Turkey Cheeseburger Casserole

Turkey Cheeseburger Casserole1 - Mimi's Fit Foods

The other night for dinner I was at a loss at what to make.  I wasn’t in the mood to make anything gourmet and I was tired and didn’t want to be in the kitchen all night.  So, I went through my “recipes to try” file and came across this recipe.  I had all the ingredients, looked like it would come together in a snap, and I was SUPER curious to know if it really would taste like a cheeseburger.  Thus, this was the winning recipe for the night.

Sure enough; it came together in a snap and was super easy.  And, even more amazing was the fact that it truly did taste like a cheeseburger.  I mean, it has all the elements (burger, cheese, tomato, onion, mustard, and pickle) so I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised.  I was a bit weary of putting chopped pickles on the casserole after it had baked, but it was seriously awesome.  I was definitely a fan.

This will definitely go in my file of recipes to make when I want something fast and delicious.  Enjoy!

Turkey Cheeseburger Casserole - Mimi's Fit Foods

Turkey Cheeseburger Casserole
Adapted from SkinnyTaste.com

6 ounce whole wheat rotini pasta (dry)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
28 ounces diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
1/4 cup dill pickles, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 2-quart casserole dish (or a 9×13 baking dish) with cooking spray.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente and drain well.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in the ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned.  Stir in the tomato paste, then add the tomatoes and mustard.  Let the mixture bubble gently until it is slightly thickened, about 2-5 minutes.

Toss the meat mixture with the pasta and spread it into the prepared baking dish. Top with the cheese and bake until the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle the chopped pickles over the top and serve.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approximately 1 1/2 Cups)
Calories:  334
Protein:  26.9g
Carbs:  33g
Fat:  12.4g (4.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  6.2g
Sugars:  6.6g

If desired, you can go with a smaller serving size of 1 cup.  That would mean the casserole would feed approximately 9 people.  The nutritional information would then calculate as follows:

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approximately 1 Cup)
Calories:  222.8
Protein:  17.9g
Carbs:  22g
Fat:  8.3g (2.9g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4.1g
Sugars:  4.4g

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili-Mimi's Fit Foods

Here is a unique and spectacular spin on chili.  One of my sisters was quick to tell me that I had to try it, and she was RIGHT (thanks Becca for the tip-off)!  As soon as I looked up the recipe it was bookmarked for the future for various reasons.  1 – It’s a slow cooker meal and I love using my slow cooker on days when I know I’m not going to have time to make dinner.  2 – It’s got black beans and sweet potatoes in it.  A beautiful pair.  3 – It has interesting ingredients in it that caught my curiosity, but I could also visualize how they would all come together and work.  Pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, and cinnamon . . . in chili?  Yep!  And, it works!

Now, I’m not going to lead you astray here!  It took me a little extra time than planned to get this in my slow cooker.  I usually look at my slow cooker as a time saver, but it didn’t really play that role here.  In this case, the slow cooker played the fantastic role of taking extra time to really help all these flavors meld together.  I still had to cut up all the veggies, sauté the veggies, and then brown the meat . . . all before throwing it in the slow cooker.  Here’s the thing.  All those steps TOTALLY help to elevate the flavor, so don’t skip them.  And, the extra steps made this chili SUPER awesome.  All I’m saying is don’t get in the mind set that this is a meal that takes you all of five minutes to throw in the slow cooker and then dinner is ready in 6 hours.  It’s going to take you a little bit to get it in the slow cooker (it took me about 35-40ish minutes), but then the slow cooker works its magic and you’ll be SO glad you made it.

It makes A LOT.  It freezes great, so I make the entire recipe and freeze half of it for later.  You can also half the recipe and cook it in a smaller slow cooker.  Or, you can invite friends/family over for dinner.  You choose!

That all being said, it’s really hard to EXACTLY describe the flavors.  You just HAVE to make it.  I will tell you this.  I’m totally making it for the next chili cook-off and I’m pretty sure it’s a shoe-in for the blue ribbon.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
Slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced (any color)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used red)
1-2 jalapenos, minced (I used 2)
20 ounces ground turkey breast
8 ounces mushrooms, minced (about 2 heaping cups)
2 teaspoons cumin
2  teaspoons kosher salt
1/2  teaspoons pepper
1  teaspoon oregano
1  teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2  teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes (orange), peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (not drained)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
32 ounces beef broth (one box/carton)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie puree)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

optional:  light sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro or green onion, and fresh lime juice for serving

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.  Add  1 teaspoon olive oil and add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapenos.  Saute for about 5 minutes, until veggies are tender and fragrant.  Add to slow cooker.

