All posts in the Turkey category

Sausage and Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Published November 4, 2013 by jenmatteson

Last week was sweet potatoes, this week is squash!  Squash is a quintessential fall vegetable, and makes an appearance on our table quite frequently this time of year.

Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

I’ve mentioned Prevention RD several times in the past, and I hadn’t made one of Nicole’s recipes in a while.  I saved this stuffed acorn recipe quite some time ago, and every time I came back to it, it just didn’t feel like the right time of year to make it.  Being fall, I decided it’s about time.  I made this as a late lunch/early dinner on a Saturday before we headed to our friends’ party (the one I made the “ham pie bars” for (aka Lemon-Cranberry Pie Bars)).

Sausage-Stuffed Turkey Sausage

It was the perfect day for it, as it had just started to cool down, and Nate had been working in the yard all day.  Being that it was freezing rain, I’m pretty sure he was happy to come into a warm fall meal.  I was slightly worried about the apple because I didn’t want the stuffing to be too sweet, but I think it turned out great.  I did forget the mushrooms at the store, so I can imagine how much better this would have been than it already was.  This was easy to throw together, and while it takes a while to roast the squash, it’s well worth the wait.

Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Sausage and Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: 4 large


2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground sage
3/4 lb Italian seasoned turkey sausage (I used spicy, but sweet would work just fine)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 celery rib
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 cup panko
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil evenly over the squash halves and sprinkle with garlic powder and sage.  Place on a prepared baking sheet, cut side up, and roast for about 1 hour, until squash is fork tender.

2. Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through.  Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate.  Add onion, celery and mushrooms to pan and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add apple and cook for another 2 minutes.  remove from heat.

3. Return sausage to the pan, and add panko and parmesan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add egg and combine.

4. Divide stuffing evenly between the squash halves, and bake for another 20 minutes.

Four Bean Turkey Chili

Published October 14, 2012 by jenmatteson

It is the perfect time of year for chili, and I had the perfect opportunity to make it this past weekend.  We had just gotten back from visiting my best friend in Duluth, and our neighbors were coming over to watch the Vikings game (the 3-1 Vikings at the time!).  Everyone has their own recipe for chili, and many are probably like mine; it changes a little each time, but generally the ingredients stay the same.  Growing up (and still), my dad always made a big pot of chili that would last my family for an entire week.  This is where I first learned to make it myself.  I pretty much stick to his recipe, with a few small changes.

I like to make turkey chili, but this would be just as good with ground beef, chicken – whatever YOU like to make your chili with.  Additionally, use whatever types of beans you like.  I use black, dark kidney, white kidney, and chili beans.  For some reason, the liquid in the beans kinda grosses me out, which is why I choose to drain my beans, except for the chili beans, because that liquid is seasoned and delicious and doesn’t look like some weird clear gelatinous goo 😛

The awesome thing about chili is that it is so versatile.  Not just with what ingredients you put in it, but how you eat it.  Of course there’s the traditional way of in a bowl with some choice toppings, but you can also make chili fries, chili dogs/brats, chili burgers, baked potatoes topped with chili, nachos, chili tacos or taco salad, and so on and so forth.  The possibilities are endless, so make a huge pot of chili and don’t be afraid to try it in a new vessel!  If all else fails, chili freezes super well, so you can either put a large amount in gallon sized zip-top freezer bag, or individual servings in quart sized zip-top freezer baggies.

Four Bean Turkey Chili

Source: Pigzilla Original, adapted from Mr. Pigzilla (my dad)
Servings: A LOT, probably 12-15


olive oil
2 lbs lean ground turkey
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers, diced (I use one yellow, red, and green)
4 jalapeno peppers, diced (and seeded for less heat)
1 large onion, diced
1 can low-sodium black beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium dark kidney beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium white kidney beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium chili beans
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
1 12 oz beer (I use whatever I have on hand, this time I home-brewed Oktoberfest)
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch cilantro


1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown meat.  Add garlic for last 2 minutes of browning.  Drain and transfer meat to large stock pot or slow cooker.

2. Using the same pan, add olive oil and saute peppers and onions over medium heat until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes.  You may have to work in batches depending on how large the skillet is.  Transfer to stock pot or slow cooker with turkey.

3.  Add all beans to stock pot or slow cooker with turkey and vegetables.  Add tomatoes with all juices.  Using a wooden spoon, break up whole tomatoes into smaller pieces.  Add beer, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If using stock pot over stove top, simmer mixture for at least one hour to let flavors develop and alcohol cook out of the beer.  If using a slow cooker, cook on high for at least one hour, or low for 2-4 hours.

