So, today I am officially done with my sugar detox. It went better than I thought and I am surprised at how even though I am “free” to eat whatever I choose, I don’t really find myself seeking sugar-containing foods. I did have grapes today in my chicken salad and a few crackers on the side. I loved having a bit of fruit but really, the crackers were just filler… I didn’t need them and almost wished I hadn’t had them. I really think I need to take reintroducing “sugar” foods into my diet slowly. Perhaps stick with just fruit for a while, and even that at a moderate pace.
So, this dinner is also a sugar-free meal. It was satisfying – at least three of our four ate it and relatively easy to toss together. There is a great variety of veggies in it, which I like as well. And, it is one of those meals that you could really add just about any veggies from your fridge that needed using up. I served it with a side of fresh guacamole.
Recipe adapted from http://www.justenjoyfood.com/taco-bake/
1 lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, finely diced
3 zucchini, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 c. cauliflower rice (directions for cauliflower rice here)
1/2 each red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, finely diced
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cumin
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt/pepper to taste
2 c. diced tomato
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil
In a large skillet, melt coconut oil. Add turkey and break up. Once turkey is cooked about halfway though, add onion and bell peppers. Continue cooking until the turkey is completely cooked through. Add zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, and seasonings. Continue to cook until carrots begin to turn tender.
Remove from heat and spread in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top turkey mixture with diced tomatoes and add cheddar cheese to the top of that. Bake for 30 minutes.
Husband Rating: 7 out of 10
Food for thought: I think another tasty addition to this meal would be olives or red onion. It would also probably be a tasty combination to serve as filling for tacos, rather than a stand alone dish.
I also think this has potential to be a freezer dish – simply assemble and freeze prior to baking. You could easily make a double batch and then split it into two pans before baking. For our family, one and a half batches would suffice to make two meals, based on the leftovers we had.
I love the recipe from 100 Days Of Real Food for the Pork Carnitas Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa. I planned to make that for dinner tonight but when I was at Trader Joe’s this week they did not have the pork shoulder that the recipe called for. I decided to try making a variation of the recipe that used turkey breasts instead. The flavor was great but I did overcook them a little too much.
I find it humorous that the boys at their taco fillings actually assembled as tacos using whole wheat tortillas for the first time now that I can no longer eat them! But, I was pleased that everyone seemed to eat the meal well!
Along with the turkey meat, I sautéed an orange bell pepper in coconut oil and served the whole lot on some kale with avocado, tomatillo salsa, and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Shredded Turkey Tacos
2 lbs. turkey breasts
3 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1/2-1 c. chicken broth
orange bell pepper
In a small bowl, combine oregano, pepper, salt, and cumin. Rub on the outside of the turkey breasts. Place in a slow cooker. Chop the onion in large chunks and place onions and garlic on top of turkey breasts.
Cook in slow cooker on high for about 2-3 hours, checking occasionally. Add the chicken broth as cooking if the turkey seems to be getting too dry. When fully cooked through, shred the turkey using two forks and serve with whatever topping you prefer.
Husband Rating: 8 out of 10
Food for Thought: I had a ton of turkey leftover. With that I put about half of it into a large freezer bag and am saving it for another meal. I plan to heat it up with a little additional chicken broth for moisture.
I don’t know why I waited so long to try a turkey meatloaf but I am glad I did. This was delicious, not dry at all, and my husband said he thinks he even preferred it to my traditional Grandma Swanson’s Meatloaf! I served it with oven roasted brussel sprouts and homemade garlic fries. Everyone ate a ton! It was great!
P.S. This is a great gluten-free option to meatloaf where as my Grandma’s recipe is not.
Recipe adapted from http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/healthy-mini-turkey-meatloaves-gluten-free/
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. rolled oats (make sure they are labeled g/f)
2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
3 Tbsp. dried minced onions
1/2 tsp. dried mustard
1/2 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
2 lb. ground turkey
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well. Place in a glass loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.
Food for Thought:
This is a great freezer meal. You can mix everything together, wrap the loaf uncooked in plastic wrap, flash freeze in the loaf pan, and then place in a freezer bag for longer storage. When you are ready to cook it, simply unwrap the meatloaf, place it in a loaf pan, and bake, allowing at least 15 additional minutes for thawing while cooking.
This was one of the recipes from our food swap this month and I decided to add a few ingredients to tailor it to my family’s taste preferences. I am still a bit undecided on the actual meatballs – they could use a little more oomph in my opinion but the overall effect of the stew was great. It was warm and filling. The boys liked the meatballs – it was probably their favorite part! It was easy to make and overall healthy. We had it with some fresh tomatoes and avocados on the side as well as a few tortilla chips.
