Classic Veggie-Loaded Turkey Meat Sauce

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A big, beautiful mess of noodles.

The start of summer has flown by, and I cannot believe how much has happened since I last shared a recipe!  Alex and I moved to Queen Anne in the beginning of May, and it took me a little while to adjust to our new, smaller kitchen.  Mise en place, the practice of preparing ingredients ahead of time in separate bowls, comes in handy in all cooking, but especially in a tiny prep area.  I was inspired to make this recipe today, so that I could have gluten-free noodles ready when my Mom arrives for her Seattle visit!  I set aside two zucchinis to make a fresh bowl of “zoodles” for her dinner.

We have been cooking and enjoying local Seattle foods, but our new place does not have a grill.  I am really looking forward to late-summer grilling with my family when we gather at the beach!  In honor of mid-summer, here is one of my favorite recipes to showcase what’s in season.

Recipe

Classic Veggie-Loaded Turkey Meat Sauce – Serves 6

Turkey meat sauce is one of my go-to make ahead meals, and the addition of seasonal vegetables makes this dinner all the more enticing.  I use fresh vegetables when I can, but this recipe could also work well with frozen mixed vegetables.  Try different vegetables until you find your favorite!  When asparagus is not in season, I tend to use broccoli in this recipe.  Marinara sauce clings to broccoli’s texture, for a pleasing mouth-feel.  This hearty sauce is the perfect addition to linguine or other noodles, and adding zucchini noodles makes for an especially bright dish.

I love the flavor of purple garlic, so give that a try if you can find it.  Purple garlic is naturally sweet, and can be added later on in the cooking process.  When using white garlic, add garlic, onions and peppers at the same time to soften the bite of the garlic flavor.

You will need:

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  1. 1-2 T olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  4. 1 pound ground turkey
  5. about 20 asparagus spears, snapped into 2-3 inch pieces
  6. mushrooms (we used sliced crimini)
  7. 24 ounces tomato marinara sauce
  8. 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  9. fresh basil
  10. dried oregano
  11. black pepper

Optional: hot red pepper flakes.  Serve topped with fresh parmesan.

Steps:

  1. Heat two large saucepans over medium heat, and add olive oil or cooking spray (I like La Tourangelle Expeller-Pressed Grapeseed Oil for cooking).  When your oil has warmed, add onion and peppers to one pan and turkey meat to the other.  Break up turkey with a spoon as it cooks, to reach desired bite-size.
  2. Stir onion and peppers and allow to soften for 3-4 minutes.  Keep breaking up turkey and make sure it browns evenly.
  3. Add asparagus and allow to cook for a few minutes more.  Then, stir in a handful of mushrooms.
  4. As soon as your turkey has browned, remove that pan from the heat.
  5. Add tomato sauce to your veggie pan and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Add cooked turkey to your sauce, and stir to coat.
  6. Prepare pasta water or another pan for pasta or zucchini noodles.  For this meal, we used a combination of the two.
  7. At the final stage of sauce preparation, turn the heat to low and add your garlic, fresh basil and spices.  Adding spices at the end showcases their bright flavors.
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Over-Easy Egg Nest: Zucchini Noodle Breakfast with Sweet Potato Hash and Over-Easy Egg

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Digging in to a hot bowl of zucchini noodles, sweet potato hash, over-easy egg and parmesan.

My friend Elise and I used her new spiralizer to make this veggie-based breakfast treat: zucchini noodles, sweet potato hash and an over-easy egg.  I got my first spiralizer this year from my good friend and nutrition coach Georgie Fear of One-By-One Nutrition, a habit-based nutrition course.  Georgie encouraged me to add vegetables to every meal, and the spiralizer helped me take on that challenge!

I usually make eggs with green onion and plenty of kale for breakfast, but when I do not have eggs in the morning, I often crave them by dinner-time.  You can try this Easter-inspired egg nest recipe for any time of the day.  This recipe idea came to me while I was enjoying dinner with my husband, Alex, on Easter Sunday.  The following Monday, Elise and I got together for a quick dinner.  We added sweet potato to give this meal more staying power.  Sweet potato has about three times as many carbohydrates per serving as zucchini, and almost twice as many carbs as a 2 oz serving of pasta.  Pesto sauce is very rich and satisfying, and complements the nutty, sweet flavor of the potato.  We used store-bought pesto to save time after rowing practice, but if you have the time, try making your own pesto using the KitchenAid Classic Pesto recipe.

Recipe

Over-Easy Egg Nest – serves 2

If you do not have a spiralizer, you can make noodles by peeling the skin off of the zucchini, and then continuing to peel until you reach the seed center. With the peeler, you will get pappardelle-like noodles.  We also successfully spiralized a sweet potato, but for this dish I like the contrasting textures of spirals and shredded pieces.

You will need:

  1. 6 medium zucchini IMG_0807
  2. 1 sweet potato
  3. 1 T olive oil
  4. salt and pepper to taste
  5. 1 T pesto (homemade or jarred), plus more to taste
  6. 3 eggs
  7. parmesan cheese
  8. 1 1/2 t hot red pepper flakes

Steps:

  1. Wash zucchini and chop off ends. Halve the zucchinis to make it easier to spiralize them.  Spiralize zucchinis according to your device instructions.
  2. Peel sweet potato and chop in half.  Shred both halves using a cheese grater, set aside.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium and add half of the olive oil.  Add your pile of zucchini noodles, with salt and pepper to taste.  Add ½ cup water and cover to steam the zucchini, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium heat and add remaining oil.  Toss in your shredded sweet potato with salt and pepper to taste.  Stir constantly to keep potato from sticking, until shredded potato pieces begin to soften and brown.
  5. Check on your zucchini noodles after about 5 minutes, they should be turning translucent and softening.
  6. Remove sweet potato hash from heat and set aside.
  7. Prepare your egg in the sweet potato pan.  We used just one egg per serving and cooked it for just 2-3 minutes per side so that the yolk would still run.
  8. Add 1 T pesto to zucchini noodles and stir.
  9. Remove zucchini noodles from heat and transfer about ¼ of the noodles to a serving dish.  Add another small dollop of pesto and then top with one third of your shredded sweet potatoes.  Add your egg to the top of the pile, and sprinkle with shredded parmesan and about 1/3 of your hot red pepper flakes per serving.