4. Stir in cilantro just before serving.  Garnish with desired toppings (raw white or green onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, tortilla chips, cheddar jalapeno beer bread,  Greek yogurt/sour cream, corn bread…).

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

Published October 2, 2012 by jenmatteson

I had an open can of pumpkin that I wanted to use up, but since my house was filled with desserts from the weekend, I didn’t want to make anything else sweet.  I decided to go with Nicole’s sausage and pumpkin pasta.  I know it sounds a little out there, and I thought so too, but I loved every other ingredient in this recipe, and I’m adventurous, so why not try it?

I wasn’t so confident about Nate though, so I didn’t disclose what we were having for dinner until he was actually eating it.  He saw the turkey sausages in the fridge thawing out, and asked if we were having brats for dinner.  I said, “no”.  Later, he again asked about the “brats” in the fridge.  I told him it was none of his business, though I could sense he was really getting excited for “brats”.  Finally, I had to break his little heart and tell him that the “brats” in the fridge were turkey sausages and were for dinner.  To his credit, turkey sausages do look a lot like brats.

The pasta was really great!  I was surprised, and actually expected it to be a little more pumpkiny, but the sausage really was the star of the show.  Perhaps this was because I like to buy the hot turkey sausages, but still, I thought the pumpkin would have been more prominent.  Nate and I both had a second small serving it was so tasty.  I think next time I would use just a little more sage, but beyond that, it was curiously delicious.

Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: 4

12 oz whole wheat pasta
1/2 lb italian turkey sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
4-6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp rubbed sage
salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

2. Spray a deep skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add sausage and onion and cook until sausage is almost cooked through.  Add mushrooms and garlic.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Drain juices if necessary.

3. Add chicken broth, wine, pumpkin, sage, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

4. Spoon mixture over pasta, garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.

Recipe Swap: Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Published August 13, 2012 by jenmatteson

The theme of the most recent recipe swap was “Too Hot to Cook”, so all the recipes submitted were ideally no cook recipes, so at least no stove/oven, but grilling and slow cooker were allowed.  I submitted my Chili Lime Shrimp Salad.  I received Tina’s blog, Tasty Treats by Tina, and she submitted sloppy joes.  This was originally a swap recipe she’d received in the past, but altered to her own liking the second run, so I went off of her recipe.

I was a bit hesitant as I’m very particular about sloppy joes, and I’ve only liked my mother’s recipe growing up (and still).  My only change to her recipe is to use ground turkey instead of ground beef.  No biggie.  Nate and I love them; I guess I should blog it sometime – though I’d have to get permission from Mrs. Pigzilla 😉

Anyway, I did the same thing with Tina’s recipe and substituted turkey meat for ground beef, and omitted tarragon, really just because I didn’t want to buy any just before leaving on vacation.  I also adjusted the measurements for my own taste.  After tasting it after it’d been in the slow cooker for a while, it was a little too tomatoy for my taste, so I did add more mustard to combat that.

In the end, they were pretty tasty.  Nate commented that they were a little too sweet, and I even lowered the amount of brown sugar it called for.  Next time, I’d probably omit the sugar as I find it unnessicary.

Sloppy Joes

Source: Tasty Treats by Tina
Servings: 4


i lb ground turkey
1/2 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup yellow mustard
5-8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 can tomato paste
salt and pepper


1. In a large frying pan, brown turkey meat over medium heat.  Drain and add to slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients, mix, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  *Since I only used 1 lb of turkey meat (vs. Tina’s 2 lb ground beef), I only cooked my sloppy joe’s on low for about 4 hours.

2. Serve on toasted bun.

Turkey Bacon Pinwheels

Published July 7, 2012 by jenmatteson

Pinwheels are so simple to make and a great snack to have on hand for the beach, the cabin, a picnic, or even as a fun appetizer.  Of course you’ll need to keep them cool, but who doesn’t bring a cooler with them to these types of events?

I made a batch of these and pesto chicken pinwheels to take to the beach with us instead of trying to make sandwiches for everyone, or trying to pack in a bunch of sandwich making ingredients so everyone could make their own.  Once we opened them, they were not closed until we went home.  They were a perfect little bite!

Turkey Bacon Pinwheels

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 4


3 tortilla wraps (I like Mission brand, I used the herb spinach kind)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
12 slices pepper jack cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped small
1/2 cup lettuce, thinly chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely diced
12 slices deli turkey, thinly sliced


1. Lay out three wraps.  Spread each wrap entirely with cream cheese, leaving only 1/4-inch around the edges.

2. Layer the wraps with cheese, bacon, lettuce, onions, then turkey.  Be sure to evenly distribute all ingredients over entire wrap and do so thinly, so you can still roll it tight.

3. Tightly roll wraps, being cautious not to tear, and wrap in foil.  Refrigerate for at least one hour before slicing.  This will ensure the ingredients stick together rather than falling out the sides of your pinwheels.

Basil Pesto Turkey Burgers with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Published July 1, 2012 by jenmatteson

There is something about pesto and sun-dried tomatoes that goes so well together; it’s like chocolate and peanut butter, or peanut butter and jelly.  Wait…does peanut butter go with everything?  Okay, well probably not with pesto or sun-dried tomatoes.  Anyway, I’ve made pesto turkey burgers in the past, and since I just made my very own basil pesto, I thought I’d give it whirl with my turkey burgers.  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t have fresh tomatoes to add to my burgers, but then I thought, well why don’t I give the sun-dried tomatoes a try.  Good thing I did, because it was a match made in heaven and the burgers were super delish.

I served these on sandwich thins with a little Miracle Whip and lettuce.  Raw onions would have been a great addition, but I didn’t really think of it until my first bite of the burger.  Nate’s burger (pictured below) was topped with a mozzarella-provalone mix.

Basil Pesto Turkey Burgers with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 4


1 lb ground turkey, extra lean
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp basil pesto
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper


1. Preheat grill (or skillet).  In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, olive oil, pesto, and tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Gentley mix together with hands and form into four patties.

2. Over medium-low heat, grill burgers for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Serve on buns with desired garnishments.

Greek Turkey Burgers

Published June 29, 2012 by jenmatteson

This is the first official recipe swap I’ve participated in, and I am so super excited.  Even better is the fact that I got an awesome recipe to make that is directly up Nate and my’s flavor lane.  The swap was a burger/sandwich recipe swap, and I submitted my cream cheese and jalapeno stuffed turkey burgers.  I was confident that this was the best burger I’ve made.  That is until I made Kate’s Greek turkey burgers.

Not only do Nate and I love turkey burgers, but we love Greek flavors, too!  I couldn’t have been more stoked to make this burger, plus I already had every.single.ingredient on hand.  Also, I made it the Monday following the Friday I received the recipe.  Friday was date night, Saturday my bestie had us over for grilling, and Sunday we went out for Father’s Day.  So, this was quite literally the first opportunity I had to make this burger, and I’m sure glad I did.

Of course I made my burger sans feta, but Nate’s was packed with it.  He must not have had any in his first few bites, but once he bit into the feta, he said, “wow!” (in a good way, of course).  This tzatziki recipe was much better than the one I used previously, so if you make it, go with this one.  I think it’s the shredded cucumbers, rather than just dicing them.  Love.

Greek Turkey Burgers

Source: Kate’s Recipe Box
Servings: 4


For the tzatziki Sauce:
3/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup cucumber, shredded
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
3 tsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp salt
4 buns, pitas, or sandwich thins

16 spinach leaves, washed and dried
16 thin slices of cucumber
4-8 slices of tomato

For the burgers:
1 lb ground turkey (I use extra lean)
1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 cup feta, crumbled
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper


1. In a small bowl, mix tzatziki ingredients together.  Refrigerate until burgers are ready to serve.

2.  Heat grill to medium heat.  In a large bowl, mix turkey, feta, onion, dill, garlic, salt and pepper lightly until just combined.  Separate mixture into quadrants and make into 4 patties, about 1/2-inch thick.  Cook patties over medium heat until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes on each side.

3. Serve patties on bun, pita, or sandwich thin (this is what I used).  Garnish with spinach leaves, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  Top with tzatziki sauce and serve.

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Published June 4, 2012 by jenmatteson

I had several snacks planned for my wine exchange, but I wanted one more thing that was a bit more substantial, and turkey meatballs sounded perfect.  I found this recipe from the Spring 2012 issue of Real Food, a magazine from Lund’s and Byerly’s, given to my by Nate’s mother.  I couldn’t find it on the internet to link back to, but I really didn’t change much from the original recipe.

I was hoping for a lot more flavor in these meatballs.  Unfortunately, they sort of fell flat for my taste.  I normally use extra lean ground turkey, but I though I’d use just lean ground turkey, though I feel like the meat was too heavy for this recipe.  I did bake them instead of pan frying them, and maybe not frying them in the peanut oil took away a little flavor that would have otherwise been there.  If I make these again, I would certainly add chili sauce, too, but I didn’t want to this time around since I was cooking for several other people.

