Really Simple Turkey Meat Sauce

Things have been really busy on the work front recently. I’ve been staying up nights and coming home starving so I really wanted a recipe I could make a large batch of, store for a week, and have enough protein to carry me through the night. Pasta is an easy answer for this, as any college student will tell you…but I’ve never been dedicated enough to make my own sauce before. Enter: the Really Simple Turkey Meat Sauce recipe!

This sauce recipe is great because it has everything you need for the basic, well-rounded meal (you can even throw in more veg if you want to boost the health factor) without the hassle. During times like this, I need a can-cook-it-in-my-sleep kind of meal since I’m more zombie than human anyway and certainly don’t have any patience. I’ve adapted the source recipe to use my ground turkey meat instead of the traditional ground beef simply because I like the taste better.

Really Simple Turkey Meat Sauce (adapted from Eating Well, December 2010)

Ingredients:

1   lb.   whole-wheat spaghetti (I ended up using linguini)

2   t   EVOO

1   large onion, finely chopped

1   large carrot, finely chopped

1   stalk celery, finely chopped

4   cloves garlic, minced

1   T   Italian seasoning (I used a mix of oregano, thyme, and basil)

1   lb.   lean ground turkey meat

1   28 oz.  can peeled whole or crushed tomatoes

¼   C   chopped parsley

½   t   salt

½   C   grated Parmesan cheese

Procedure:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender and drain (about 8 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook – stirring occasionally – for 5 minutes or so or until the onion begins to brown.
  3. Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then, add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon or wooden spatula for 3 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Now, if you’re like me, you’ll need to transfer the contents of the skillet to a medium-sized sauce pan for the next step. I do not have a skillet large enough to contain the added tomatoes.
  4. Increase heat to High and stir in tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes use a potato masher or fork to mush them up in the mixture (this will also help break up any larger bits of meat). Cook until sauce thickens – about 6 minutes. Stir in parsley and salt. Serve sauce over pasta and top with the cheese.

Beezer’s Notes:

For being as simple as it is, this sauce is very good! I ended up being right about the tomato paste, though; without it the sauce is much more watery and runny than it otherwise would have been. Since the source recipe used beef, I can’t be absolutely sure the original recipe would have turned out as watery, but I can’t see ground beef adding that much more viscosity. The turkey meat makes for a lighter dish either way and so I think a quarter Cup of tomato paste would have thickened the sauce up well without making it too heavy. If you want to thicken up the sauce just a tad without the tomato paste, you could always melt in some of your grated cheese at the end. I did that and liked the results.

Overall Enjoyment: ♥   ♥   ♥

Turkey and Asian Slaw Sandwich with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Sandwiches don’t usually generate a lot of excitement. I can probably count on one hand the number of sandwiches that have seriously impressed me over the years (none of which were made by me); they are just so common it’s hard to break the mold – especially in your own kitchen. That said, this turkey sandwich I whipped up the other day? Perfection. I’m not one to brag either, so the fact that this post is dedicated to doing exactly that should tell you something.


Turkey and Asian Slaw Sandwich with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:

For the Asian Slaw…

1      C     freshly shredded red cabbage

1/3   C    sliced almonds

1/4   C    rice vinegar*

*Note: I have a penchant for bitter and tangy tastes and liberally douse this salad with rice vinegar, more so than many others might prefer. Start with a few tablespoons of vinegar and add more to taste.

For the Sandwich…

2         slices of hearty sourdough bread, toasted

1    T    canola oil mayonnaise

1    T   sun-dried tomatoes (see Procedure)

2         large lettuce leaves, rinsed

2         slices of Swiss cheese

5    oz.  thinly sliced honey-roasted turkey breast

½   C   Asian slaw (see ingredients above)

2          toothpicks

Procedure:

  1. Mix up the sun-dried tomato mayo: you can either do a thorough blend in a food processor, mix ‘n mash with fork, or simply spread the mayo on toast first and add diced bits of the tomato on top (I told you, I’m lazy). One thing to keep in mind is how your tomatoes are packaged. Mine came pre-diced in a jar of oil, so I simply laid them on top of the mayo because I wanted nice chunky bites. If you use tomatoes packaged dry, however, you’ll want to blend them into the mayo well before spreading.
  2. After the toast pops (or dings) spread one slice liberally with tomato/mayo mix. Lay the Swiss cheese on the other warm slice so it melts slightly.
  3. Start stacking your ingredients. I like to put the lettuce on the mayo mix to help hold it in place and then the slaw after that, followed by the turkey. Close up your sandwich and secure halves using toothpicks before slicing.

Beezer’s Notes:

This sandwich is quick and very satisfying.There’s the crunch of the toast and almonds, soft turkey, gooey cheese, tangy slaw, and smooth sun-dried tomato mayo. I also sliced up some cucumber as a side which went well.

In my opinion, the Asian slaw is best for sandwich-stacking after sitting for at least 24 hours; fresh mixed it is heartier, crunchier, and has more of a bite to it. I mix up batches frequently as side salads and store the rest for later. As a leftover, the slaw has absorbed the moisture and is softer, holds together better, and the flavors – while still strong – have mellowed out. By that time it is also a lovely shade of deep purple, which is fun. 😉

Overall Enjoyment: ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥


 

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