Turkey and Zucchini Burgers

I don’t think I’ve ever had a moister, tenderer turkey burger! These are very quick and easy with a food processor and more than worth the little effort they take to make. I just wonder why everything I make has to be so brown! Feel free to change up the herbs and spices as well as the vegetables to fit your family’s taste buds. I’m thinking next time perhaps I’ll use some garam masala instead of the smoked paprika. Makes 4 burgers.

First, put in the bowl of a food processor:

1/2 large onion (or 1 small onion), chunked

1/4-1/3 cup carrot pieces (I used shredded carrots)

1 medium or 2 small zucchini, chunked

Pulse until riced. Remove to a bowl and add:

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon roasted garlic granules (or 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound ground turkey

Mix to combine, I used my hand. Don’t overmix or your burgers will get tough when cooked. Form into 4, 1/2 inch thick patties, they will be soft. Cook in a 10-12″ skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat 5-8 minutes per side until cooked through. Serve with your favorite condiments on your favorite gluten-free buns. I happen to love avocado with my burgers as seen in the photo.

Carnitas Tacos

I cooked a pork roast last night and had about half of it left so what to do with it? Tacos are so easy to make and tasty to eat, it was a no-brainer. Whether you make soft tacos like I did or prefer the hard ones, this filling is delicious and so easy to make with a food processor.

First, in a 12″ skillet, over medium heat, add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat till it’s simmering and add:

1 small onion, diced

1 small, sweet pepper (any color), diced

1 teaspoon chili powder (Optional) – I’m not crazy about chili powder so I used sriracha instead

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Stir to combine and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers soften. Add:

3 cups shredded pork (pulse in a food processor for a few seconds until it’s the consistency you want – be sure to cut into chunks before pulsing!)*

1/2 to 2/3 cup salsa (or plain tomato sauce) – enough to moisten the meat

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules

Stir to combine and heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes until pork is heated through. Makes 8-10 tacos.** Top with refried beans, sliced avocado, cheese, lettuce, salsa, etc., whatever your family likes.

*Don’t have a food processor? Heat the leftover pork roast in a 325 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes and then using two forks, shred the meat.

**There are now a number of tortilla brands available that are gluten free including corn, quinoa, cassaba, cauliflower, etc. I just love the quinoa tortillas. Be sure, if using soft tortillas, to heat them under moist paper towels in the microwave for about 30 seconds before filling.

Creamy Tuscan-Style Chicken and Garlic Mushrooms

This is a great way to use up leftover chicken. I used chicken breasts but 16 ounces of any chicken works just fine. Like mushroom soup, this is a pretty easy recipe to make. It can be done with either whole small mushrooms or sliced ones (I usually buy the cleaned, pre-sliced at the store). For a stronger mushroom flavor, use mushroom stock instead of chicken stock. Makes 4 generous portions.

In a 12″ high-sided skillet, heat over medium high:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 medium onion, diced

Cook for about 3 minutes until onions are translucent before adding:

4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)

1/3 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes (in oil)

1 tablespoon of the tomato oil

Cook for about a minute so that the tomato flavor comes out. Add:

12 ounces mushrooms

Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 4 minutes, over medium heat. Stir into the pan:

2 tablespoons all-purpose, gluten-free flour

Stir to combine the flour with the fat in the pan before adding:

1 cup chicken stock (or mushroom)

1 cup non-dairy milk (any kind EXCEPT soy which will not thicken)

Stir to combine and continue stirring until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add:

1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper)

2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced into strips*

Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes to warm the chicken and melt the cheese. Serve over pasta or rice. I can testify that it’s delicious over zucchini noodles! Top with chopped parsley or scallion greens and additional cheese.

*To make this dish vegan, instead of adding the chicken stock, use mushroom or vegetable stock and substitute a 12-ounce can of white beans along with 2 cups of greens (spinach, chard, etc.) along with the stock.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

This was a hit at my house last night so I thought I’d pass on the recipe. Another very easy, quick recipe for a delicious dinner. I recommend serving it with a small side salad! Serves 4.

