Turkey Lettuce Cups

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These lettuce cups are an explosion of flavor and texture.  You get an amazing crunch from the lettuce and water chestnuts and then the sweet and spicy from the sauces.  It’s also a beautiful looking dish, with splashes of color from the green onions and red peppers.

 

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Start by browning the ground turkey with some garlic.

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Have all your other filling ingredients chopped and ready to go.  Here I have cremini mushrooms, red bell pepper, green onion and water chestnuts.  Chop them all finely and set aside.

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Add everything in except the green onions and saute until softened.

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Shaohsing cooking wine is a staple in a Chinese pantry.  But if you’re not Chinese, or just don’t have any, you can substitute with sherry wine.

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Hoisin sauce is another common flavoring item in Chinese cooking.  It is sort of like a sweet bbq sauce, but deeper in flavor.  This is very common in grocery stores now, so I’m sure you can find it in the Asian aisle at the store.

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If you don’t know what Sriracha sauce is, it’s a very tasty and spicy chili sauce.  This can also be found easily at your local grocery store, probably close to the hoisin.

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After adding in all the sauces, throw in the green onions.  I put the onions in last because I don’t want them to wilt down and lose its color or texture.  Add in the Chinese five spice, salt and white pepper to taste.

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Here is the beautifully cooked turkey filling, ready to plopped on top of a leaf of iceberg lettuce.

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Iceberg lettuce is really the best type to use for this dish.  It is firm and holds its shape well.  It also has the best crunch and is conveniently shaped like a bowl.  This is an ideal dish for  a low carb diet, but tasty enough that you won’t miss the carb at all!!

 

Turkey Lettuce Cups

Yield:  10 servings

1 ½ pounds ground turkey

2 cups fresh cremini mushrooms, diced

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 small tin (6 to 8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, diced

3 green onions, diced

3 tablespoons Shaosing Chinese cooking wine

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha chile sauce

Kosher salt and white pepper

½ teaspoon Chinese five spice

1/2 large head iceberg lettuce, core removed, head quartered

 

Remove tough stems from mushrooms and brush with damp towel to clean, dice mushrooms.

Preheat a large skillet or wok to high.

Add oil to hot pan.  Add ground turkey to the pan and saute the meat by stir frying a minute or 2. Add garlic and cook another minute or two. Add in the Chinese five spice and salt and pepper to taste. Cook a minute more. Add bell pepper and chopped water chestnuts. Cook another minute, continuing to stir fry mixture. Add cooking wine, hoisin, sriracha and toss to coat the mixture evenly.  Add the green onions at the end to retain color and freshness.

Transfer the hot turkey mixture to serving platter and pile the quartered wedges of crisp iceberg lettuce along side. To eat, pile spoonfuls into a lettuce cup, wrapping lettuce around the filling and enjoy!

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Crock Pot Turkey Chili

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Looking at this bowl of chili automatically gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside.  And, that’s exactly what I need when the weather gets cold.

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Now that the weather here in Southern California is resembling a bit of autumn, it makes me think of cold-weather foods.  One of my favorites is chili.  Since our family is also trying to eat healthier, ground turkey is our favorite substitute for ground beef.

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Brown the ground turkey with some canola oil.

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Here are the aromatics that give the chili its robust flavor.  Dice up the garlic, onion and green bell pepper.

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Then, saute the vegetables until they are soft.  Throw the turkey and vegetables into the crock pot with all the remaining ingredients and allow it to cook for 8 hours on low.

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This rich turkey chili takes very little time to make and packs a great punch of flavor from healthy ingredients.   Cooking this in your crock pot for 8 hours will fill your house with amazing smells, you may not be able to wait the whole 8 hours.  If that’s the case, you can also cook the chili on high for 4 hours.   However long you decide to cook this chili, you will be happy with what you get.

Crock Pot Turkey Chili

2 pounds ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 tsp cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (14.5 ounce) can beef broth

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers

1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans

Optional toppings:

1 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Diced green onions

Brown the ground turkey in a pan, then place the meat into a crock pot.  In the same pan, saute onion, bell pepper and garlic, add to the crock pot.  Add all the remaining ingredients (except the kidney beans) to the crock pot.  Set on low and allow to cook for up to 8 hours.  Add kidney beans about one hour before eating.

Baked Turkey Meatballs

In our house, we are trying to eat healthier, so we’ve replaced ground beef with ground turkey altogether.   Switching to turkey did not leave us missing beef at all.  These meatballs were tender and moist with tons of flavor.  I definitely felt like I could eat more just because it was turkey.

And, they passed the kids test with flying colors.

Here is my flavor-filled turkey meatball mixture.  Using this scooper really saves me time and makes sure they are all the same size and cook evenly.

After scooping them, I still have to roll them between my hands to get them round.

My kids comes in handy for this task too.  They may as well put all those years of playing with play-doh to work, right?!

Because these meatballs are baked, that adds an extra health benefit from shallow frying with oil.

Look at that juicy white meat!  Just delectable.

The night I made these, I used them with spaghetti.  They would also be great in a meatball sandwich.  If you made them smaller, they could be a tasty appetizer with teriyaki  or sweet and sour sauce.  Be creative!  I know you can.

Baked Turkey Meatballs

2 20 oz pkgs Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey

2 eggs, beaten

¼ cup milk

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 tsp garlic salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp dried basil

¼ tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well incorporated.  Scoop with ice cream scoop onto baking pan.  Roll between your hands to make them into a ball.  Drizzle some olive oil over each meatball.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.  Enjoy in your favorite spaghetti sauce or as a meatball sandwich.

Makes 35 large meatballs.

Ciabatta Turkey Burger

 

The first time I had this burger was at my friend Cindy’s house.  I was surprised when she told me what she was serving, because I automatically think of turkey burger as healthy, which equals no flavor.  Boy was I wrong!  The addition of all the aromatic ingredients really made the burger pop.  She also cooked it just perfectly, not overdried, which is easy to do with lean turkey.

I came home and decided to make it, but with a ciabatta bun, not a regular burger bun.  I really love the chewiness and crisp outer crust of the bread.  It adds another layer of texture to the whole thing. It also doesn’t hurt that the ciabatta makes it look a little fancier too! I love fancy!!

 

Ciabatta Turkey Burger

2 ½ pounds ground turkey

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg

½ cup red pepper, diced

¼ cup red onion, diced

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp ketchup

1 Tbsp chile powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

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For sandwich

8 ciabatta buns

mayonnaise

mustard

8 slices cheese

8 leaves of lettuce

1 tomato, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

Put ground turkey into a large bowl.  Add all other ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  Form into 8 burger patties.  Grill on panini press about 7 minutes or until done and juices run clear.  If you don’t have a panini press, you can pan fry them in a hot pan with 2 Tbsp of cooking oil for about 4 minutes a side.  Either way, do not overcook. Turkey burgers can dry out very quickly.

I serve the turkey burgers on a ciabatta bun, with mayonnaise, mustard, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado.