Skinny Nachos

Other than cheeseburgers, I’m pretty obsessed with nachos. I mean, how can you beat a plate of really good nachos? The chips, the melted cheese, the chicken (or other meat), sour cream and guacamole. Beans? Yes please. It’s got it all.

My absolute favorite nachos are from Yardhouse. I could eat them at least once a week. I tell everyone about these nachos. Unfortunately, they clock in at a whopping 2,460 calories.  

Yes, I know you are supposed to share them, but even when it’s just my husband and I, that’s still 1230 calories each. Also, I’m not a huge fan of sharing food. I like my food to be my food. You can have some when I’m done. Plus, it messes up the check at the end of the night.


Anyway, I had to come up with something to get my nacho fix. The other day I was looking in my fridge planning lunch. The kids had their turkey and cheese sandwiches and I was *thisclose* to making that for the hubby and myself as well. Then I saw we had leftover turkey taco meat and the lightbulb went off.
SKINNY(ISH) NACHOS!!! They were delish. There’s not a real recipe here because that’s the beauty of nachos: Freedom. Make as much as you want, put whatever toppings you want. Just keep in mind that the ingredients I use are why I can call them skinny. Make all the substitutions you want, but be wary of whether or not you start to lose the “skinny” in the title.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lay out a layer of Blue Corn Tortilla Chips (I used the Trader Joe’s brand that includes quinoa, chia seeds, and sprouted amaranth). 


Top that with a layer of taco meat. I used leftover turkey taco meat, you can really use any taco/tex-mex flavored meat you like here. Top that with a layer of cheese (I used low fat three cheese blend from Trader Joe’s). 


If you wanted to add beans, you can do that at this point as well.

Bake the chips/cheese/meat mixture at 375 for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the meat is warmed through.

Top with whatever you want to top it with. I cut up some cherry tomatoes and added a heaping scoop of guacamole. I also used plain nonfat greek yogurt in place of sour cream.

Instant Pot Turkey Meatloaf 

When it’s 90 degrees outside, one of the last things you want to do is turn on your oven to make dinner. That’s when I will either fire up the grill outside or pull out my Instant Pot. 

I’m sure by now most of you have heard about this wonderful kitchen gadget, so I won’t go on and on, except to again how much I love it. 

Recently I wanted meatloaf, but turning my oven on for over an hour did not sound appealing. I did a little searching and decided to try it out in my Instant Pot.

It turned out great! It was super moist, which is hard to achieve with turkey. My husband said it was probably the best meatloaf he’s ever had. And it cooked in half the usual time, which made me a happy woman! 

Turkey Meatloaf 

1 bell pepper, chopped (or 3-4 mini peppers) 1/2 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

Olive oil 

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey 

1/2 tsp garlic powder 

1/2 tsp onion powder 

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs 

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

BBQ sauce if your choice 

In a skillet, sauté the onions, peppers, and garlic in some olive oil until soft. 

Add veggie mix to the ground turkey, garlic powder, onion powder, Parmesan, panko, and egg. Mix until well combined. 

If using an Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water and insert the grate. Form the mixture into a loaf on a piece of foil. Fold the edges up forming a bowl-like shape around the loaf. 


Place on the insert. Set timer to 20 minutes. Let natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release.


Move the meatloaf to an oven proof dish with the foil and pour BBQ sauce over the top. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes. 



Healthy, Multipurpose Turkey Meat Sauce

OK, so this is my adaptation of a recipe I found a while ago (I can’t remember where). I do remember, though, that the original recipe called this little concoction sloppy joes. I could easily see how this would work perfectly for sloppy joes. The first time I made it, I actually served it over a baked potato and that was pretty delicious. The leftovers have been eaten over pasta and even on their own as-is. That’s why I consider this a “Multipurpose” sauce.

No matter how you decide to eat this, you can know that it will be really yummy and healthy, which is the most you can ask for in a meal.

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 small onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 carrot, chopped small

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

½ cup ketchup (preferably organic. Easily found at trader joe’s)

1 8oz can tomato sauce (no added sugar or sodium, preferably)

Water

salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onions, bell pepper, and carrot in olive oil until softened. Add the garlic and continue cooking until all the veggies are soft and fragrant.

Add the ground turkey to the skillet with a heavy pinch of salt and some pepper. Cook until no longer pink.  

I forgot to take a picture so pretend there isn’t tomato sauce in the skillet already. 🙂


 

Mix in the garlic and onion powders, ketchup, and tomato sauce. Fill up the tomato sauce can with some water and add that.

Bring the mixture to a boil for a minute or so, then cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Serve in whatever way makes your taste buds dance with joy!

Veggie-Full Turkey Meatloaf Cups

I always know when my husband gets a certain look on his face after taking a bit of something new I made for him. I know in that first bite that I found a winner of a recipe. That’s what happened with these meatloaf cups.

I know what you’re thinking. Meatloaf? What’s so great about meatloaf? And with turkey? Oh, just wait until you try these. My husband immediately requested they get entered into the regular dinner rotation.

Meatloaf can easily become dried out, especially when it’s made of turkey, but these little cups were so tender and so moist. Totally the opposite of dried out meatloaf. They were full of flavor and healthy veggies, and they were super easy. It’s perfect for a weeknight because when you make them in the little cups, you cut down on the cooking time.

Do you need even more reasons to try these? You can make them ahead of time and they are freezer friendly. Boom. Done. Make them.

Now, for the recipe. This is an adaptation of a Bobby Flay recipe I came across randomly on Food Network.

Veggie-Full Turkey Meatloaf Cups

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 zucchini, diced small

4 or 5 mini sweet peppers, diced small

½ onion, diced small

3 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

1 ½ pounds lean ground turkey

1 egg

2 teaspoons ground thyme

1 cup panko bread crumbs

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

4 oz can of mild green chiles

¾ cup ketchup

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Then saute the zucchini, peppers, garlic, and onion until soft. Add a pinch or so of salt and the red pepper flakes while sauteeing. Remove from the heat and set aside to start to cool slightly.

 

In a bowl, add your turkey, egg, thyme, panko, cheese, chiles, ½ cup of the ketchup, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and the sautéed veggies. Add another heavy pinch of salt and some pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are combined evenly.

 

Divide the meat mixture evenly into the cups of a muffin pan. I didn’t spray the cups first and each one came out perfectly fine. You can also make this as a big loaf, but you will need to increase your cooking time to about an hour and fifteen minutes or so.

Once the meat is divided up, brush on a coat of the balsamic glaze, which is just the remaining ¼ cup of ketchup and ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar whisked together.

Bake at 450 for 20-25 minutes. I checked one at 20 minutes to make sure it was done and it was perfect.

 

Let them sit for a few minutes; it will make it easier to take them out of the cups.

 

These reheat really well, so I could easily see making a big batch of these for premade lunches and dinners. You could even make a bunch and freeze them and just pull out however many you need at a time. They are proportioned, which is really nice.

The Perfectly Roasted Turkey

Let’s talk turkey!

I meant to post this back on Thanksgiving, but I got a little busy. It’s ok, you can save it for next year. Or even if you want to do a turkey for Christmas.

Roasting a turkey seems really intimidating because turkey meat tends to dry out. It really isn’t that hard though and ever since I’ve done it this way, I’ve had a perfectly roasted turkey every year.

Start with a dry brine. You can buy one, like this great one from Williams-Sonoma, or you can make your own, which is what I did this year:

1-1/2 cups of kosher salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

About 4 tablespoons poultry seasoning (it was ½ of the small McCormick container of the poultry seasoning)

Mix together. Clean out your turkey (remove the neck and giblets bag) and dry the outside. Cover the whole bird with your brine. It’s OK to put it on really thick.


Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, make your herb compound butter:

Take 1 stick of room temperature butter (you’ll want it really soft), and mix in:

2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

Heavy pinch of salt

 

Put the butter in plastic wrap and store in the fridge until ready to use. The day you need it, take it out of the fridge and bring it back to room temperature. This butter could really be used on just about anything.

 

When you are ready to roast your turkey, unwrap it and rinse off all the brine. Dry it off and rub the whole thing with your compound butter. Make sure you get under the skin. This is pretty easy to do.

 

Put the bird in the roasting bag with some flour (see instructions on the roasting bags). I’ve also tried it where I put the bird in the bag and then put the butter on it. Either way works. I found them both to be about the same level of difficulty.

Put half an onion and all the herbs from one of those plastic packages at the grocery store of the Poultry blend in the cavity. Close the bag and cut a few slits in the top of the bag.

 

Roast at 350 degrees for about 2-3 hours or so depending on the size of your turkey. The roasting bag box will give you the correct instructions.

 

These roasting bags will help you immensely! You don’t have to worry about basting or anything. You just put the bird in the oven and set your timer.

Let the turkey sit for about 30 minutes before you start to carve it.

 

Now pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your Thanksgiving or Christmas or holiday or really any day. Where is the rule that you can’t just roast a turkey whenever you feel like it? 😊

Shepherd’s Pie

I was going to start out by saying that even though it is really, REALLY tasty, Shepherd’s Pie is not a “pretty” dish. Whenever I make Shepherd’s Pie, it always turns into a big ol’ mess when I serve it up. It does not photograph well. It tastes great. It is complete meal all in itself (protein, veggie, carb). It is primo comfort food. But it isn’t winning any beauty contests here.