In a high-sided 10″ skillet, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 small onion, diced

1 small sweet pepper, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic (roughly 2 cloves)

Cook until the onions soften, about 4-5 minutes. Push the onions and peppers to the side and add:

1 pound ground turkey (94% preferably)*

Salt and pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper)

Cook, breaking up the turkey and stirring frequently until the turkey is cooked (no longer pink), about 5 minutes. In a small bowl combine:

1/2 cup sugar-free ketchup (I use Organicville made with agave nectar)

1/4 cup sugar-free barbecue sauce (again, I use Organicville made with agave nectar)

1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce (sugar-free preferable, I use Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha)

1/2 tablespoon vinegar

2 teaspoons mustard (I used stone ground)

1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (Optional)

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)**

When turkey is cooked, pour the sauce into the pan and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve on gluten-free buns, dairy-free cheese optional.

*This recipe could easily be made vegan by substituting a large can of any type of beans, such as Great Northern, kidney, etc. or some diced firm tofu.

**The recipe I used as a template called for Worcestershire Sauce which has soy in it so for flavor and spice I substituted the sriracha, chili garlic and fish sauces. If your family has no problems with Worcestershire Sauce, go ahead and use that instead.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Want a quick and easy side dish? Here’s one that even those who don’t care much for cabbage may enjoy. Use either red or green cabbage, or be lazy and buy a bag of cole slaw mix, doesn’t matter if there’s a few shredded carrots in there as well. Goes very well with any meat but for some reason cabbage especially likes pork or beef – steaks, chops, or roasts doesn’t matter. And feel free to change out the ground cloves for whatever spice your family prefers – cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, coriander, etc.

Heat a 10-12″ high-sided skillet over medium high heat and add:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat until shimmering and add:

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 large onion, sliced

Cook over medium heat until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add to the skillet:

2 cups shredded cabbage

Salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons water

Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 5 minutes. While it cooks, in a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons vinegar (whatever kind your family prefers, I used white)

1 tablespoon date syrup (agave or maple would also work)

1/4 teaspoon celery seed or caraway

Whisk to combine and set aside. When cabbage is ready, pour the vinegar mixture into the skillet, stir to combine and let heat for about 30 seconds. Serve. Makes 2-4 servings.

TIP: Like braised cabbage, adding a diced apple or pear when the cabbage is added to the skillet and topping with some bacon bits would be great in this dish.

Curried Ground Turkey with potatoes and peas

Another way to make curry! And so good but be sure to adjust the curry to meet your family’s tastes. It comes together quite quickly and has very little prep time – just dicing the onion and grating a little ginger.

In a high-sided skillet over medium high heat, heat until shimmering:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil (depending on the fat content of your ground turkey)

When the oil is hot add:

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Heat the spices just until fragrant (10-30 seconds) before adding:

1 pound ground turkey

Cook, breaking up the meat until the turkey is browned and no pink remains. Add:

1 medium onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Mix to combine, reduce heat to medium low and cook until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in:

2 cups diced potatoes (or if like me you prefer them, sweet potatoes)

1 small can mild diced chiles

1/2 cup water

Cover and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add:

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the peas are cooked. Serves 4. Serve with either chopped parsley or, as I like, with wedges of fresh lemon for people to squeeze over their curry.

Turkey and Vegetable Casserole

This is very easy to put together. It takes about a 20 minutes IF your rice is precooked. Mine took a little longer because I didn’t think to cook the rice beforehand. And since I wanted to add a little Minnesota to this recipe, instead of using straight brown rice, I used a brown and wild rice mix which takes longer to cook but adds a whole lot of flavor. Feel free to change up the vegetables used – broccoli would work just as well as zucchini. And the oregano and thyme can be substituted for an Italian herb mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9×12 baking pan or a 2-quart casserole dish. In a high-sided skillet, heat over medium high:

2 tablespoons olive oil

When shimmering add:

1 pound ground turkey (this would work just as well with ground pork, Italian sausage or hamburger, just be sure to drain off the fat after cooking)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Break up the meat as it cooks and cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add:

1 medium onion, diced

2 small zucchini, cut into approximately 3/4″ slices (I quartered mine before slicing so I had chunks)

2 large portobello mushrooms (deveined and diced)

1 medium yellow sweet pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup)

3 garlic cloves minced (about 3 teaspoons)

Stir to combine and then simmer for 4-5 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add:

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon siracha sauce or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Stir to combine and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in:

2 cups brown and wild rice mix, cooked

1/4 cup grated non-dairy Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons chopped parsley, flat-leaf or Italian

Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with:

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bake until mixture is bubbling and the cheese is starting to brown, about 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with another tablespoon or two of parsley before serving. Serves 6.

