Turkey Time

To keep with my recent theme of non-vegan/non-vegetarian foods, I decided to try my hand at some turkey recipes. I absolutely LOVE turkey, but besides its great taste, it has many nutritional attributes. To start, turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, notorious for causing that sleepy feeling after Thanksgiving dinner (which is probably due more to consuming a giant meal than to tryptophan itself). Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which helps to regulate mood, metabolism and even sexuality. With regards to metabolism and mood, tryptophan acts as a mild appetite suppressant and helps decrease anxiety and improve focus, respectively.

Besides the positive effect of tryptophan, turkey can be a very lean protein option – specifically when you choose the white meat. For 93% lean varieties, here’s the nutrition breakdown, per ounce (info according the the USDA Nutrition Datatbase):

  • 59 calories
  • 7 grams protein
  • 3 grams fat
  • 30 mg cholesterol

One of the best parts of turkey? It is delicious and, when talking ground turkey, it’s a super-fast protein option. I have been in a Thanksgiving mood, so I made a Thanksgiving preparation two-ways: as a sauté and as a meatball turkeyball.

Thanksgiving Turkey Meatballs:

Turkey_Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces lean ground turkey (93% lean or better)
  • 3/4 cup fresh sage, rinsed, dried and diced
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • Topping: 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together and form into 1″ balls. Cook at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until turkey meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top. Served here with kale chips (see below recipe).

Thanksgiving Turkey Sauté:

Thanksgiving_Turkey_Saute

Not the prettiest, but extremely tasty

Ingredients:

  • Same ingredients as above:
    • 8 ounces lean ground turkey (93% lean or better)
    • 3/4 cup fresh sage, rinsed, dried and diced
    • 1/4 red onion, minced
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
    • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 slice bread, preferable sprouted whole grain, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

Sauté red onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add turkey and cook for five minutes. Add sage, rosemary and pepper and continue cooking until turkey is no longer pink. Remove from heat (transfer to a plate) and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and salt (if desired).* In same pan, add cubes of bread and sprinkle with smoked paprika. Toast the bread cubes and sprinkle around or on top of turkey mixture.

*I added my pomegranate seeds WAY too early in the cooking process, which is why they turned a gross red-brown color (see above picture). Thus, I recommend adding them once you remove the mixture from the heat to preserve that beautiful bright pomegranate pink-red.

Kale Chips:

kale_chips

Ingredients:

  • Kale (the more, the better!)
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt (I love using smoked sea salt)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove kale from stems and rinse, dry thoroughly. Spread kale on baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and other other seasonings you like (suggestions: salt & pepper, garlic powder, cumin, curry powder) and bake for 20 minutes, or until desired doneness (I like mine extra crispy).

Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium and potassium. It’s also loaded with antioxidants. And kale chips….don’t even get me started. They are delicious, crispity crunchy and really do satisfy a chip craving.

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