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Goulash, but not really.

You know how we all have a few meals that we grew up on and will always stick in our memory? This was one of those meals and it was a favorite of mine. My mom made it, my Nana made it, etc. The only thing that seems kind of funny to me now as an adult and as someone who is always looking through recipes, is that my family always called it goulash. Looking at the photo you will see that this is definitely not the goulash you will find on the menu somewhere. Even though that is the case, it will always be “goulash” to me, so please excuse my inaccurate naming of the dish.

I must also confess that this isn’t the exact dish I grew up on. Again, now that I am an adult and try to be very conscious of my food choices I decided to put my own twist on the dish to make it a bit more well rounded. The version that I grew up on was simply pasta, ground meat, onion and homemade tomato sauce. I decided to make it a bit healthier by using ground turkey, whole wheat pasta and adding veggies to the mix. In the end you have a nice comforting meal that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

goulash

Nana’s “Goulash”

Olive Oil
1 small to medium zucchini, chopped
1 small to medium yellow squash, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
8 oz. ground turkey (I used 93/7)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
crushed red pepper to taste
salt and pepper
2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
4 oz. whole wheat elbows or rotini

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to time listed on the box.

Heat a pan on the stove and spray with olive oil. Add the zucchini, squash and onions. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add garlic and Italian seasoning. Continue cooking on medium heat.

Heat another pan and add the ground turkey. Add garlic powder, paprika, crushed red pepper and salt & pepper to taste. Continue on medium heat until cooked through.

When the veggies reach your desired tenderness, add the cooked ground turkey, marinara sauce and the drained pasta. Simmer to let flavors combine, about 5 minutes.

Yields 2 large servings

Approximate Nutrition Facts (according to sparkrecipe.com)
Calories: 453.4
Total Fat: 12.8 g
Cholesterol: 80 mg
Sodium: 149.6 mg
Carbohydrates: 63.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 11.5 g
Protein: 33.3 g

*Please note that the nutrition facts can vary greatly based on the type of sauce, meat and pasta that is used as well as the amount of salt added to the dish.  These facts were based on the 93/7 ground turkey, homemade san marzano sauce and Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Rotini.

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Greek Inspired Stuffed Peppers

I grew up eating stuffed peppers, although we only had them on occasion since my mother and I were the only ones who enjoyed them. If you think about it, it’s a great way to get your vegetables, protein and starch all into one compact entrée. I also love this meal because it is very versatile; you can do just about anything to change it up. I guess stuffed peppers are kind of like a pizza.  You have your base and then you can add whatever your choice toppings, or in this case mix-ins, are until you are blue in the face.

Of course the stuffed peppers that I grew up on were the traditional ones; the standard pepper stuffed with ground beef, rice, diced onion and topped with tomato sauce. When I decided to make them for dinner the other night I wanted to spruce them up a bit. Not only did I want to make them a bit healthier, but I also wanted to make a few additions. So, I decided to go with a Greek inspired version. I also opted to use turkey burger and barley instead of the beef and rice. The addition of the spinach, Greek peppers and black olives gave a nice extra element of flavor. I am sure it would be great with kalamata olives too (which would be a bit more Greek); and feel free to add some feta cheese to the top as well.

Not only is this a great way to use up what’s in your refrigerator, but it also makes for great leftovers.

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Greek Inspired Stuffed Peppers

3 bell peppers (your choice of color), halved vertically
1 cup cooked barley
2 tsp. olive oil (or coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil spray)
½ cup onion, chopped
½ lb. ground turkey
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ of a 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 large black olives, sliced
4 Greek peppers, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce (store bought or homemade)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin preparing barley on the stove top.
Place your six pepper halves, cut side up into a large casserole dish (9×13).

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the diced onion to the pan and sauté; about 2 minutes. Add the ground turkey, oregano, garlic powder and salt & pepper to the pan and cook until onions are translucent and the meat is cooked through.

Place the meat mixture into a large bowl, combine with cooked barley, spinach, olives and chopped Greek peppers. Fill each pepper half with the mixture. Spoon tomato sauce over the top of each filled pepper.

Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until peppers are tender.

