Curried Turkey and Chickpea Pie

19 03 2014

Whether sweet or savory, there’s something special about serving pie…and this recipe is no exception. You can make a delicious and impressive dinner, fairly quickly! Don’t be intimidated by the phyllo dough, it makes this dinner phy-nominal 🙂

Curried Turkey and Chickpea Pie

Curried Turkey and Chickpea Pie

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Everyday Food):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger (save time by using it from the tube)
  • 2 heaping tsp curry powder
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Half a bag of frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 sheets thawed phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 400. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Add ginger and curry powder and cook for 2 minutes. Add turkey and chicken stock. Saute turkey until cooked through, breaking up with a spatula, about 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and cook until warmed through. Add peas and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then allow to cool slightly.

Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface and lightly brush with olive oil. Keep the extra phyllo covered while you do this. Stack remaining 5 sheets on top, rotating each sheet slightly so edges are offset and brush each with oil. Gently transfer the stack to a 9-inch pie plate sprayed with nonstick spray. Fill with turkey mixture, then fold edges of phyllo over top.

Bake until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer pie to a cutting board, cut into pie pieces and serve.

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Turkey and Kale Penne With Marinara

3 03 2014

Creating new dishes can be as simple as revisiting ones you’ve already made, and adding a new twist. I went back to my Zucchini “Ravioli” or “Lasagna” With Turkey and Kale Filling to make this pasta. This time I used the filling from the lasagna to make the base of the penne. A new vehicle for similar flavors, but just as tasty.

I’ve already thought of a third way to use these ingredients to make yet another delicious dish, which I’ll be serving at an upcoming dinner party. Stay tuned for that coming later this month!

Turkey and Kale Penne With Marinara

Turkey and Kale Penne With Marinara

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 box (13.25 oz) whole wheat penne
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup packed chopped kale
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil and season with salt. Add penne and cook to al dente, according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add half the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add half the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Season lightly with salt to taste. Add ground turkey and raise the heat to medium-high. Saute, until meat is cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. I used a little homemade sausage seasoning to add some extra flavor to the meat. You can skip this step, but here’s the recipe for the seasoning I use: https://thisgirlsgottaeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/sweet-potato-spicy-turkey-sausage-soup-with-kale/.

While the meat cooks, make the marinara. In a saucepan, add another Tbsp or so of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the rest of the diced onion and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the rest of the minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, cook for another minute. Add tomatoes and basil, bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off heat, use an immersion blender to puree the sauce slightly.

Meanwhile, add kale to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add ricotta, 2 Tbsp grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Once the turkey is cooked through, mix in the kale-ricotta puree.

Drain the cooked penne and add to the turkey and kale mixture. Cook over low heat for a minute, tossing constantly, until well combined.

To serve, plate some of the turkey and kale penne and top with a little marinara. Garnish with parmesan cheese.





Zucchini “Ravioli” or “Lasagna” With Turkey and Kale Filling

19 02 2014

The idea of using veggies as an understudy for pasta ravioli or lasagna is brilliant. I’ve seen pics for this all over pinterest, but the blog I finally stumbled on to check out the how-to for the ravioli, was CupcakesOMG!. Her how-to pics using squash are fab, so much so, that I’m not going to recreate them, I’ll just link you to them here.

I used zucchini instead of squash, and went rogue on the filling and the sauce, but don’t feel confined to either of our recipes – use whatever filling and sauce you’d like. Once you get the ravioli or lasagna technique down, the variations are endless!

I set out to make the ravioli tonight, however I underestimated how long it would take. It’s not hard, it’s just a little time-consuming. So after making a few of the ravioli, I switched my game plan and built a zucchini lasagna out of the remaining ingredients and baked them both together. Below I show both options…both are equally delicious!

Zucchini "Ravioli" or "Lasagna" With Turkey and Kale Filling

Zucchini “Ravioli” or “Lasagna” With Turkey and Kale Filling

Zucchini "Ravioli" or "Lasagna" With Turkey and Kale Filling

Zucchini “Ravioli” or “Lasagna” With Turkey and Kale Filling

The following serves 3-4:

  • 4-5 small-medium zucchini
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup packed chopped kale
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded sharp provolone
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut ends of the zucchini off and slice down the middle so you have two halves. Using the narrowest setting on your mandolin, slice the zucchini into long, flat strips.

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add half the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add half the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Season lightly with salt to taste. Add ground turkey and raise the heat to medium-high. Saute, until meat is cooked all the way through, about 5 minutes. I used a little homemade sausage seasoning to add some extra flavor to the meat. You can skip this step, but here’s the recipe for the seasoning I use: https://thisgirlsgottaeat.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/sweet-potato-spicy-turkey-sausage-soup-with-kale/.

While the meat cooks, make your sauce. In a saucepan, add another Tbsp or so of oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the rest of the diced onion and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add the rest of the minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, cook for another minute. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off heat, add parsley and use an immersion blender to puree the sauce slightly.

Meanwhile, add kale to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add ricotta, 2 Tbsp grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Once the turkey is cooked through, remove from heat and mix in the kale-ricotta puree.

Assemble the ravioli by just barely overlapping two strips of squash next to each other lengthwise. Do the same over the middle of the first two strips, but perpendicular, creating a cross or “t” shape. Spoon the turkey/kale filling in the center of the cross, then bring all the ends of the squash strips together, overlapping each other, to create a square-looking “ravioli”. Check out the blog linked above for specific how-to pics.

