waiting for the bad weather to pass and for spring to arrive.

These muffins were inspired by a different type of muffin I made recently. Last week I baked up these Skinny Peanut Butter Banana Muffins and they were soo good. I found they made the perfect mid-morning snack, or even a light dessert. As much as I loved those sweet muffins, I was thinking I’d like to have a more savory muffin that I could eat as my breakfast and wouldn’t leave me feeling weak and shaky like sugary breakfasts often do.

So I searched around for savory breakfast muffins and found just the recipe I was looking for: Cottage Cheese and Egg Muffins with Ham and Cheddar. I wanted a muffin that had a high egg-to-flour ratio, some savory flavors like bacon or ham, and that were healthy enough to eat for breakfast on weekdays. I love that this recipe includes cottage cheese because it’s a great way to add protein and to keep the muffins moist.

I stayed fairly true to the base of the recipe, but made a few adjustments to suit my taste. I actually swapped out the cottage cheese for ricotta because that’s what I had and I prefer the texture, and I know ricotta is often used in pancake recipes. I used turkey bacon instead of ham, and regular all-purpose flour because I didn’t have almond meal (though I think cornmeal would also be a great substitution!). I added some red bell peppers for flavor and texture, and also bumped up the scallions and spices a bit.

These muffins are perfect for breakfast on the go, and are filled with protein to keep you satisfied for hours. The texture is like quiche meets muffin, and the flavors are fun but also mellow enough to eat every morning. You can definitely play around with the ingredients and get creative – broccoli and cheese would be delicious, or even spinach and feta! You can bake up a batch on the weekend and heat them up for breakfast during the week – so easy! I definitely see this recipe becoming a regular in my diet.

Turkey Bacon & Cheddar Breakfast Muffins
adapted from Cottage Cheese and Egg Muffins with Ham and Cheddar on Kalyn’s Kitchen

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Ingredients:
makes 1 dozen muffins (or in my case, 11.)

  • 6 slices of turkey bacon (Canadian bacon or ham would be great too)
  • 2/3 cup + 1/4 cup flour (whole wheat or all-purpose – or almond or cornmeal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (I used 1/4 and thought they could have used more)
  • seasoning of your choice (I used about 1/4 tsp each of smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup ricotta or cottage cheese (I used part-skim)
  • 1 Tbsp milk or water (the original recipe calls for 3 T of water, but I decreased it because of the extra moisture from the bell peppers. If you’re not using a fresh vegetable, use the original amount of 3.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
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Your ingredients (forgot to picture the bell pepper, naturally.)

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Your wonderful spices

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ยฐF and lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Cook your turkey bacon just until it’s almost crispy (you don’t want it too crispy for these muffins), about 5 minutes. While the bacon is cooking, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and seasoning in a large bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, ricotta cheese, and milk/water to the bowl and whisk again. Crumble the cooked bacon (make sure you let it cool a bit) into the bowl, and add in the peppers, scallions, and both cheeses. Stir together until well incorporated and spoon into your greased muffin tin, topping each off with a sprinkle of cheese if desired.
  4. Bake for about 16 – 18 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins turn golden and a toothpick can be inserted and comes out clean. Let sit for a few minutes before serving, and serve with a glass of milk. (or ketchup and hot sauce if you’re like me!) Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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Begin by frizzling up your bacon.

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In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and seasoning together. Stir in ricotta, egg, and milk or water.

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Add in all of the fun stuff (bacon, cheese, scallions, and peppers) and stir again

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Your batter will be thick and slightly lumpy, but have no fear.

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Spoon the batter into your greased muffin tin, about 3/4 of the way full, and sprinkle with a bit of cheese on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 16 – 18 minutes.

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Your muffins will look something like this when they’re finished

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๐Ÿ™‚

Turkey Chili Mac

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I wanted to come up with a more creative title for this recipe but at the same time, this one seemed appropriate. “Chili Mac” is kind of a lazy way of saying chili macaroni or chili mac and cheese, and that’s what this meal is – simple and lazy, but oh so delicious. I know I just posted a pasta recipe last week, but oh well. Pasta fits in well to my work schedule.

