One of my major goals for this little site of mine is to make your life easier when it comes to feeding yourself and your family nutritious food.
And one of the things that often gets in the way of that goal (for everyone, myself included) is time. I’m always looking for shortcuts when it comes to prepping meals and while I’ve still got a ways to go (hi annoying lunch salads that I make every week!) this concept is definitely inspired by a desire to have healthy weekday meals that come together really quickly.
The term healthy – and nutritious for that matter – is so subjective. If you’re paleo, you probably don’t think grains are good for you; if you’re vegan, you probably don’t think that animal products are good for you. My diet doesn’t fall under any particular label, but I do have my own loose opinion of what makes up a healthy meal. It’s lots of vegetables, some protein and healthy fat. Most of the time, a carb or starch rounds out the meal.
Turkey (especially organic turkey!), is a great (and easy) way to fulfill the protein portion of those healthy meals and it’s a staple in our house. Ground turkey, works especially well for the make-ahead meals featured in this post.
This post is sponsored by Foster Farms Organic Ground Turkey, and it’s a product I fully stand behind. The turkeys eat their organic meals in the fields of the California Central Valley (local for me!) and are raised without any antibiotics or hormones. It’s so great to see quality meats in the mainstream market. (And as always, thanks for supporting the brands that help to support this site!)
So here’s what this post is all about: you make a BIG batch of simple turkey sauce and then you can either use it right away, put it in the fridge for later in the week or freeze it and use it in a few weeks! (If you freeze the sauce, make sure you thaw it before using it in the recipes.) Then, in the time it takes to make one turkey sauce, you’ve got enough of a base to make three different meals.
For the simple turkey sauce, I kept things REALLY simple. (That’s the point, right?) You chop some onions and garlic, open a few cans of tomatoes, and cook it all together for 20 minutes or so.
Once you have the simple turkey sauce, it’s a choose-your-own-dinner-adventure!
You can start really easy with the pasta and turkey sauce, work your way up to the easy weeknight chili or try something really different with the polenta with creamy turkey sauce. (Don’t skip this last one, it’s SO good.)
Pasta and Simple Turkey Sauce:
12-16 oz (dry) pasta of choice (best to use penne or fussili)
1 batch simple turkey sauce
3 Tbsp tomato paste
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, chopped
fresh basil, red pepper flakes
Cook pasta according to directions. Heat turkey sauce in medium pot and stir in tomato paste. Season with salt & pepper. Divide pasta, turkey sauce and mozzarella cheese between four bowls. Garnish with basil and red pepper flakes if desired.
Weeknight Turkey Chili:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
1 batch of simple turkey sauce
2-14.5 oz cans diced tomato with green chiles, drained
1-15 oz can black beans, drained
1-15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
seasonings: 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, salt & pepper
fresh cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese
Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add green pepper and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add turkey sauce, tomatoes with chiles, beans, broth, seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer with lid ajar for about 20 minutes. Garnish with cheese and cilantro.
Crispy Polenta with Turkey Gravy:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 batch simple turkey sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp half & half
parsley, parmesan cheese
In large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots, and cook, stirring frequently for about 1-2 minutes. Add butter to pan, when it melts, sprinkle flour over pan. Mix well, until flour is incorporated into shallots. Add turkey sauce, balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower heat, add half & half and simmer until thick, about 10-15 minutes.
- 2 white onions
- 8 cloves garlic
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 lbs foster farms organic ground turkey
- 3-14.5 oz cans of fire-roasted tomatoes
- salt & pepper
- Dice onions and roughly chop garlic.
- In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add turkey and season with salt & pepper.
- Break up turkey with spoon and cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes (no need to drain) and bring mixture to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
- Divide into 3 portions, about 3.5 cups each.