Spray a casserole with non-stick spray and put a little of the tomato sauce on the bottom (just enough to coat the bottom). Next, place the ravioli seem-side down. If making the lasagna instead, lay strips of zucchini end to end, across the whole casserole dish, on top of the sauce. Add a layer of the meat mixture, top with another layer of zucchini. Add the remaining meat and top with a final layer of zucchini (from bottom to top it should be zucchini, meat, zucchini, meat, zucchini). Add a layer of sauce on top of the zucchini and finish with a layer of shredded provolone.

Regardless if you’re making ravioli or lasagna, cover casserole with foil and bake for 15-25 minutes, or until zuchini is tender and the filling is warmed through. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 5 minutes.

To serve, dish out ravioli or lasagna and top with a little more sauce if desired. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve with a salad.





Sweet Potato-Spicy Turkey Sausage Soup With Kale

5 02 2014

The sweetness of the sweet potato really pairs well with the spicy sausage in this tasty fall/winter soup. Kale also enhances the flavor, while bumping up its nutritional value. Try making your own sausage with ground turkey – see This Girl’s tip below for a homemade sausage seasoning.

Sweet Potato-Spicy Turkey Sausage Soup With Kale

Sweet Potato-Spicy Turkey Sausage Soup With Kale

The following serves 4 (adapted from Everyday Food):

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced large
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb sweet or spicy Italian turkey sausage (I made my own spicy sausage seasoning to use with ground turkey, see below for recipe. You could also buy bulk sausage.)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (a little over a pound), peeled and diced medium
  • 6 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups roughly chopped kale
  • Grated parmesan for serving

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add turkey sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes.

Add sweet potatoes and broth, bring to a boil, continue to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce to simmer, add greens, and cook another 4 minutes. Taste and season with salt if needed. Serve with parmesan.

This Girl’s Tip: Spicy Italian sausage seasoning (adapted from Tasty Kitchen): When my family makes our own dried sausage we usually just use a spice blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper – but because I’m not using pork, I thought I needed some additional flavor to make the turkey taste more like sausage. So I adapted a blend I found from Tasty Kitchen, along with my family’s, and it worked great. 

Make this seasoning in advance; mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container. When you need sausage, mix 2-3 Tbsp of the seasoning with 1 lb ground turkey, chicken or pork. If you have time, mix the meat with the seasoning a day or two in advance and store covered in the fridge so the flavors can blend into the meat.

  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds or ground fennel
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne




Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

22 01 2014

I love the depth of flavor, and spirit that comes from a homemade stock. What’s even better is turning on the crockpot in the morning and coming home to it at night, having done minimal prep! See my tip below on making homemade veggie stock, perfect for this healthy and hearty soup featuring turkey meatballs, kale and whole wheat tortellini. 🙂

Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

Meatball, Kale and Tortellini Soup With Homemade Veggie Stock

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of Food Network Magazine and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Dry white wine
  • 7 – 8 cups homemade veggie stock (boxed would work too)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (9 oz) package refrigerated whole wheat cheese tortellini
  • Half a head of kale, chopped

This Girl’s Homemade Veggie Stock Tip: I’ve shared this before, but to easily make your own vegetable stock, save the trimmed ends of veggies (ends of onions, used lemon, leafy tips of celery, asparagus ends, kale stems, cauliflower/broccoli stalks, etc) in a gallon-size Zip lock bag in the freezer. Once you have a full bag, add all the frozen veggies to a crockpot. Cover veggies with water, add a few garlic cloves and whatever herbs you have on hand like bay leaves, thyme, parsley, basil, etc. Turn on low when you leave the house for work, and when you come home, strain the veggies and you have homemade stock! So easy and so much healthier than anything you’ll get in a box!

Combine the turkey, parmesan, 2 Tbsp parsley, egg, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl; mix well with your hands until just combined. Form into 1-inch-meatballs and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. The goal here is to get a little sear on the meatballs so they set enough to hold up in the soup. You’re also building flavor in the pan for the base of the soup. Remove seared meatballs to a plate with a paper towel.

Add the carrots, celery and the rest of the garlic to the dutch oven, cook until just softened, 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and deglaze the pan with a little white wine, scrapping up the brown bits on the bottom. Next, add the stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Return the meatballs to the dutch oven and simmer until cooked through and float to the top, 3 minutes. Stir in the kale, then add the tortellini and cook until they float to the top, about 3 – 4 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide among bowls and garnish with the rest of the parsley and some parmesan cheese.





Weeknight Ragu alla Bolognese

24 04 2013

Bolognese sauce is an Italian meat-based sauce in which the meat is traditionally braised. It can take hours to develop a classically deep, rich Bolognese sauce. This is my recipe for a healthier version of this classic, that can be made quickly and even enjoyed during the week!

Weeknight Ragu alla Bolognese

Weeknight Ragu alla Bolognese

The following serves 4-6 (compliments of This Girl):

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Medium onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 large piece of celery, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 package of lean ground turkey
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup or more dry red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta of your choice (spaghetti is pictured here)
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Fresh parsley, torn for garnish

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, a few good turns of the pan. Add chopped onions and saute until softened, 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and pinch of red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, 1 more minute. Next add the chopped celery and season with salt and pepper. Using a hand-held grater or microplane, grate the carrot right into the skillet. Cook veggies together for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the ground turkey and brown along with the veggies – be sure to break up the turkey with a spatula. Add tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and mix well into the turkey and veggies, cook for another minute. Next, deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook for another minute until the wine is well incorporated. Finally, add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat, simmer sauce for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. If the sauce starts to look dry or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, add more red wine – 1 turn of the pan at a time.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil. Season liberally with salt and cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain.

Add the drained pasta directly to the skillet with the sauce and finish cooking for a minute until the pasta is tossed well with the sauce. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve pasta with grated parmesan cheese and torn parsley, and of course, a glass of dry red wine 🙂