In same skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Add turkey and mushrooms and stir to combine.  Sprinkle in cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika.  (note: the meat will taste very seasoned when done.  Keep in mind these seasonings are not to flavor just the meat, they will season the entire pot of chili, so they are intentionally strong!)  Add turkey mixture to slow cooker.

Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, broth, pumpkin, cinnamon, and cocoa powder to slow cooker and stir til combine.  Place lid on pot and cook for  4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 on low.   Slow-cookers vary greatly in temperature and cooking times, but you’ll know it’s ready when the sweet potatoes are tender.

When done, turn off heat and let chili sit with lid off for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  Season with additional salt to taste before serving.  If desired, serve with sour cream, sliced avocados, and a small squirt of fresh lime juice, and any other toppings desired.

Serves 10.

Nutritional Information (per serving = 1 1/2 cup plain chili)
Calories: 256
Protein: 22.4g
Carbs: 40g
Fat 2.4 g

Turkey Spaghetti Pie

Turkey Spaghetti Pie-Mimi's Fit Foods

 

So, I grew up eating spaghetti quite regularly.  Spaghetti was in my mom’s weekly rotation and I actually loved it.  I still love spaghetti to this day.  When I married my handsome man, I quickly found out that he is not really a fan of spaghetti.  Huh?  Who doesn’t like spaghetti?  I quickly found ways to win over his heart with pasta and marinara and learned that meatballs and penne pasta are the ticket to his spaghetti-loving-heart.

Well, good news is that I recently found this Spaghetti Pie to fit the bill too!  I, of course, loved it and was slightly hesitant to ask for Beau’s honest opinion after dinner.  I took the plunge and asked him what he thought and was delighted to hear that he really liked it!  You don’t know how badly I want to start putting this spaghetti pie into my weekly rotation, but I’ll try not to totally push my luck (so, maybe every-other-week will work. . . haha!).

This dish led to a nice traditional mixture of flavors between spaghetti and lasagna.  The cottage cheese helps to enrich the flavors and the noodle crust (which is filled with pasta, eggs, and cheese) was fabulous when paired with the cottage cheese and marinara meat mixture.  I’m not gonna lie . . . I was kind of sad when Beau took the leftovers to work because I REALLY wanted them.  But, on the other side of things, I was pleased that he wanted to eat them too.  I guess that means I can make this again sooner than later.  Whooohooo!

Turkey Spaghetti Pie
Slightly Adapted from Taste of Homes “Everyday Light Meals”

6 ounces uncooked whole wheat thin spaghetti
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
12 ounces lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper (any color), chopped
1 1/2 cups meatless spaghetti sauce (like Prego HeartSmart)
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain well and cool to room temperature.  In a bowl, combine the spaghetti, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, egg, and egg whites.  Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate coated with nonstick cooking spray and form into a crust; set aside.

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook turkey, onion and bell pepper until turkey is no longer pink; drain.  Add spaghetti sauce; heat through.  Spread cottage cheese over crust; top with turkey mixture.

Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting; cut into 6 slices.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Slice)
Calories:  302
Protein:  25.7g
Carbs:  29.4g
Fat: 9.7g (4g = Sat. Fat)
Fiber:  4g
Sugars:  4.4g

Mexican Lettuce Wraps

Mimi's Fit Foods

Do you ever have days when you just don’t feel like eating anything in particular for dinner?  Well, this was one of those days and so I asked my husband what he wanted because I REALLY was at a loss and figured if he had a dinner option on his wish list, I would make it for him.  Well, he was no help and was in my same boat.  Thus, we were SOOOO close to just having eggs/omelets.  But, then I made one last effort to peruse the refrigerator to see if anything would jump out at me.  That’s when I came up with these babies.

