Tag Archives: ground turkey

Taco Ring

A friend of mine who is also a chef, sent me a similar recipe she had done at home with her kids. Naturally, I have to attempt to recreate it. She challenges me that way. The good thing about that is…she never holds back on the kuddos!

She went to culinary school while I was studying Dietetics and the intricacies of food science and human nutrition, so in working out substitutions and proportions, I get validation from her in what I’ve created thanks to that prior knowledge (along with my 30+ years of cooking/experimenting). I actually have two best friends who are chefs, but I digress.

The Taco seasoning, of course, I make at home saving from added preservatives or inexplicable additives you can’t pronounce incorporated during processing. I love these little Ball jars with shaker tops! They’re great for the extra spice mix or making bulk for multiple recipes!














Taco Seasoning:

2 T (tablespoons) chili powder

T ground cumin

½ t (teaspoons) garlic powder

½ t onion powder

½ t dried oregano

t paprika

2 t each sea salt and ground black pepper

Optional– ½ t crushed red pepper


Brown 1-1/4 lb ground turkey, drain fat. Sprinkle 3 to 5 tablespoons, depending on how spicy you like your Mexican food, over turkey meat. Allow to warm and release the oils (smells) of the spices. Remove from heat. Allow to cool so it doesn’t cook the pastry while you’re filling it.

Separate two tubes of refrigerator croissants. Overlap triangles into a ring. You may have to adjust it, but it will be okay as long as the dough stays cold. Stir cheese into meat and spoon onto overlapping sections of the croissant dough.

Gently wrap opposite end of dough over the meat and tuck the point under the inside of the ring. Cook according to croissant baking instructions.

Taco Ring ingredients:

2 tubes refrigerator croissants

1-1/4 lb ground turkey

3 to 5 T taco seasoning or one packet

2 cups of Mexican or Fiesta blend cheese, cheddar also works well

Sour cream, chopped fresh tomatoes, salsa, and cilantro to garnish


Ground Turkey Eggplant Lasagna

Mixing favorite veggies in an attempt to make a one-pot dinner resulting in our new favorite lasagna; although, I have to wonder if the new marinara sauce is to blame.

Ground Turkey and Veggie Lasagna


8 0z Lasagna (half a box) noodles

One eggplant, 3/4 skin removed (potato peeler works nicely) and cubed

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Handful (about 4 oz) of spinach, roughly chopped

One jar (40 oz) of Victoria White Linen Marinara Sauce

One shallot, chopped

4 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

8 oz cottage cheese

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

Leftover chopped tomatoes (about 7 oz canned)

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Cooking spray

Layer in Crock-Pot on High for 3 ½ hours. 

I began with browning the ground turkey in olive oil on medium-high heat with salt and pepper 1/4-½ teaspoon of each. After draining the excess fat, add chopped shallots to the pan, stir in. Add eggplant, salt and pepper (1/4-½ teaspoon). Sauté until the eggplant is translucent. 

Coat inside of Crock-Pot with cooking spray. Add ingredients from pan to pot.



Oops, forgot to sauté the mushrooms! Into the pan they go with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until translucent!


I almost forgot garlic, too! Right on top of the cooked mix worked out perfectly. (photo below)


Minced garlic, then chopped tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and marinara sauce. Generally when you do lasagna, you layer it three times, but I was running out of time. I needed to get the cooking time going on the Crock-Pot for this meal to be ready for dinner. I did two layers with the mushrooms and tomatoes only in the bottom layer and spinach only in the top layer.

The first layer is always sauce, so since I had half of the meat and veggies already in the pot, I added the tomatoes and half of the sauce over it. Then all of the mushrooms, a layer of pasta, 4 oz cottage cheese, 2 c mozzarella, ½ c Parmesan. Repeat meat mixture, sauce, add spinach, continue with remaining cheese. Cover and cook.

 The result? It was that melt-in-your-mouth goodness that you get from fresh, savory ingredients. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but it was like comfort food…and fusion…delicious!




Cincinnati Chili

Did somebody say chocolate?! Until I saw this recipe, I had only heard of chocolate added to mole in a savory dish. This was surprisingly fantastic! I’m not sure if it was the cocoa or if it was the right balance of spices, but this may be may favorite chili yet.

Begin, of course, with sautéing the shallots and browning the and ground turkey.

Add the spices and seasoning, tomatoes…

Toss in the cooked ground turkey and shallots.

Mmm…can’t wait!

All those spices and seasoning, yes!

Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Recipes binder, p.120

Zuppa Toscana

Doesn’t that look scrumptious and satisfying? It is. I feel like I can say that because I didn’t make up this recipe. It is supposed to be a copy-cat of a popular chain Italian restaurant. The link to the recipe is at the end of this post.

This was much more flavorful than I expected. Eight ingredients, but very well chosen. The  Italian sausage is perfectly seasoned to balance the mild veggies in this recipe.

Add browned sausage, chicken broth, potatoes or Cannellini beans.

Add kale and cream in last half hour of cooking.


Update: I recently substituted the potatoes with Cannellini beans as a low-carb option. Not only are the beans as hearty as potatoes, but they offer a good amount of fiber as well as a different array of vitamins and minerals. This is our new favorite Zuppa Toscana! Needless to say, it went over very well in my house.

Shepherd’s Pie

I crushed in pretzel crackers to give it the crunch you would normally get from roasting this with mashed potatoes on top.

