Greek Wedding Soup

Greek Wedding Soup Low Fat Recipe

Greek Wedding Soup
Serves 3-4
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well

This recipe may look complicated at first glance but it’s really easy to put together, especially if you have a food processor. The only labor-intensive part is rolling all the meatballs, so while you’re at it, why not double the recipe and freeze half for a future meal? The orzo may expand a bit when frozen, but the defrosted soup is still delicious. This is a fun meal for when you’ve got kids at the dinner table – chicken soup with meatballs and pasta is an easy winner, and all that healthy spinach just gets gobbled up!  ~ Susan

Ingredients:

for the meatballs
1 lb ground turkey breast (or a combination of light & dark)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 egg
3/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs (we make ours from toasted bread)
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

for the soup
6 cups chicken broth (we use homemade, otherwise buy a simple organic broth)
1 cup orzo (use whole grain orzo if you can find it)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
8 cups packed baby spinach leaves
sea salt to taste

optional – yellow bell pepper slices & tomato slices for garnish

Make the meatballs:

Preheat oven to 350F. Put turkey and parsley into a mixing bowl.

Make bread crumbs by putting toasted crumbled bread in a food processor fitted with the double blade and pulsing until finely ground. Add onion & garlic cloves and pulse until everything is well combined. Add breadcrumb mixture to the mixing bowl.

Put egg and feta into the food processor and mix until feta is broken into very small bits and egg is well blended. Add egg mixture to mixing bowl. Add sea salt & black pepper. Use your hands to combine all ingredients. Lightly wet your hands to roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake meatballs for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile make the soup:

Heat chicken broth to boiling, add orzo, reduce heat to medium, and cook 7-8 minutes.

Add the baked meatballs, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and granulated garlic.

Taste soup and adjust seasonings to your liking (you might like it more lemony, or a little more salty).

Roughly chop spinach leaves and add to the pot.

Let spinach cook in for one minute and serve immediately, garnished with tomato & pepper slices.

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Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s

Aparna’s Turkey Tikki’s
Serves 2 to 3
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers| Freezes Well

The three of us recently spent a week at a lovely beach house in Malibu with our friends Raj and Aparna and their two kids. The house had a huge backyard that overlooked the sea and was so beautiful that we ended up cooking most of our meals on the outdoor grill and canceled many of our dinner reservations. We all had recipes we tried- more of those coming later- but the grande finale to our cookfest was these tikki’s. Tikki’s are basically mini-patties, but you can actually shape these any way you like. They are an old family recipe of Aparna’s and were so good that I made a double batch of them within two days of returning from our trip.

Her recipe uses ground lamb, but I substituted ground turkey breast to make them more Tablespoon friendly. Granted, the grinding of the spices takes a few extra minutes, but once you finish this step, the rest is very fast. And, the roasting gives these a completely different flavor profile than the Turkey Kebabs I posted several weeks ago. The only thing missing when I made them at home was Raj and Aparna’s good company that we so enjoyed the first time around.     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast or, for a moister kebab, substitute in 1/3 pound of dark turkey meat for the breast meat
1 teaspoon of red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of garam masala
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
1 tablespoon crushed ginger
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 to 4 green chillies chopped- small Thai or Indian green chillies (use more or less depending on your spice preference)
A handful of chopped cilantro

Instructions

You can use an oven or nonstick grill pan. If using oven, preheat it to 350 degrees.

Roast and grind poppy seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds.

Bring the meat to room temperature and marinate with the spices, coriander and onions for at least 2 hours.

Divide the mixture into 12 to 14 small portions and form into patties, almost like a mini-burger size.

In oven, roast for 10-15 minutes or until cooked, making sure to turn over the patties halfway through the cooking. If using grill pan, warm it up over medium heat and lightly mist with cooking spray. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Be sure to turn over the patties halfway.

