Category Archives: Turkey Recipes

Pasta in Sauce?

pastaIf you’re a purist and want your pasta cooked separately, you can skip this post. The Hasty Tasty Meals Kitchen is about shortcuts, and cooking pasta in the sauce is a time-saver if done correctly. But it can be tricky.

I cook pasta in the sauce in skillet meals, casseroles, and in the pressure cooker. The safety instructions for pressure cookers warn against cooking foods that foam, like pasta or grains, but don’t let that stop you. You just need to exercise caution. I do oatmeal in its own bowl on a trivet above the water, for example, with no problem. I’ve seen countless posts on Instagram and Facebook of beautiful lasagnas made in an Instant Pot or other brand multi-cooker under pressure in a springform pan. It can be done.

When making pasta dishes in my pressure cooker, I prefer Mueller’s Pot-Sized dried pasta. It’s smaller length makes it a perfect fit without breaking. 

Here are the rules when cooking pasta, whether by itself or with other food.

  1. Add a teaspoon of oil.
  2. Don’t allow pasta to touch the bottom of the pot.
  3. Spread dried pasta in a single layer as much as possible and don’t stir.
  4. Use sufficient liquid to cover the pasta.
  5. Cook for only half the recommended time.
  6. Allow pressure to drop on its own for a minute then release in short spurts.
  7. Stir.
  8. Add cheese or other dairy products.

If you follow these steps, you’ll have satisfactory results. Why go to the trouble to cook a spaghetti dinner in a pressure cooker? Clean up! I have one pot to clean. One. That makes me a happy cook.

RECIPE

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • one pound ground turkey (or beef–you choose)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • one 8 ounce can mushrooms (do not drain)
  • 8 ounces dried spaghetti
  • 1 15½ ounce can tomato sauce + 1 empty can water or broth
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the pot of the pressure cooker and brown the ground turkey in the cooking oil. If using an electric pressure cooker, you can just choose any setting that allows you to saute with the lid off. Salt and pepper as desired.
  2. Remove pot from heat (or hit Cancel on an electric model). Layer pasta over the meat spread as thinly as possible to prevent clumping.
  3. Add the can of mushrooms, the tomato sauce, and the water or broth over the pasta. Do not stir.
  4. Sprinkle garlic and seasonings over sauce.
  5. Seal the cooker and bring to pressure. Cook 5 minutes.
  6. Allow pressure to drop on its own 1-2 minutes, then carefully vent the cooker to release pressure.
  7. Open the cooker and stir (use a long handled utensil because contents are hot!).
  8. Sprinkle with a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Residual heat will melt the cheese.
  9. Enjoy!

Note: You may use this method with other shapes and sizes of dried pasta. Just cook under pressure for half the time recommended on the pasta’s box.

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Filed under Healthful Eating, kitchen equipment, pasta, pasta dishes, Recipes, sauces, Turkey Recipes

Individual Pot Pies

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I look for ways to make my post-holiday dinner life easier, and one of those hasty tasty meals is individual turkey pot pies. These are great make-ahead dishes made easier by using a can of crescent rolls dough. It’s also a great use-up of leftover side dishes. Use whatever vegetables you have. Here is how I made mine:

 

Recipe

Individual Turkey Pot Pies
(makes 4-6, depending on the size of your oven proof dishes. I used Corningware)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup beans
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1½ cups leftover gravy (or use cream of chicken soup)
  • 1 can refrigerated crescent rolls or similar prepared dough product
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large skillet, saute the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook for ten minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prep individual baking dishes with cooking spray, and roll out the crescent roll dough. Cut portions of dough to fit the tops of each dish. (Note: Dough shouldn’t completely cover the dish unless you cut several vent holes)
  4. To the skillet, add garlic and stir. Then stir in the turkey and all other vegetables. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender but don’t overcook.
  5. Stir the gravy into the skillet mixture. Add water if mixture is too tight or stiff. Cover and remove skillet from heat.
  6. Spoon pie filling in equal portions into each baking dish. Top with the dough. 
  7. Place all baking dishes on a baking sheet and place on the center rack of the oven. Time for 40 minutes.
  8. Check pot pies. If dough is browned, remove the baking sheet carefully from the oven and allow the pot pies to cool for ten minutes.
  9. Serve on a plate to protect your dining table and to allow guests to add sides such as leftover cranberry sauce or dressing. Enjoy!