To me, two of the most comforting meals are chili and pasta. They’re both filling, stick-to-your-ribs kind of food and I love that they’re also both one-pot meals where you get a bit of every ingredient in each bite. Those kind of meals are my favorite (along with stir-fry), rather than having your protein separated from your veggies which are separated from your carbs/starch.

Pasta is an easy, go-to meal when you’re busy or tired, and chili may take a bit longer but makes for great leftovers. So the combination of the two is simple, filling, and so satisfying. I wasn’t quite ready to post a soup recipe yet, but the weather is certainly starting to change, so this chili mac recipe seemed like the perfect way to ease into fall.

The idea for this recipe was inspired by Skillet Chili Mac on Deep South Dish. It instantly appealed to me, but I made a few minor adjustments to make it a little nicer on your waistline. I opted for ground turkey over ground beef, and eliminated the sausage. I also used slightly less cheese than the recipe calls for. To make this recipe even healthier, you could use low-fat cheese and whole wheat or whole grain pasta. Think of this Turkey Chili Mac as a combination of American Chop Suey and chili, or as chili with pasta shells added. It’s filled with flavorful ground turkey, pasta, tomatoes, beans, cheese, and notes of cumin and chili powder.

Turkey Chili Mac
adapted from Skillet Chili Mac on Deep South Dish

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Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper and 1/2 a green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 1/2 cups dry shell pasta (or macaroni)
  • 1 Tbsp each cumin and chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 15. oz can diced tomatoes (I like fire-roasted)
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 4.25 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (or half a pepper for less heat)
  • 1 cup kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • optional toppings: scallions, sour cream, avocado

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Directions:

  1. In a medium-large cooking pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook diced onion for 10-12 minutes, until softened, and add diced peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic at the end, sauteing for another 2-3 minutes and then remove from heat.
  2. In a separate pot or pan, cook ground turkey. You can do this in the same pot as the veggies if you wish, but I wanted my turkey to get nice and browned. While turkey is browning, begin cooking your pasta.
  3. Once turkey is browned and cooked throughout, add to pot with veggies. Stir in spices and cook over low heat for a few minutes until spices become fragrant. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, and chopped jalapeno pepper. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until extra liquid has been absorbed and chili has thickened. Add beans in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  4. Stir cooked pasta into chili and remove from heat. Don’t forget to test-taste and adjust any spices as needed. Top off with cheese and serve with optional toppings and enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚
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Start by sauteing up your veggies and garlic

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Brown your ground turkey and add to veggies, along with spices

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chiles. Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans near the end.

Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chiles. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Add beans near the end of cooking

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Stir in pasta shells and cheese

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Top with scallions and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mini Barbecue Turkey Meatloaves

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Okay guys, this recipe is too good not to share. I’ve been looking around for meatloaf recipes that caught my eye and decided to take a spin on the traditional and include barbecue sauce. Some recipes had too many ingredients, some had questionable reviews, and then I stumbled upon Iowa Girl Eats’ Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves. (Can you tell how much I love that blog? She always has the best recipes!) The photos made me drool a little bit and I had all of the ingredients on hand, so I recipe to whip up a batch for today.

These Mini Barbecue Meatloaves are insanely good and made for the juiciest meatloaf I’ve ever had. I stayed true to the original recipe except that I used ground turkey instead of beef and cooked the meatloaf in muffin tins. I had seen this method floating around the internet and thought it looked like a great idea – individual portions of meatloaf that take half the cook time. I think that’s also part of what lead to the meatloaf being so juicy, because the juices had nowhere to escape to so the turkey just soaked it all up.