Mexican Meatball Stew
2 14.5 oz Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 24 oz. package frozen turkey meatballs, thawed
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 14 oz. can chicken broth with roasted garlic
1 10 oz package frozen corn, thawed
1 c. quick cooking bulgur wheat (I used a Bob’s Red Mill brand)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
In a 4-5 qt slow cooker, combine tomatoes, meatballs, beans, broth, and corn, and seasonings.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high 3-3 ½ hours.
About 30 minutes before serving, cook the bulgur wheat according to package directions. Stir into the stew.
Husband Rating: Didn’t get one as he was gone for Bible study!
Food for thought: As far as the meatballs go, I think that maybe using something like chorizo would be tasty and making meatballs from scratch could be good… though more work. Just a thought I had…
This was a great freezer meal – we tossed everything into a large freezer bag. On cooking day, I simply took it out of the freezer, stuck the whole icy block into my crock pot, turned it on, and viola! Dinner was ready! Love it!
Love the recipes I am getting from this blog, www.iowagirleats.com. This one was delicious too! It’s a take on lasagna using a white sauce and spicy sausage that was simply delicious! It was lighter than traditional lasagna making it more appetizing during the warm fall weather we’ve been having. The hot Italian sausage was a bit spicy for the boys so I might use something a little milder next time but I sure loved it! Yum!
Caprese Lasagna with Spicy Turkey Sausage
Recipe adapted from www.iowagirleats.com
1 pkg. oven ready lasagna noodles
extra virgin olive oil
1 pkg. hot turkey Italian sausage (could use sweet – I might next time for the boys’ sake)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
salt & pepper
5-6 Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
3/4 cup torn fresh basil
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Squeeze sausage out of its casing and cook while breaking up until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and set aside.
In the same skillet, melt butter, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour, then whisk to combine and cook for 30 more seconds.
Slowly pour in chicken broth a few tablespoons at a time, whisking to break up any lumps. Continue pouring and whisking until mixture is smooth. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Continue stirring until thick and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13″ baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour 1/4 cup sauce into the bottom, then spread evenly with a spatula. Layer 1/3 of the lasagna noodles. Then top with 1/3 of the tomatoes, 1/4 cup torn basil, 1/3 of the cooked turkey sausage, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Repeat 2 more times, for a total of three layers.
Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Husband Rating: I don’t think we got one for this meal but I will ask him next time because there will definitely be a next time for this meal!
Food for Thought: I think that adding some chopped spinach would be really a nice addition to this dish. I am going to try that as well as turning down the heat on the Italian sausage for next time. Enjoy!
You could also do this for the freezer, cooking it all up and before baking it cover it well and stick it in the freezer. Allow to thaw in the fridge and then cook up according to instructions.
Penne with Italian Sausage and Peppers
1/2 lb. whole wheat penne pasta
1 lb. turkey Italian sausage links
2 bell peppers, yellow, orange, or red, seeded and sliced
5 roma tomatoes, diced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh basil
salt/pepper to taste
shredded asiago cheese
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook sausage links in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from pan and slice.
In the same pan, add olive oil and minced garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes and then add the onion and peppers. Saute onion and peppers about 5 minutes or until just starting to soften. Add tomatoes and continue to cook until tomatoes are soft and saucy, about 10 minutes. Toss sausage and pasta in with tomatoes and peppers. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with fresh basil and shredded cheese.
Husband Rating: 7 out of 10
Shredded Turkey Sandwiches
1 turkey breast (6-7 pounds)
1 pkg. Lipton onion soup mix
1 can beer
1 stick butter
1/2 can chicken broth
Thaw turkey breast. Combing all the ingredients in the slow cooker.
Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours (my slow cooker is pretty hot so this is always done by 6 hours for me).
When done, shred the turkey in juice using two forks. If dry, add more chicken broth.
Serve on buns, over toast, or even over mashed potatoes.
To freeze, simply pour turkey and liquid in either a plastic container or a freezer bag, double bagging it. Be sure to let it cool before putting it in the freezer and squeeze out all the air from the freezer bag.
To reheat, add additional chicken broth if necessary and simply reheat in the microwave or over low heat on the stove.
Husband Rating: 6 out of 10
Food for Thought: This also tastes great with a little Swiss cheese on top. Doesn’t cheese make everything better? For some reason my children don’t really like this meal. I have found that if I cut a portion of the turkey breast off and cube it rather than shred it, they will eat it as finger food instead and still get a healthy meal. If I try to serve it to them shredded on the bun, usually only the bun gets eaten. Just a little tip that works for my household…