 

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Thanksgiving in August

My husband’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because his favorite food is turkey. He is a turkey junkie of the highest order. He’d eat turkey every week if he could. But we live in Florida, and I’m not overworking our A/C while a turkey roasts for hours in the oven. It’s a cool-weather thing, or at least it was until I figured out a way to give him his bird and heat it, too. 😉

The answer is in slow-cooking a turkey breast. While I have successfully prepared a turkey breast in the pressure cooker, I prefer the slow-cooker method. I can, as author Phyllis Good says, “Fix it and Forget It.” I’ve collected all her Fix-it-and-forget-it titles and now own three different sizes slow-cookers. I’m a convert. If you haven’t any of her cookbooks, start with her latest, Fix It and Forget It Slow Cooker Magic: 550 Amazing Everyday Recipes.

The bonus in slow-cooking a turkey breast is the homemade stock. One 6 pound turkey breast produces about a quart of rich stock (I don’t add any liquid to the pot). I strain and skim fat from the juices. Then I use it for sauces, gravies, soups, or seasoning vegetables. Stock freezes well, too.

This recipe is my usual except I’ve added a butter/hot sauce rub. (My husband loves spicy cuisine. If you don’t, simply skip the rub step and season as usual.) With this recipe I paired the flavors of Buffalo wings with roasted turkey to serve both his flavorites in one meal. Regardless of how you season your turkey breast, the slow-cooking method is the same.

RECIPE

Slow Cooker Turkey Dinner With a Kick

Serves 4 + leftover turkey for future meals

Equipment: For the full meal recipe, you will need a six-quart slow-cooker. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 6 lb. turkey breast, thawed
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 cup hot sauce, your choice
  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 carrots, whole
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and halved

Directions:

  • Spray the inside of the slow cooker pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In the bottom of the pot, arrange the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic.
  • In a measuring cup, combine the softened butter with the hot sauce. Add salt and dried thyme.
  • Rub the turkey breast thoroughly with the butter/hot sauce mixture, carefully lifting the skin and getting the mixture beneath it.
  • Position the turkey breast over the vegetables so that the slow-cooker lid will fit. Cover.
  • Cook on the highest setting for two hours.
  • Reduce the temperature to medium or medium/low (depending on the controls of your model slow-cooker) and continue cooking for at least five more hours. If you lift the lid to view the turkey breast, you may need additional cooking time.*
  • After a total of six hours of cooking, check the turkey for doneness using a poultry thermometer (or meat thermometer with a poultry setting). Remove turkey from the slow cooker when it’s done and allow it to rest on a carving board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  • Carefully remove the potatoes and carrots to the serving platter. Strain and reserve the broth from the pot for gravy or flavoring stuffing mix. Broth also freezes for future use.
  • Slice the turkey breast meat into serving pieces, arrange on the platter with the carrots and potatoes, and serve with other side dishes of your choice.

*I put my turkey breast in the slow cooker at night, switching to low after two hours and allow it to cook overnight.

Now if we want a turkey dinner in August, we have it. And I don’t turn on the oven. 

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(Photos depict regular turkey breast without the Buffalo rub)

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Stuffin’ Muffins

Love turkey or chicken with dressing? Cooking for one or two? You don’t have to wait for holidays to enjoy a side of stuffing. Do what I do and make stuffin’ muffins. Keep them in the freezer and use only what you need.

RECIPE

Stuffin’ Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. bag of stuffing bread, your choice
  • 12 oz. broth or homemade stock, either turkey or chicken
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup egg substitute (or 1 egg)
  • nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Spray the cups of a 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine stuffing bread, broth, onion, celery, and egg substitute.
  4. Using a scoop or two spoons, fill each muffin cup with 1/12th of the stuffing.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until muffins are brown around the edges.
  6. Serve immediately. Cool leftover muffins completely and freeze in an airtight container or individual freezer storage bags.

Defrost and heat a muffin whenever you want a side of stuffing!

Stuffin' Muffins

Stuffin’ Muffins

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Filed under bread, muffins, Turkey Recipes

Make Your Own Taco Shells…or Not

We should strive to consume more whole grains in our diet, so I try to choose whole grain products over refined flour products. That’s why I wanted to try those Tortilla bowls. (see previous post)

I wanted to make tacos but with whole wheat taco shells, not the traditional corn taco shells.  As far as I know, whole-wheat taco shells aren’t marketed.  After this experiment, I suspect I know why.

                       

Drape tortillas over the oven rack

 I took whole-wheat tortillas and arranged them in a preheated 400°F oven by draping each one over two of the grids on the baking rack. (See photo)  I baked them for ten minutes, at which time they were crispy and hard.  Success!  I had whole wheat taco shells.