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Also, a note on barbecue sauce: My favorite bbq sauce has been Sweet Baby Ray’s for as long as I can remember, but I noticed recently that the first ingredient listed is high fructose corn syrup which made me kind of sad. I still enjoy Sweet Baby Ray’s, but if you’re looking for a slightly healthier option, I recommend Stubb’s. Stubb’s uses all-natural ingredients and has a lower sugar and sodium content than most other bottled barbecue sauces. My favorite flavor is Sweet Heat – I love the combination of spicy and sweet.

Mini Barbecue Turkey Meatloaves
slightly adapted from Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves on Iowa Girl Eats

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Ingredients:
serves 4

  • 1 onion, diced (I used a Vidalia)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp + 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • salt and pepper, + 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • optional: 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

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Directions:

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium frying pan over low heat and add diced onion. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every so often, until onions are nicely browned and starting to caramelize. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes before removing from heat. Let cool slightly before forming the meatloaf.
  2. Heat oven to 425ยบF and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. *
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine cooled cooked onions, ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tbsp of the bbq sauce, and spices. Use a fork or your hands to mix it all upย  until combined.
  4. Divide the meatloaf mixture into 4 equal-sized portions. Press each portion into your greased muffin tin (so if you used a 6-slot muffin tin, you’ll only be using 4 of those slots). If using cheese, press 1 Tbsp of cheese down into the middle of each portion of meatloaf. Top each portion off with 1 Tbsp of bbq sauce.
  5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until meatloaves are cooked throughout and no longer pink in the center. Mine took closer to 25 minutes. (Don’t worry if there’s a good amount of juice at the bottom of the muffin tin – as I was explaining earlier, the juice has no place to escape to so it sits in the tin with the meatloaf.) Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!

*I recommend using a 6-slot muffin tin that makes 6 larges muffins over a 12-muffin tin, because the portions are a perfect size, but you can use a smaller tin if you need to. I would cook for muffins for slightly less time, closer to 15 – 20 minutes, and check on them to make sure they’re not getting overcooked if you use a small muffin tin.

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First, saute up your onions. Cook for about 20 minutes, add minced garlic and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes, and then let cool before mixing into your turkey.

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Combine cooled sauteed onions with your remaining ingredients for the meatloaf, minus the cheese.

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Divide the meatloaf mixture into 4 portions and press into muffin tin. If using cheese, place half of a portion into muffin tin, add 1 Tbsp of cheese, and press in remainder of portion. Spoon 1 Tbsp bbq sauce over each meatloaf muffin. Bake at 425 for 20 – 25 minutes.

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Meatloaves are done when the center is no longer pink. Let cool slightly before serving.

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Gooey, cheesy, juicy mini meatloaves topped off with bbq sauce. Oh yes.

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:)

๐Ÿ™‚

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili – In Honor of Boston

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I had a nice paragraph written about celebrating Marathon Monday in Boston and how it’s such a big tradition around here, but those words needed some revising after the tragic events that took place yesterday. I was in complete disbelief as I listened to the news stories about multiple explosions that happened just miles from my house and ruined what should have been a joyous event, injuring almost 200 people and taking the lives of three. I will never understand how people can be filled with so much hate or rage that they can justify such a senseless act. But as President Obama said when he addressed yesterday’s events on the news: Boston is a tough and resilient town, as are the people. Though I grew up about 30 minutes south of Boston, I’ve always considered it my home; even more so since moving just outside the city this past fall. We will pull together and move forward, but for now, my thoughts go out to all of those affected by this tragedy.

To honor my beloved Beantown, I’m posting a recipe for Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili. True to my Bostonian roots, I find chili incomplete without beans. This recipe evolved in a few ways: After seeing others add sweet potatoes to chili, I thought that was a great way to balance out the spicy flavors. I always eat chili with cornbread, so adding sweet potato made perfect sense to me and saves some calories as well. I love the combination of sweet potato and black beans, so I decided both of those things would need to present in this chili.

This Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili combines tender sweet potatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, and Mexican spices to create a smoky, flavorful chili with a surprising hint of sweetness. I generally followed the same steps as for my 3-Bean Turkey Chili, but cut down the portions (though this recipe can be easily doubled to serve a crowd). I included ground turkey in this chili, but feel free to leave it out for a vegan recipe – or sub ground beef or chicken for something different!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili
serves 3-4

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey (optional)
  • 14.5 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt, to taste
  • optional toppings: shredded cheese, scallions, diced avocado, Greek yogurt or sour cream, etc.

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over low heat. Add diced onion and sautรฉ for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add diced sweet potato, red pepper, and garlic and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 10 additional minutes.
  2. Once veggies are tender, transfer to a medium cooking pot. In the frying pan used for veggies, cook ground turkey until browned. Stir cooked turkey into to the pot with veggies, along with both cans of tomato and your spices. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in black beans and cook just until they’ve warmed up. Season with salt or any additional spices you find appropriate, serve with optional toppings, and enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I hope all of my readers and your loved ones are safe after yesterday’s events. Please keep Boston in your thoughts. โ™ฅ

Ricotta Vegetable Turkey Meatballs

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Meatballs are one of those things, when done right, I find so satisfying. I’m not a huge meatloaf person and I only eat burgers every once in a while, but something about meatballs makes them super appealing to me. They make a great meal and there are endless varieties to how you can prepare them. Some of my favorites include sweet and sour meatballs, which are made with grape jelly and chili sauce (sounds crazy but it works) and, of course, traditional Italian-style meatballs. My dad makes some of the best beef meatballs I’ve ever had, accompanied by his famous tomato sauce. I have yet to get the recipe from him…

Since becoming interested in eating healthier a couple of years ago, I’ve made the switch from ground beef to ground turkey. Growing up, we always had beef for our burgers and tacos, but I’ve come to prefer ground turkey because it’s not as heavy and still loaded with protein. I certainly enjoy beef every now and then, but I’m really more of a white meat-kinda girl.

After making many different meatball recipes, some successful and some not so much, I’ve discovered a few methods to make them delicious each time. One of the most important tips I can give is to make sure you stick to an appropriate ratio of ingredients. If you use too much or too little of one ingredient, your meatballs may come out dry and crumbly or a pile of mush. The ratio I typically follow for every one pound of ground meat is 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs and 1 egg. It’s also important to measure your spices and/or herbs, since you can’t taste the meat before you cook it. And a method I personally like to use to keep meatballs moist is to add veggies, cheese, or both!

These meatballs were inspired by two recipes. One is a turkey meatball recipe my roommate Emily would make a couple of years ago, which is still one of my favorites to this day. Her version includes veggies like spinach, red pepper, and mushroom and were so flavorful. The other recipe is these Turkey Ricotta Meatballs from CenterCutCook, which use ricotta cheese to help keep the meatballs moist. More or less, I combined these two recipes and came up with the clever name Ricotta Vegetable Turkey Meatballs… ha ha.

Ricotta Vegetable Turkey Meatballs
makes 20 meatballs or 4-5 servings

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onions
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1 large handful of fresh spinach, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan and/or mozzerella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano

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Directions:

  1. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly, either using a large spoon or your hands until all is well-incorporated.
  2. Optional: For a more flavorful meatball, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. If you choose to skip this step, preheat your oven to 375ยบF.
  3. Use your hands to roll the meat into about 18-20 meatballs, or around 1.5 tablespoons each. Mine made exactly 20. Place the meatballs on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they are cooked throughout. Let cool slightly and serve with your choice of pasta, or on a sub roll with marinara sauce and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚
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Make sure your veggies are nice and finely chopped

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Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir

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Once all your ingredients are well-incorporated, refrigerate for a few hours or bake right away. When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

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Roll your turkey into meatballs, roughly 1.5 tablespoons each or 18-20 meatballs. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

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When your meatballs are no longer pink in the middle and cooked throughout, they are done. Serve with pasta or on a sub roll.

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Wonderfully juicy and moist in the middle ๐Ÿ™‚

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