Serving Suggestions:

Tuck into a whole wheat pita and top with onion slivers, coriander or tamarind chutney, mango chutney or ketchup. For side dishes, any steamed or lightly sauteed vegetable will do, but if you want to keep with an Indian theme, try My Mother’s Gobi or the Indian Style Mushrooms and Green Beans. Or, serve these patties as an appetizer with toothpicks tucked in.

Turkey Kebabs

Turkey Kebabs
Serves 3 to 4
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Freezes Well| Makes Great Leftovers

Kebabs are one of my favorite foods because they’re so versatile- you can fold them inside a pita for a great lunch or serve them as an appetizer before dinner or make it your protein for your evening meal. And, a well made kebab is just so tasty. They’re a mainstay at Indian restaurants and across the Middle East and countries like Turkey and Egypt. Unfortunately, many restaurants, especially Indian ones, fold cream cheese into the kebab mixture to make them more moist or brush them with loads of butter or ghee while they cook. My recipe uses NO oil, NO breadcrumbs and NO other fatty additions. Cilantro, ginger, onion and cumin combine well here to create a kebab that shines with flavor and softness. You will be amazed how good and easy they are. I always make a double or triple batch of these and freeze the extras so they’re easily on hand. If you love kebabs like me, I suggest you do the same!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast (I love the hormone-free kind from Plainville Farms)
1 large bunch of cilantro, washed and finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper or green chili, finely chopped (leave the seeds in if you like more heat)
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1 medium onion, finely chopped
salt, to taste
slivered red onions and lime juice for garnish
coriander and tamarind chutney for dipping (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients together well in a large bowl except for the garnish and chutneys.

Using slightly wet hands to prevent sticking, form 12 to 14 kebabs that are around three inches long, and place on a foil lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.

Squeeze with fresh lime juice and top with red onion before serving. You can also dip into chutneys.

Serving Suggestions:

Tuck into a whole wheat pita or roll up in a whole wheat tortilla for a great sandwich (spread some chutney’s inside for extra flavor) or serve alongside My Mother’s Gobi or Bindi ki Sabzi.

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Ground Turkey Breast Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Ground Turkey Breast Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Serves 3 to 4
Can be Doubled| Can be Halved| Makes Great Leftovers

I’m not exactly sure why had a craving for stuffed poblano peppers, but for a few weeks, I had been pining for a “Tablespoon” version of this classic Mexican dish. You’ll find it on Mexican restaurant menus as chiles rellenos- the peppers here are stuffed with cheese or fatty beef and sometimes deep fried before being topped with copious amounts of cheese. I love the very slight hint of spice from the peppers and also can’t get enough of Mexican spices like cumin and cilantro- no surprise since these are also staples in Indian food- but I’m not a fan of the calories and fat in the traditional version. Last week, I played around and came up with this recipe. Mahir, ever the skeptic, declared these as my best creation ever- I have to admit that’s pretty high praise from someone so particular! The end result looks impressive, but it’s really easy to put together. You’ll wow anyone who you serve this to even if it’s just for yourself!     ~Shivani

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey breast (I love the hormone-free kind from Plainville Farms)
6 to 8 poblano peppers, halved, cored and seeded
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of salt-free fajita seasoning (try the Spice Hunter brand) OR 1 teaspoon each of cumin power, coriander powder and garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (optional)
1 large handful of cilantro, finely chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons of pepper jack cheese

Instructions:

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

While oven is heating, warm a large non-stick skillet over low to medium heat and coat with cooking spray.

Add garlic and onions, and cook until soft stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add turkey and spices, and cook until meat is done stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add tomatoes, and cook one more minute.

Mix in cilantro.

Fill the peppers with the turkey mixture. Place them on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake about 30 minutes or until peppers are soft.

Uncover, top evenly with cheese, and bake until cheese is melted- this will probably take 2 to 4 minutes.

Let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minuted before serving- this helps the peppers firm up.

Serving Suggestions

A side of brown rice tossed with cilantro and lime juice is good starch option. Get your vegetables in with a romaine lettuce salad that uses cucumbers, radish and jicama and a dressing of a olive oil, lemon juice and a little cumin.