Baked 10 minutes @ 400°

Buoyed with confidence, I proceded to cook my meat filling (ground turkey breast seasoned with chili powder), shred my iceberg lettuce, and dice my tomatoes and sweet onion.  I shredded reduced fat Colby and Monterrey Jack cheese then assembled my tacos as follows: 2-3 ounces ground meat, 1 – 2 ounces cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.  (The Vitamix makes quick work of shredding cheese and chopping onions)

The whole wheat tortillas yielded slightly larger taco shells than the standard shells, so I was generous with my fillings.  My presentation was impressive, and I served them alongside my homemade salsa.

Fill with meat, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheese

The end result = delicious tacos in crunchy shells . . . crunchy, crumbly shells.  Very messy eating.  But we enjoyed them.  Were they worth the extra effort of baking my own shells?  No way, José!  Next time, I’ll buy already baked corn taco shells.  Or make taco salad.  Or maybe we’ll eat tacos at our local Mexican restaurant.

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Filed under Healthful Eating, Mexican, Recipes, Turkey Recipes, whole wheat

Jalapeño Patty Melt Burger

Delicious and spicy, the jalapeño patty melt burger!

We love burgers, but we limit our red meat to one serving per week. Consequently, I look for alternatives to the juicy beef burger. (Boca Burgers and MorningStar Farms aren’t an option for me right now because they contain soy, which interferes with medication I take; however, veggie burgers are a good alternative if your doctor agrees)

I buy lean ground turkey for making my own sausage, pasta sauce, etc. and I’ve experimented with ways to make it more palatable as a burger. The problem is the taste. Turkey has a tendency to be bland, so it’s necessary to bump up the flavors. One solution is my recipe that’s a knock off of a popular beef burger at a fast food chain, the jalapeño patty melt burger. It has a kick, especially if the salsa is hot. If you aren’t a fan of spicy hot food, you can vary the recipe with milder cheese, salsa, and peppers.

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RECIPE

Ingredients:

  1. ½ pound lean ground turkey
  2. dash of salt and pepper
  3. 1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  4. 2 Tbsp. salsa, divided
  5. 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  6. 2 ounces pepperjack cheese, divided in fourths
  7. 2 whole wheat burger buns

Directions:

  1. Preheat a cast iron grill pan, outdoor grill, or contact grill.
  2. Combine ground turkey with the salsa, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper. Do not overwork the meat.
  3. Form turkey mixture into two equal patties (make a bit thinner in the centers to prevent burger bulge)
  4. Cook for five minutes on hot grill or grill pan, turn, and cook opposite sides of burgers five minutes.
  5. While burgers cook, separate the bottoms and tops of the buns. Place on fourth of the cheese on each bottom.
  6. Remove burgers from heat and place on the cheese on the bottom portions of the buns. Add a fourth of the pepperjack cheese, and the jalapeño slices.
  7. Place burger, bun and all, back in the grill pan or on the grill. Weight the burger down and cook one minute or until cheese melts. (If using a contact grill, no weight is necessary)
  8. Carefully remove jalapeño patty melt burger from the grill and serve.

Yield: 2 burgers

Variations: Mix the salsa with 1 Tbsp. sour cream and spread on each bun before adding the cheese.

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Filed under Burgers, Cilantro, Healthful Eating, Mexican, Recipes, salsa, turkey, Turkey Recipes

Hasty Tasty Meatloaf

Hasty Tasty Meatloaf

Everyone has a meatloaf recipe it seems. It’s a beloved comfort food that also stretches a buck. I vary my meatloaf, depending on my mood and what’s in my refrigerator. This is my favorite, ideal recipe. I use fresh produce, but chopping in the Vitamix makes quick work of the preparaton. I bake it in my Pampered Chef® stoneware loaf pan. If you use a metal pan, lower the oven temperature to 350°.


RECIPE

Hasty Tasty Meatloaf

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ¼ red bell pepper
  • ¼ green bell pepper
  • ¼ yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1 can tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. In a large bowl, combine the two ground meats with the egg.
  3. Remove the plug on the Vitamix lid, set Vitamix speed to Variable Speed 4, and turn on. Gradually add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper quarters until all are chopped. Add chopped vegetables to the ground meat.
  4. Add all other ingredients except reserve half the tomato sauce. Mix just until blended.
  5. Transfer mixture to a loaf pan and shape into a loaf. Cover with remaining tomato sauce.
  6. Place loaf pan in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  7. Remove meatloaf from oven and allow it to cool 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Start to finish is about an hour. While the meatloaf bakes, you have plenty of time to steam potatoes and vegetables, set the table, and brew the iced tea. Enjoy your comfort food!

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Filed under cooking, Healthful Eating, oatmeal, Recipes, Turkey Recipes