Category Archives: Turkey

White Bean Soup with Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, and Turkey Sausage

Last night was our second night back at home after a week visiting family. The first night, we went out to one of our new favorite (and nearby) places, since we had nothing to make and no energy to make anything! That night, we slept well, and in the morning, we met up with friends at a nearby farmer’s market – Ripe. We had eaten all of our produce before leaving town, and – I must admit – we went a little crazy buying produce at the market yesterday. We ended up with a colorful haul – purple & romanesco cauliflowers, carrots in various shades of orange, yellow, and purple, orange beets (the farmer corrected me and said they are “golden” beets – whatever!), red leaf lettuce, spinach, watermelon radishes, potatoes, tomatoes, tangerines, and sweet potatoes. Whew!

After lunch out, I wasn’t feeling well. Plus, the day was cool and gloomy. My remedy? Soup, of course! And I wanted to make something to incorporate at least some of our farmer’s market produce, too.

So, I did some online searching, and came across this recipe from the alaskafromscratch blog. I had almost all of the ingredients on-hand (I had to adapt the recipe a bit to fit what I had), so I thought I would give it a try. The result? It was truly fantastic, and it was just what I needed last night. John loved it, too! We are definitely looking forward to leftovers!

White Bean Soup with Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, and Turkey Sausage

Adapted from alaskafromscratch blog
Serves 6 (about 1 cup per serving)

1 Tbsp olive oil
14 oz smoked turkey sausage, sliced (I used 1 pkg Hillshire Farm turkey lit’l smokies – whole)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
20 oz sweet potatoes. peeled and cubed (cut into about 1/2-inch cubes) – about 1 large potato or two medium
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, washed, stemmed, and chopped
salt & pepper to taste, if needed

1. Heat oil in large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the sausage all over, about 5 minutes. Turn heat down to medium, then add onions and cook for about 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking another minute until fragrant.

2. Add the sweet potatoes, chicken broth, and beans and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender (pierce with a fork to check). Stir in the oregano and spinach, cooking until the spinach just wilts. Check seasoning, and add additional salt or pepper if needed. Serve hot.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 303.8
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1.7 g
Cholesterol: 33.3 mg
Sodium: 750.6 mg
Potassium: 410.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 41.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.1 g
Sugars: 6.9 g
Protein: 18.8 g


Turkey Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa

Another favorite with leftover turkey meat? Turkey tacos! We’ve been making this recipe for several years, and it is always fun to make!

Turkey tacos - done

Turkey Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa
From Prevention magazine
Serves 6, 2 tacos per serving

1 firm, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & chopped
1 cup corn kernels – fresh, frozen, or canned (& drained)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 package (12) corn taco shells
1 pkg (1.25 oz) reduced sodium taco seasoning (or use homemade)
12 oz cooked boneless, skinless turkey breast, sliced into strips
3/4 cup water

1. Mix avocado, corn, tomatoes, & lime juice in a medium bowl. Set salsa aside.
Turkey tacos - salsa

2. Warm shells in oven.

3. In medium skillet, combine seasoning, turkey, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turkey tacos - meat Turkey tacos - with seasoning Turkey tacos - filling cooked

4. Spoon turkey mixture into shells. Top with salsa.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 251.9
Total Fat: 10.2 g
Cholesterol: 33.3 mg
Sodium: 217.4 mg
Total Carbs: 22.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.6 g
Protein: 19.6 g

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

So, now that Thanksgiving has come & gone – and if you’re like me – you froze the turkey meat & made stock with the carcass. What to do with all of those ingredients? Make soup, of course!

Now that the weather has turned cold in TX, it is the perfect time to make soup! I’ve been making this recipe (or some version of it) for several years now. I replaced the noodles in the original recipe with wild rice, and I think it’s even better now! When you don’t have turkey and/or turkey stock around, this recipe can easily be made with chicken and chicken stock. It’s my go-to soup! Plus – it freezes well! Enjoy!

Turkey wild rice soup 1

Turkey Wild Rice Soup
Adapted from Cooking Light, Nov 2005 (originally Turkey Noodle Soup)
Serves 6

Cooking spray
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot
3/4 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices celery
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (or homemade turkey stock)
1 cup uncooked wild rice, cooked
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 bay leaf
2 cups shredded cooked turkey breast (about 8 ounces)
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

1. Cook wild rice in a saucepan according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add carrot, onion, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add celery, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add shredded turkey; cook 3 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.

3. Add cooked wild rice to soup and serve hot.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 101.6
Total Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 16.3 mg
Sodium: 1,600.3 mg
Total Carbs: 13.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 g
Protein: 10.4 g

Turkey gravy & vegetarian gravy – for Thanksgiving

So, in my opinion, there must be gravy for Thanksgiving dinner! And since we have vegetarian guests, there must ALSO be vegetarian gravy for them, too!