Yields: 3 servings

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 pepper halves
Calories: 421.7
Total Fat: 13.6 g
Cholesterol: 81 mg
Sodium: 1,284.1 mg
Carbohydrates: 53.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 13.1 g
Protein: 30 g

*note that I used my olive oil sprayer, so the nutrition does not include the 2 tsp. of olive oil.

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Add a little spice to your life (or burger).

For some reason I find it necessary to look for new recipes every week. I guess this just stems from my love of cooking. I think no matter how many recipes I accumulate I will never be content. So as I mentioned a few posts back, I have begun to sit down and read through blogs in my spare time. I feel like I have never done it often enough so now I have to actually sit and read entire blogs. Hopefully after I do this with certain blogs I will then be able to just keep up with them through Google Reader. This is my hope, but I have a feeling I will never get organized with all of this blogging. I am going to stay hopeful though. :o)

Anyway, I was very inspired by the blog, Elly Says Opa. I made her Chicken with Herbed Pan Sauce a few weeks ago and loved it. So I figured I couldn’t go wrong when I found her recipe for Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers. When I first showed the recipe to Greg he had a typical guy response, “It doesn’t look like much food.” After I convinced him that the three baby burgers add up to the same amount that he normally eats in one regular burger he decided that it sounded good. Needless to say, he needed no further convincing after we both sat there stuffed after our meal. The dish was delicious and the flavors really complimented each other. I was surprised at how incredibly filling it was too. I absolutely loved the yogurt sauce on top. Although we adore naan, we decided to use whole-wheat flatbread instead to save on calories.

We ended up enjoying the meal with a nice salad and it was a hearty, but healthful and guilt free feast. I love being able to eat more ethnic inspired foods in a trimmed down manner.

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Indian-Spiced Turkey Burgers

courtesy of Elly Says Opa!

1 lb. ground chicken breast
 (I used turkey burger)
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 small cucumber, sliced
flatbread (or naan) and cilantro (optional) for serving
cumin yogurt sauce (recipe follows)

In a bowl, gently combine the first 8 ingredients. Form into burgers or meatballs and set aside/refrigerate for 10 minutes or longer to combine flavors.

Grill or fry the patties. Place the cucumber and cilantro on the naan/flatbread, followed by the patties.

Drizzle with the yogurt sauce.

Cumin Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or strained yogurt)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground pepper

Yields 4 servings.

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Meatloaf with Flair

After frequenting the What’s Cooking board on The Nest, I have been exposed to so many wonderful cooking blogs. I love getting new ideas and great recipes from others that enjoy cooking as much as I do. I find myself book marking recipes and blogs all of the time. The problem is, they accumulate and it can become a bit overwhelming. So lately I have been choosing a blog here and a blog there to sit and sift through. I will look at the tabs that interest me and go through the blog entirely, book marking each recipe that I’m interested in trying. One of the blogs that I did this with was Just 2 Good by Amy. She is also a fellow WC Nestie and has given me great ideas on more than one occasion.

While visiting her blog I came across a recipe for Florentine Turkey Meatloaf. It looked and sounded delicious! It is definitely a twist on the normal humdrum meatloaf that most of us were brought up on. After plugging the ingredients into Spark Recipe and seeing that it wasn’t going to blow my calories for the day, I decided it was definitely worth trying. I am so glad that I did too because it was fabulous and it was an easy recipe to cut in half for the two of us. You can’t beat an old comfort food that is good for you and has a great new face lift.

meatloaf-florentine

Florentine Turkey Meatloaf

courtesy of Amy at Just2Good

1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
1 cup spaghetti sauce, divided
½ cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
¾ cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans) with foil, dull side toward the food.

Combine ground turkey, ¼ cup spaghetti sauce, breadcrumbs, onion, eggs, and Parmesan cheese in a medium bowl.

Press half of the turkey mixture into a foil-lined pan(s). Press a 1-inch indention down the center of mixture, leaving 1-inch thickness on all sides.

Toss spinach and mozzarella cheese together; spoon into indention, mounding in center. Press remaining turkey mixture evenly over top, sealing edges.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Spoon remaining spaghetti sauce over meat loaf. Bake 15 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes.

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

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