I was too lazy to follow a recipe, so I just made up my own.  I threw in some ground turkey with onions and peppers and a few Mexican spices, added some fire-roasted tomatoes for additional flavor, some kidney beans for fiber/antioxidants/vitamins (and gobs of other good purposes), and some green chilies for a little heat.  With a little tomato paste added to the skillet, the mixture thickened right up and it fit beautifully in my little lettuce shells.

Lettuce is also a smart way to “wrap” up your food.  It has very, very little calories (like 7-10 for 1 cup).  I loved adding the carbohydrates to the mixture (rather than eating my carbs in a wrap) and, since the lettuce is so low in calories, I could eat as many “wraps” as my serving of mixture would allow.  You can do the same by adding as much mixture from your serving to each individual lettuce wrap.  You could walk away eating as low as 2 wraps, or as many as 6.  Of course, the amount of mixture you eat is the same but sometimes it does my mind good to think I was able to eat 6 lettuce wraps from dinner.  Ha, ha!

I included a list of optional toppings below.  Depending on your end goal, you’ll want to be careful with the toppings as they do add a smidge of extra calories.  I decided to top mine with a light sprinkling of reduced fat cheese, salsa and  Fit Ranch Dip (which I made using Hidden Valley’s Spicy Ranch flavor).

Not only did this come together fast, looks pretty and fun, but they tastes yum, yum, yummy!  I was so pleased with the outcome that I’m adding these to my quick, weeknight dinner meals rotation.  Heaven knows we all need more of these meals in our collection!

Mexican Lettuce Wraps
Mimi’s Original

1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used a red and yellow combination.)
1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or powder)
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (14.5 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
Lettuce for serving (I used baby Romaine.  Butter lettuce or iceberg would work well too.)

Optional Toppings:
reduced fat cheese
salsa
light sour cream
diced avocado (or guacamole)
Fit Ranch Dip

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, peppers, ground turkey, taco seasoning, cumin, and garlic salt.  Cook until onions and peppers break down and ground turkey is no longer pink, stirring often to break up ground turkey.  Add tomatoes, green chilies, and tomato paste.  Stir to combine.  Simmer until mixture thickens and a lot of the juice from the tomatoes evaporates, about 10 minutes.  Stir kidney beans into mixture and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile prepare lettuce leaves by washing, separating leaves, and patting them dry.  Fill leaves with turkey mixture and, if desired (and you can spare a few extra calories), top with optional toppings.

Serves 5.

Nutritional Information
(Per Serving = 1/5 of the Recipe, about 1 C. of Mixture, W/O Toppings)
Calories:  213
Protein:  23.2g
Carbs:  17.6g
Fat:  6.9g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  6.4g
Sugars:  5.4g

Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats with Marinara & Ground Turkey

Mimi's Fit Foods

Being the first of January and all, there are a lot of healthy recipes circulating the web.  This seems to be one that I’ve been seeing lately.  With good reason, folks!  It’s good!  I’m a pasta lover and guess what!?  I didn’t even miss the pasta in this dish.  I thought the spaghetti squash was so flavorful and the flavor of it married fantastically with the marinara, Italian spices, and cheese!  No wonder they call it “spaghetti” squash!

The textures in this dish are fabulous, the gooey cheese is beyond fabulous, and the Italian spices offer a huge punch of flavor.  My husband who doesn’t really care for spaghetti squash gobbled this up AND asked to take the leftovers to work the next day.  Yep, that’s right.  It’s good.  Oh, and it’s a cinch to throw together!  I’m not even tricking you!

Italian Spaghetti Squash Boats with Marinara & Ground Turkey

2 small/medium rip spaghetti squash
12 ounces ground turkey (93% lean)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded

First, roast your spaghetti squash.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  Place on a baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until the skin gives easily under pressure and the inside is tender, about one hour.

Towards the end of the roasting time, prepare marinara and ground turkey (if making your own marinara, then you’ll want to start this process about 30 minutes before squash is done) .  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Place ground turkey in skillet and season with Italian seasoning, garlic salt, salt, and pepper.  Stir turkey while cooking to break into small, crumbly pieces and cook until no longer pink.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  Prepare and warm marinara. (I like to use my own because it tastes fresher and is healthier, but for ease, you can also use prepared stuff too such as Prego Heart Smart.  You’ll just find that the calories are more when buying the store bought stuff.)

