Posts tagged: turkey

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps

By Katie, 6:08 am

Have you ever decided to cook a recipe solely because it gave you an excuse to buy a particular ingredient?

Because the only reason I decided to make these Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps was so that I’d have a legitimate reason to purchase five-spice powder. :roll:

You see, while I may love buying new, fun ingredients, my wallet disagrees. So when a recipe calls for an ingredient I don’t imagine using often, I usually just omit it. Unless it appears to be a key ingredient; then I give myself full permission to fork over the dough. Unfortunately – for my budget at least – this often means I’m on the prowl for recipes that require the purchasing of something fun and unique. ;-)

So I added these wraps to the weekly menu and picked up a small bag of five-spice powder. And let me tell you, it made the dish. If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t), five-spice powder is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, ground fennel seeds, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns. The idea is that it encompasses the five main elements or flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and pungent.

To make these Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps, I first cooked some instant brown rice and set it aside. Then I cooked the ground turkey and fresh ginger. Once the turkey was cooked through, I added the rice plus some bell pepper, water chestnuts, chicken broth, the five-spice powder, hoisin sauce (an ingredient I purchased some time ago under the same circumstances as the five-spice powder), and salt.

And that was it, really!  I brought the entire portion to the dinner table, where Dave and I assembled our lettuce wraps by topping the turkey mixture with shredded carrots, cilantro, and chives.

We used Boston lettuce because the leaves are the most “cup-like,” but it was still quite messy because our lettuce leaves weren’t all that big. If and when I make this again, I’ll use the biggest lettuce leaves I can find!

Five-Spice Turkey & Lettuce Wraps
Recipe from Eating Well
Serves 4

1/2 cup instant brown rice (dry)
2 tsp sesame or olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 heads Boston lettuce (preferably with very large leaves)
1/2 cup chopped herbs, such as cilantro and chives
1 large carrot, grated

1. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add ground turkey and ginger; cook until turkey is cooked through (about 8 minutes), breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

3. Stir in the cooked rice, bell pepper, water chestnuts, chicken broth, hoisin sauce, five-spice powder, and salt. Cook until heated through, about another 2 minutes.

4. Serve by spooning portions of the turkey mixture into the lettuce “cups,” topping with herbs and shredded carrot.

Have you ever used a recipe as an excuse to buy an ingredient that your budget normally wouldn’t allow?


Have you ever used five-spice powder? Can you suggest other ways that I can use it? Because now I have a lot left over! 8-O

Turkey Bolognese

By Katie, 8:08 pm

I was inspired to make this Turkey Bolognese sauce for two reasons:

  1. My husband Dave praises me endlessly every time I make a more “hearty” dinner. He says it just “feels right” with the cold weather and all. And what can I say, I’m a sucker for the compliments!  :-)
  2. Saying that I made a bolognese sounds kind of impressive, no? ;-)

So maybe those aren’t the most honorable reasons for making a dish, but I think in the end all that matters is that it made for a delicious dinner!

The next time you’re in the mood for a substantial – but still healthy – pasta dish, try this recipe! Here’s how I made my Turkey Bolognese sauce.

First I sautéed onion, garlic, and carrots in a bit of olive oil. Then I added lean ground turkey, breaking up the meat until it was no longer pink.

Once the turkey was browned, I added some dry red wine, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce to the pan. Then I seasoned it generously with oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper.

Then I busied myself with laundry, dishes, and other such tasks while the sauce simmered away for 1.5 hours. You want it to get nice and thick.

This sauce made a delicious topper for whole wheat spaghetti.

Turkey Bolognese
Serves 3-4, depending on how much sauce you like on your pasta
Adapted from Healthy Food For Living

1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3/4 lb. lean ground turkey
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and chopped carrot and sauté for another 5 minutes.

2. Raise the heat to medium high. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Pour the wine into the skillet to deglaze, then add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

3. Add the seasonings, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the bolognese is thick and reduced, about 1.5 hours. Add additional seasonings to taste throughout the cooking process.

4. Serve over your favorite pasta and/or with thick, crusty bread.

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