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Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers Low Fat Recipe

Turkey Burgers
Serves 3
Makes great leftovers | Freezes well | Can be doubled | Can be halved

Turkey burgers are great for a quick meal – in less than ten minutes you’ve got them on the table! We watch the prices at the grocery store, and when our favorite ground turkey (humanely raised, cage free, etc.) goes on sale we grab a few 1-pound packages to put in the freezer. A fun thing about turkey burgers is that everyone can dress them up to their own liking. You can add a splash of hot sauce, barbeque sauce, A1 sauce, or whatever condiments make your taste buds happy. I like mine with lots of mustard!       ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey (or chicken) – breast or dark meat, either one
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon worstershire sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt -more or less to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
lettuce leaves
sliced tomatoes
sliced red onion
pickles
whole grain burger buns or bread (or your favorite gluten-free variety)
condiments as you like

Instructions:

Mix the ground turkey with the granulated garlic, worstershire sauce, salt and pepper, using your hands to mix it all together well.

Form the mixture into three patties, and make them quite flat (they will “puff up” as you cook them).

Heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan or a non-stick skillet on medium heat and add a small drizzle of olive oil. Use a non-scratching spatula to spread the oil evenly over the bottom of the skillet.

Cook burgers for about 3-4 minutes, or until the bottoms are nicely browned. Flip burgers and cook a couple more minutes. I turn off the heat and cover them for a couple of minutes to make sure they’re cooked all the way through without worrying about burning them.

Serving Suggestions:

Let each person dress the burger to their own liking and serve with oven roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes,  butternut squash (or a combination) and/or a big salad.
A leftover turkey burger with all the trimmings makes for a very healthy lunch when served with baby carrots as a crunchy side dish.

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Vietnamese Turkey Tenderloin Stir Fry

Vietnamese Turkey Tenderloin Stir Fry
Makes 4 servings
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers| Freezes well
Vegetarian substitutes

Here’s a recipe from a recent cooking class, and check this out, it’s a no-oil stir fry! You can also use tofu, chicken, shrimp, pork or beef in place of the turkey… It’s delicious over brown rice or rice stick noodles, but for class we actually did the recipe with pork and used it as a filling for Bahn Mi, a baguette sandwich which also calls for quick pickled carrots and radish, with cucumbers, cilantro sprigs and a few slices of fresh hot chiles if you dare. There’s a craze in New York City, where folks will make long subway treks to Baxter Street near Chinatown for nothing more than a big Bahn Mi sandwich for lunch. There must be something to this craze, our cooking class participants raved about our homemade version!

Turkey tenderloin is naturally lean and, of course, a good source of high quality protein. Look for humanely raised meats, locally produced when possible, or at the very least, meats which have been given no added hormones and antibiotics. It’s the truly healthy choice in a number of ways.      ~ Susan

Ingredients:

1 lb turkey tenderloin – partially frozen, then very thinly sliced (or chicken breast)
3 scallions – minced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 or 3 Thai or serrano chile peppers – minced
2 teaspoons sugar, sucanat or agave nectar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or tamari soy sauce)
juice of 1 lime
optional – 1 tablespoon of your favorite natural BBQ sauce
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Mix the sliced turkey and marinade ingredients all together in a large bowl. Set aside to marinate for at least 15-30 minutes, or pop in the fridge for as long as 2 hours.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and all its juices and stir fry until just cooked throughout, about 2- 3 minutes. Voila, it’s done, ready to serve!

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with brown rice and steamed vegetables (try sliced carrots, water chestnuts and sno peas).
Serve with al dente rice stick noodles and sliced cucumbers dressed with rice vinegar and sea salt, garnished with chopped peanuts.

Substitutes:

Try this recipe with extra firm cubed tofu, thinly sliced seitan, boneless skinless chicken breast, pork tenderloin, beef tenderloin, diced chicken thighs, or whole shrimp.

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