Thai Turkey Meatballs

Source: Lund’s and Byerly’s
Servings:  6


4 shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp Thai green curry paste
2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup green onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper
olive oil
Asian Dipping Sauce


1. Pour boiling water over mushrooms to cover and soak for at least 30 minutes (up to 3 hours) to soften.  Remove and discard stems and finely chop mushrooms.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil on baking sheet.  In a medium bowl, combine mushrooms, turkey, ginger, curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, egg, green onions, and cilantro.  Fry up a sample and taste.  Adjust ingredients as needed.  Mix until well combined and form into 1-inch meatballs.

3. Place meatballs on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 22-25 minutes, until completely cooked through.  Serve with Asian Dipping Sauce.

Hummus Turkey Burgers

Published May 28, 2012 by jenmatteson

The first time I had this burger, my bestie and I were having a girls night; she was in charge of getting the food, I was bringing the wine.  She found this recipe on Food Network for us to throw together, and it was a big win.  She claims to not be able to cook, but she can.  She even improvised on the cucumber salad and added some red onion.  Great addition my friend!  The hummus really gives the turkey a lot of flavor, and the burgers were moist with a creamy texture.

I made these for Nate and myself with a few small changes to the herbs and toppings.  I actually ran out of hummus, so instead of spreading that on the bun (I used Flat-Outs), I used Greek yogurt.  It really added a touch of tanginess to the rich flavor of the burger. The cucumber salad was a bonus that added a nice crunch to the overall texture.  If you’re trying to change up your boring burgers, give this burger a try.  It’s simple, healthy, and popping with flavor!

Hummus Turkey Burgers

Source: Adapted from Food Network
Servings: 4


2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 red onion, diced fine
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (optional – I didn’t use)
1 lb lean ground turkey (I used extra lean)
1 cup hummus (I used homemade roasted red pepper hummus)
1/2 cup cilandro, roughly chopped
4 Flat-Outs, pita pockets, or buns
4 tbsp non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tomato, sliced


!. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar and olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.  In a medium bowl, mix cucumber, onion, and feta.  Dress with vinaigrette, and refrigerate.

2. In a medium bowl, mix ground turkey, hummus, and cilantro lightly with your fingertips, careful not to overwork.  If you are using extra lean ground turkey, add 1 tbsp olive oil to keep the burgers nice and moist.  Divide mixture into 4 equal sections and work into patties.  Season both sides of the patties with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium heat until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes on each side.

3. Spread Flat-Out, pita, or buns with yogurt on each side.  Add tomatoes and burger, and top with cucumber salad.

Hoagies and Grinders, Hoagies and Grinders

Published April 28, 2012 by jenmatteson

These meatball hoagies are freaking amazing!  Even if you think you don’t like turkey meatballs, give this recipe a try.  The turkey sausage really gives the meat a wonderful flavor.  I use a mixture of turkey sausage (the store had spicy italian turkey sausage, so I used that, otherwise, I would have seasoned the meat myself with garlic, rosemary, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper) and extra lean ground turkey.  The fantastic thing about this meal is that is yields enough leftovers for an entire second meal (for two) and probably a little more.  I like to change it up and use the leftovers with spaghetti squash (Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs) because the recipe makes a lot of meatballs.  This is a really easy two meals, ideal for a weekday night, but would also be wonderful for entertaining.

It was hard to photograph as the cheese covers all the pretty, but believe me, they are tasty!


Turkey Meatball Hoagies

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 6


1/2 lb extra lean ground turkey
1/2 lb spicy italian seasoned turkey sausage (if your store doesn’t have this, add your own seasonings), removed from casing
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1/4 cup egg substitute or 1 egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
olive oil
32 oz. marinara sauce
2 hoagies
12 spinach leaves, washed and dried
4 slices provolone


1. In a large bowl, add ground turkey, sausage, onion, cilantro, egg substitute, and bread crumbs.  Mix lightly with hands until the ingredients are just combined.  Form mixture into meatballs about 1 1/2-inches in diameter and place on large plate.

2. In a deep skillet, heat olive oil over a medium high heat.  Add meatballs and brown, turning frequently, about 5 minutes.  Add marinara sauce, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover.  Let meatballs simmer in the marinara sauce until meatballs are cooked through, about 35-40 minutes.

3. Preheat broiler.  Slice hoagies and spray with olive oil.  Put hoagies under broiler until they begin to brown, 2-3 minutes.  Pile spinach on hoagies, top with meatballs and provolone, and place under broiler until cheese is melted.  Top with additional marinara if desired.

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