Traditionally made with lamb meat and a mashed potato crust, I will be using ground turkey for Shepherd’s Pie. Since it’s called Cottage Pie if you use beef, maybe we should rename it to whatever protects the turkeys. Pen Pie. Not so appetizing. Remember the story that ends with a blackbird pie? Can we find something that hints at the ingredients? Free-range pie? Ha ha. Playing with collective nouns, Rafter Pie. I like it. Enough of that, let’s get to the food!


Here again, we start with the culinary trinity. Carrots, celery, and I’ve replaced onions with shallots. Add potatoes which would be the “crust” if you cooked this in an oven.

I’ve added the ingredients I would use to make a cream of mushroom soup. Butter, mushrooms, dried thyme, flour, garlic, salt and pepper, chicken bouillon, and water.

Add the rest of the ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie; green beans and ground turkey.


In the pot:

1 pound ground turkey, browned in skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic powder (½–1 teaspoon each, depending on your taste)

1 shallot, chopped

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

6 red potatoes, chopped

8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms

10 oz frozen green beans

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chicken bouillon (1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon, plus one cup water used here)

4 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper, about ½ teaspoon each used for the veggie layer as well as the meat layer

Stir together. Cook on High for 4 hours. Top with crumbled, crispy, butter crackers or pretzel crackers.


Supreme Pizza Casserole

Can’t get easier than this! Pizza is most kid’s favorite food at some point in their lives. This recipe lets you prep the ingredients and then throw everything in the pot to wait for your hungry family…and their friends! It’s filling and serves a crowd, so whether your teens are having a sleepover, you have date night and are getting dinner ready for the kids and sitter, or you’re going out of town and need something to last the family several days while you’re gone, this is a quick and satisfying meal you can customize.

I thought this recipe would be an easy alternative to rolling out pizza dough. It is. You can use whatever pasta you prefer. The meat and veggies are absolutely replaceable. Pick your favorites, get the ingredients for the sauce together, and stir it all into the pot. I would recommend that you cook anything that is fresh and cook it together to give a better flavor to the finished food.


There is some cooking involved prior to adding everything to the pot (you have to at least cook any raw meat), but once it’s done, you can leave it. The aroma will lure the kids, spouse, neighbor’s kids, etc., and it serves so many. A batch of this for us lasts in the freezer for months. Even after it’s done cooking, and we’ve had our fill, it doesn’t look like we were able to put a dent in it at all; the leftovers go into storage containers (which I’ve run out of with this and put servings into storage bags to lie flat in the freezer. Freezes quickly, defrost quickly)!

Bottom photo by M. Sandoval

The photo collages depict two separate times I’ve made this recipe, one just cooking the meat and the other cooking the meat and veggies first. Sautéing veggies for Italian foods just gives more dimension to the flavor, in my opinion, and you have to cook the meat anyways, so just add the veggies to the pan after the cooked meat with a little olive oil; it will absorb some of the meat yumminess and help deglaze the pan=more flavor and less scrubbing/clean-up!

The recipe:

1 ½ lb ground turkey

1 lb pork sausage

4 jars (14 oz) of pizza sauce

2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

8 oz fresh mushrooms

6 oz pepperoni

½ c chopped shallot

½ c chopped red bell pepper

clove of garlic, minced

1 lb pasta, cooked and drained

olive oil

Tablespoon fennel seed

1/4 each teaspoon salt and pepper

Brown ground turkey and pork in skillet, drain. Add to pot. Heat veggies in skillet with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and about 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until veggies are transparent. Mix all ingredients except pasta into pot. Cook on Low 3 ½ hours or High 2 hours. Add pasta, cook on High 15-20 minutes.

Also great for potlucks involving kids!

Turkey Meatloaf

Photo by M. Sandoval

Nostalgic. Comfort food. Kid food? American, for sure. My mom made this on occasion when I was growing up which, now that I think back, was nice considering she was born and raised in the Southeast Asia. How nice of her to incorporate American traditions into our upbringing! Don’t you just love your mom?!

My dad showed me how to make my own eggs when I was ten years old. Since then, I’ve been experimenting with cooking. In high school, I made things like chocolate truffles and croissants from scratch and brought them to share (test out?) on my French class classmates. That is about the time I quit drinking soda and eating red meat experimenting with lean meat (mostly chicken, but also some seafood) and low-fat options for recipes.

This meatloaf is different every time I make it since I don’t measure anything for it, but it always has ground turkey to start. As usual, I use what I have and I usually have garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, eggs, mustard, and some sort of crackers in the pantry. I also add ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce when I remember/have it.

Ground turkey, a package of crackers–crumbled, one egg…
Add ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper. Mix together.










I used dried, chopped onions this time, and my son had a fit (I can’t wait until his palate matures).

Shape and place in baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Drizzled with ketchup...
Drizzle with ketchup, then bake at 350°F for 55 minutes…
Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Approximate measurements for ingredients:

1 1/4  lb ground turkey

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers

1 egg

1/4 cup of water

1 Tablespoon of mustard

1/4 cup of ketchup, plus drizzle

2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce

½ teaspoon each of onion powder and garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Try this recipe and let me know how it goes!

I used this for seasoning ideas. http://www.food.com/recipe/turkey-meatloaf-54752