I have been wanting to use that post title for a long time! I love a good cheesy pun.

After my heart attack we almost completely eliminated red meat from our family menu, and began substituting ground turkey for ground beef in favorites like spaghetti and meatballs or tacos  . . . you know, foods kids like.

If you’ve ever had a pale, squeaky-textured turkey meatball or red spaghetti sauce full of white meat on your plate, you are probably pretty wary of this suggestion. I know, I’ve been there. 99% fat free turkey is just not that good in most applications.

The key is to buy ground turkey, not ground turkey breast. Ground turkey will have have some dark meat in it and is usually 94% fat free. It’s those five little points that make all the difference.

My favorite brand is Plainville Farms Ground Turkey. It’s antibiotic-, GMO-, and hormone-free. Humanely raised and vegetarian fed. Minimally processed. Super tasty and super flexible.

Here is a one-dish ground turkey recipe that is fast, easy, and full of nutrition. It is a family favorite in our house.

Turkey Broccoli Orecchiette

Adapted from Real Simple

3/4 lb. orecchiette pasta or other small shape
2-3 cups broccoli florets (or more, I just chop the whole bunch)
3/4 cups thinly sliced leeks, white part only (I usually just use 1 large leek and I don’t measure)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup or more of chicken stock
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

Start pasta water. Prep broccoli.

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil on medium heat in a very large saute pan and cook leeks until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add ground turkey, thyme, and red pepper and brown. Season with salt.

Meanwhile, cook pasta and add the broccoli in the last 3-4 minutes to blanch it. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain and add pasta and broccoli to turkey, along with the chicken stock and remaining 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Taste and correct seasonings; add pasta water if it is too sticky. (It usually isn’t.) Serve with Parmesan cheese.

This makes four very large servings, and that’s how I figured the calories and fat so adjust depending on how much you eat. A quarter of the pan will be 582 calories with 4 grams of saturated fat. We typically get 6 servings.

This is one of Owen’s all-time favorite dinners and he and I argue over who gets the leftovers for lunch. I think the key to the flavor is the finishing oil at the end, fresh garlic, and the thyme. Use good olive oil and don’t be afraid of some sea salt and cracked black pepper at the end.

We have made this with brown rice pasta and whole wheat pasta and it is very good that way too.

 

 

 

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