Remove spaghetti squash from the oven and carefully scrape squash with a fork to loosen the flesh into long strands.  Top each boat with 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 3 ounces of ground turkey, and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.  Place back into the hot oven to cook until the cheese melts.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Boat)
Calories:  282
Protein:  25.5g
Carbs:  16g
Fat:  13.4g (5.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.2g

Sweet Potato & Turkey Breakfast Hash

Here’s another use for those turkey leftovers!  It may seem kind of weird at first, but you gotta trust me that it’s SO good!  It makes more of a savory breakfast, and I loved it.  The onions get caramelized, the addition of thyme makes it so fresh and savory, and the turkey and sweet potatoes are a major hit.  Of course, it’s that runny egg that REALLY tops the dish off!  And, while we enjoyed it for breakfast . . . I can honestly say that we would enjoy it for lunch or dinner too.

I used cooked sweet potatoes, but if you don’t have sweet potatoes that are already cooked/baked, you can use raw ones.  If you do use raw ones, add them to the pan first to allow them to soften (this may take about 6-8 minutes, stirring them often).  Afterwards you’ll want to add the onions and follow the recipe as written.

As usual, it doubles and triples like a charm!  Enjoy!!

Sweet Potato & Turkey Breakfast Hash
Adapted from The Chew 

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium cooked sweet potato, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
4 oz. leftover turkey, chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add onion and thyme, season with salt as desired, and sauté until onions are soft and translucent.  About 6-8 minutes.  Add sweet potato and turkey to pan.  Cook just until sweet potato and turkey is warmed through.  Remove from heat and divide between two plates.

Heat a separate non-stick pan over medium heat.  If desired , spray with cooking spray.  Fry eggs until the whites are cooked and yolks are soft and slightly warm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes.  Flip once, continue to cook for 30 seconds, and then remove from heat.

Immediately top each portion of breakfast hash with an egg.  Season with salt and pepper to taste

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/2 the Recipe)

Calories:  270.6
Protein:  17.8g
Carbs:  20.5g
Fat:  13.2g (3.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g
Sugars:  2.8g

Turkey-Cranberry Quesadilla

I’ve got a couple of ideas for all of your turkey leftovers.  I use my turkey leftovers in very common ways (like turkey-cranberry sandwiches – YUM!), but I also like trying some non-traditional leftover recipes too.

This is one of those non-traditional uses of leftovers, but it’s SUPER easy and tasty too.  First off – who doesn’t love a quesadilla!?  I mean what’s not to love about a filling with delicious melted cheese?  When I saw the idea for this, I knew I had to try it and I was glad I did.  It took all of 2 minutes to assemble (and that’s only because I had to dice my green onion) and it was ready in less than 8 minutes.  I loved how the sweetness from the cranberry sauce blended with the taste of the Swiss cheese.  The green onions offer a nice hint of freshness.  We liked this use of leftover turkey and maybe, just maybe you will too!

Turkey Cranberry Quesadillas
Adapted from Real Mom Kitchen

fat free cooking spray
2 whole wheat tortillas (100 calories each)
2 slices light Swiss cheese (like Jarlsberg Lite), chopped
diced green onion, to taste
6 oz. leftover turkey breast (I shredded mine)
2 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce

Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat.  (See tip below for optional cooking directions which I actually prefer.) Place a tortilla in the skillet and over half of the tortilla sprinkle 1 slice of the chopped light Swiss cheese, half the leftover turkey, and green onions.  Spread 1 tablespoons cranberry sauce on the other half of the tortilla.  Fold tortilla over the filling and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.  Turn and brown the other side.  Remove from skillet and set aside for about 1 minute.  Cut quesadilla into wedges and serve.  Repeat with the second tortilla and remaining ingredients.

Optional Cooking Tip:  I often cook these on my indoor grill (aka George Foreman).  It makes it SUPER handy so that I don’t have to actually flip the tortilla over in a skillet (which sometimes can be disastrous with the filling falling out all over the place….not that I would know!).  I can also cook at least two at a time (one for me and one for the hubby) in record time.

Serves 2.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1 Quesadilla)
Calories:  265.5
Protein:  24.9g
Carbs:  23.5g
Fat:  7.9g (2.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.9g
Sugars:  5.5g