Korean Style Ground Turkey with Cabbage

Super quick and easy, especially if you buy the pre-shredded cole slaw mix at the supermarket. The only other thing that needs dicing is the small onion and that doesn’t take long. This dish is a little sweet, spicy and tangy and the ground turkey, unless you really overcook it of course!, stays moist and succulent in the sauce. I apologize for not sprinkling the finished dish with scallion as it should be but I didn’t have any in the house and wasn’t up to going to the store today. Excellent even without them! As usual, feel free to mellow or increase the spices to fit your family’s tastes.

First, in a deep skillet (3″ or so), heat over medium high heat:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

When hot reduce heat to medium and add:

1 pound ground turkey breast

Break up the turkey and sauté for about 2 minutes before adding:

1 small onion, diced

1 cup shredded cabbage*

1/4 cup shredded carrots (in the cole slaw mix if you use that or most supermarkets now sell pre-shredded carrots)

2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 2 minced garlic cloves)

Stir to combine and cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 4-6 minutes until the cabbage and onion are softened.

While the dish simmers make the sauce by combining in a small bowl:

1/2 cup soy sauce substitute** (of course if your family can have soy, use regular soy sauce but reduce to 1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons tapioca starch (or flour)

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons date sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1/4 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or 1 teaspoon siracha)

Whisk to combine. Remove cover from the turkey mixture and add in sauce, stirring constantly until it thickens which should be about 5-10 seconds. Remove from heat to a serving dish, top with toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

*If cabbage isn’t a favorite in your family, add a small can of sliced bamboo shoots and a can of sliced water chestnuts. Or some thinly sliced bok choy would also work.

**See recipe under sauces. I generally have several 1 cup jars of it in the freezer.

Spicy Curried Carrot Soup

Quick, easy, and delicious, this soup with warm your stomach. It has that comfort food vibe with great flavor. Using pre-shredded carrots is what makes it so easy. Either regular orange carrots or rainbow carrot shreds will work. Add some lemon zest on top and a lemon wedge on the plate to add some freshness and lighten the spiciness of the soup. Serves 2 but easily doubled.

Put a 4-quart pot on over medium heat and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat until shimmering before adding:

1 small onion, finely diced

Cook the onion until translucent and then add:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder (depending on how spicy you want the soup)

Stir the curry powder into the onion and heat until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add:

2 cups shredded carrot

Stir to coat the carrots in the onion and curry mixture before adding to the pot:

1 to 1 1/2 cups stock (I used chicken bone broth but a mild vegetable broth would also work and keep this soup vegan; want to cover the carrots completely but not drown them)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)

Cook over medium low heat until carrot is softened, about 20-25 minutes, covered. Put the carrot mixture into a blender and add:

1/2 to 1 cup oat milk

Start with the 1/2 cup and add more if the mixture needs to be thinned to your taste. If the carrot mixture is really hot, cover the top of the blender with a kitchen towel and don’t fill it more than 1/2 full or you’ll have an explosion of hot soup all over your counter! Start blending on the lowest speed and as it purees, increase slightly. Should only take 30-45 seconds to blend. Serve with lemon zest and a wedge of lemon on the side. Serving it on the side allows the person eating that bowl to add as little or much of the lemon as they like. [I learned this trick from a Vietnamese chef and it really does mellow out the curry.]

Pork and Tomato Stew

This is a very easy recipe to make, cutting up the vegetables and pork are the most time consuming parts of the recipe. Be smart and use pork chops rather than pork roast so you don’t have to deal with as much fat and silver skin. I also used pre-cut carrots. Makes 4 servings.

In a 6-quart or larger Dutch oven, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When shimmering, add:

3-4 cups diced pork (4-6 boneless pork chops depending on size and thickness)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Cook until the meat is browned on all sides. Lower heat to medium and add:

2 medium onions, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Cook until the onions are translucent before adding:

2 tablespoons gluten-free, all-purpose flour

Mix the flour into the pan so that it absorbs the fat before adding to the pan:

1-1 1/2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups button or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters (or 6ths if they are larger)

1 cup chicken stock (or bone broth)

Stir to combine these ingredients and mix the chicken stock into the meat mixture. In a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 teaspoons siracha (optional)

1 tablespoon date syrup

Add to the pot along with:

5 large RIPE tomatoes, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths

2 teaspoons dried basil (or, if preferred add 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil right before serving)

Stir to combine, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45-50 minutes until meat is tender and carrots are cooked. Be sure to taste before serving and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve it over any starch your family likes – it will go great with rice, mashed potatoes or pasta, or any other grain such as quinoa.