Over the years, I’ve kind of come up with my own way to make both gravies for Thanksgiving, and they work well! Here are the two I make, and everyone loves them!
Vegetarian gravy

Turkey Gravy
A Karen original recipe
Servings vary

2 Tbsp canola or sunflower oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 Tbsp chopped herbs (I use a mix of thyme, rosemary, & sage)
2-4 Tbsp flour
3 cups low sodium turkey or chicken stock (homemade, if you’ve got it!)
turkey pan drippings (the non-fat portion from the gravy separator)

Vegetarian Gravy
A Karen original recipe
Servings vary
2 Tbsp canola or sunflower oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tsp mushroom powder (I like porcini powder)
1 Tbsp chopped herbs (I use a mix of thyme, rosemary, & sage)
2-4 Tbsp flour
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth

Directions (for both):
1. Saute vegetables in oil until softened. Add flour (about 2 Tbsp) to pan. Cook, stirring, until flour is incorporated.
Turkey Gravy - starting Vegetarian gravy - starting

Turkey gravy - veggies browning Turkey gravy - adding flour Turkey gravy - stirred in flour

2. Slowly add stock or broth, whisking. Keep whisking, and bring broth mixture to a boil. Turn down heat, and simmer until gravy is thickened. Season with salt & pepper. Puree with immersion blender to incorporate the vegetable pieces. Strain through a mesh strainer to make it smoother, if desired.

3. For turkey gravy, once gravy is made, strain the drippings from the turkey into a gravy separator (fat will rise to the top). Whisk the non-fat portion of the drippings into the gravy.

**Note** If your gravy isn’t thick enough – take out a portion (about 1/2 cup) and place in a bowl or measuring cup. Let it cool, then whisk in more flour (about 1 Tbsp). Once this small portion is smooth, whisk it back in to the pot of hot gravy, and bring it back to a boil. Simmer again until thickened.

Dry-Brined Turkey wtih Citrus & Peppercorn Dry Brine

For our turkey this year, I decided to try something different… I know, I know – you shouldn’t mess with the turkey recipe *right* before Thanksgiving, but I did it anyway! I had seen this recipe in my recent Bon Appetit issue, so I just had to try it!

The verdict? It was easy, and the turkey was moist & flavorful. This just might be our Thanksgiving turkey recipe from now on. And I can see the brine being used for other meats too – I’ll have to try it!


Dry-Brined Turkey wtih Citrus & Peppercorn Dry Brine
Slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, Nov 2013
Servings vary

2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
2 teaspoons white peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon zest
2 tablespoons orange zest

1 turkey, 12-14 lbs
1 medium onion, quartered
1-2 bunches of herbs (I used one bunch each – sage, rosemary, & thyme)
1/4 cup whipped butter
2 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth

For brine:
Toast black, pink, and white peppercorns and bay leaves in a skillet until fragrant. Let cool, then crush in a bag using a rolling pin or heavy skillet (I pulsed in my spice grinder to get a coarse grind). Mix with salt, sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest.
Citrus dry brine - toasting Citrus dry brine

DO AHEAD: Dry brine can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.

For turkey:
Rub dry brine all over turkey; chill uncovered, 6–7 hours. After curing, rinse off and pat dry before roasting.
Citrus dry-brined turkey - brining Citrus dry-brined turkey - ready to cook

Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse turkey under cold water; pat dry and place, breast side up, on a rack set in a large roasting pan. Stuff turkey with onion, garlic, and herbs. Working from neck end of turkey, gently loosen skin from breasts and rub butter under skin and all over outside of bird. Tie legs together with kitchen twine, pour broth into pan, and roast turkey 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and roast, basting with pan juices every 30–40 minutes, adding more broth as needed to maintain some liquid in pan, and tenting with foil if skin is browning too quickly, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 2 1/2–3 hours.

Transfer turkey to a platter; tent with foil. Let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.

White Chicken Chili

Since it’s fall and we’ve turned back the clocks, I’ve been in the mood to make chili. I happened to have some leftover rotisserie chicken on-hand (and it needed to either be used or frozen), so I started thinking about recipe options. I found this recipe that I’ve made for years, and I realized that I had all of the ingredients. So, that made the decision for me!

This recipe is full of flavor, and it freezes well in individual portions. I’m so excited to have this for lunches in the coming weeks! 🙂

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken (or Turkey) Chili
Recipe from Tina Coates, original source unknown
Makes 8 servings —- serving size 1 1/4 cups

1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped red bell pepper
1 T. minced seeded jalapeno pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey breast (about 15 oz.)
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, drained and divided
2 (14 oz.) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 ( 4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles (or an equivalent amount of chopped roasted Hatch chiles)
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup skim milk
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onion and next 4 ingredients (onion thru garlic), and saute 5 min. Add turkey or chicken, 1 1/2 cups beans (1 can), broth and next 6 ingredients (broth thru black pepper). Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 min.

Mash remaining beans and add beans and milk to mixture. Simmer, uncovered, 20 min. stirring frequently. Stir in cilantro.

Nutritional information:
Calories: 297.0
Total Fat: 4.4 g
Cholesterol: 39.1 mg
Sodium: 1,480.0 mg
Total Carbs: 39.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.5 g
Protein: 25.6 g