I was going to start off that way, until I did a Google Image search for Shepherd’s Pie and found some quite lovely photographs of this dish. I mean, in reality, those are probably styled and photographed by people who know what they are doing. I have a nice camera that I use occasionally, but for this blog, I tend to use my phone because it is easier. I guess that means I don’t always get the best pictures of some things. I think I do pretty well, though, on most posts. Right?

 

Anyway, back to the food… As I you saw in my last post, I made mashed potatoes in the slow cooker. I really wanted to try that to see how it would work before Thanksgiving, but then I was going to be stuck with a bunch of potatoes. That’s when I decided to make Shepherd’s Pie. It is always a favorite in our house, so I knew it would be a good use of the potatoes.

A little background: Shepherd’s Pie (sometimes known as Cottage Pie, when not made with lamb) is an Irish dish. It dates back to the 18th century and was a way for the poor to use up potatoes and leftover meat (usually beef or lamb) and stretch their food supply.

I usually make mine with ground beef, but in an effort to be healthier, I made this one with ground turkey. My husband said it was still really good, but it did taste a little different with the turkey. I used all the same ingredients otherwise and I didn’t really notice a difference. Bottom line: you can use whatever ground meat you want (or roasted. This would be good with Thanksgiving leftovers).

Shepherd’s Pie

1 pound ground turkey

½ onion, diced

1-2 cloves minced garlic

3 medium carrots, peeled and diced

About a cup of frozen peas (eyeball it)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1-2 cups beef broth *I’ll explain this in the directions. Also, chicken broth is acceptable, but it will taste MUCH different)

2 pounds of potatoes, mashed

In a skillet, add a little bit of olive oil and brown your turkey. Remove the meat from the skillet.

 

Add a little more oil to the same skillet (if you think you need it) and saute your onions, garlic, and carrots until the onions are translucent and the carrots are soft. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add back in the turkey and the peas and cook until the peas thaw out mostly. 


Sprinkle the flour over all of it and stir to coat. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Then slowly add the beef broth until until the sauce forms. You don’t want it too soupy but you don’t want it too thick either. Find a happy medium so it’s like a gravy almost. That’s why I suggest slowly adding the broth until it is at a consistency you like.

Pour everything into a 9×13 baking dish in an even layer. Then top with your mashed potatoes. I made mine with a little butter, a little milk, and some parmesan cheese, but you can do whatever you normally do.

 

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

 

I know my pictures may not look as pretty as some of the others, but I can promise you this tastes really good!

Sweet Potato Sliders 

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile (thank you!!!) you know by now that I love easy recipes that I can make on a weeknight. And if my whole family loves it? Even better!

Well, these sweet potato sliders definitely fit the bill! They were so yummy! And they are actually really healthy too.

My hubby absolutely devoured his. He said he could eat these at least once a week “for the rest of my life.” Now that is a compliment! For the kiddos, I figured it would be a bit messy to have them eat the actual sliders, so I just cut up the turkey patties and mashed the sweet potatoes. They loved it too, which I will count as a life win, because these two are so picky sometimes I want to tear my hair out of my head.

But on to the sliders…

Sweet Potato Sliders

1-2 medium sized sweet potatoes (you want nice fat ones to make good sized sliders)
1 pound lean ground turkey
3 green onions, sliced small, white and light green parts only
1 tablespoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt cream cheese
Any toppings you want. I used lowfat provolone and guacamole and they were simply heavenly.

Slice your sweet potatoes into about 1/4-1/2 inch rounds. Use the bigger middle part and save the smaller slices for something else. I used two medium sized potatoes and got 16 rounds out of them.

Put the rounds on a baking sheet and brush with a little bit of olive oil on each side and sprinkle with a little salt. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway.

Meanwhile, make your patties:

Mix together the turkey, garlic salt, cream cheese, and green onions.

I found this Greek yogurt cream cheese at Sprouts and I am obsessed!! It tastes just like cream cheese, but it is much healthier for you. Way less fat, way less calories, plus added protein.  The cream cheese helps the turkey stay moist (which is difficult for turkey patties). If you can’t find this Greek cream cheese, you can use regular lowfat cream cheese.

Back to the patties…

I find ground turkey to be a bit sticky, so I just did my best and made little patties. Just base the size of the patties on the size of the sweet potato rounds you made.

After everything is done, just assemble them like you would any other burger or slider. Like I said, I used lowfat provolone and guacamole and it was ridiculously good. You could top it with whatever you like!