Ending the Hiatus: Ground Turkey Burgers, Lettuce Wraps and Garden Berry Salads Meal Prep

I know it’s been forever since I last posted. If you look back through these posts you’ll notice quickly that consistency is not my thing. I make sweeping declarations all the time that just never work out. The only thing I can be counted on to do consistently is be flakey. Sorry about that, friends.

Anyway, today I’m ending my blogging hiatus to share my newest endeavor: Meal prepping. Yeah, I’m always down to cook in the evenings. But with my schedule that means I leave work at 5ish, go to the gym, leave the gym at 6:45ish, get home, cook and eat dinner, spend the rest of the evening making my lunch for the next day, then I get ready for bed. It leaves my man friend feeling lonely and me feeling like I never stop moving.

So last night I had 1 lb of lean ground turkey waiting to be made into four delicious dinners for the week, and a whole bunch of veggies waiting to be made into delicious mason jar salads. (I have a thing for mason jars that I don’t think we’ve discussed yet. Every breakfast I make is in a mason jar. Every lunch I make is in a mason jar. Every herb I grow is in a mason jar. Every pickle I pickle is in a mason jar. Every jam I jam is in a mason jar. They are my favorite multi-use item of all time.)

Jars for everything!

Jars for everything!

I’m failing blog etiquette 101 with this lengthy post right now, so let’s get to it. These all pair well with a nice glass of iced green tea cuz like SPRING WEATHER and stuff. Three recipes for four days of lunches and dinners:

Cilantro Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup

Adapted from Cooking Light, yields 2 burgers

What you need:

-1/2 lb of lean ground turkey
-2 1/2 tbsp Progresso Italian breadcrumbs (or whatever you have on hand)
-2 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
-2 tbsp fresh grated parmesan cheese
-A sprinkle of S&P
-3.5 oz can of chipotles in Adobo sauce
-2 tbsp ketchup

What you do:

1. Mash together first five ingredients (through S&P) with a fork in a medium sized bowl until all breadcrumbs are incorporated into the meat. Divide into two 1/3-inch thick patties.

2. Coat a nonstick grill pan or skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add turkey patties and grill for about 5 minutes on each side.

3. Place full can of chipotles plus 2 tbsp of ketchup in a mini food processor and blend until smooth.

4. Either eat immediately or save if meal prepping. Heat up in microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Serve with chipotle ketchup mixture and 1/2 oz of goat cheese. Eat on a whole wheat bun if desired, but it’s tasty on its own.

Turkey Prep

Asian Turkey Lettuce Cups

Also adapted from Cooking Light, yields 2 servings

What you need:

-1/4 cup thin sliced green onion
-1 tsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
-juice of 1/2 lime
-3 tsp fish sauce
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
-2 tsp Sambal Oelek
-1/2 lb ground turkey
-1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
-1 cup shiitake mushrooms
-1 head Boston lettuce
-Mixed accoutrement (I like minced red bell pepper, fresh cilantro, jalapeno, shredded carrot, fresh lime and bean sprouts)

What you do:

1. Mix first 8 ingredients in a medium sized bowl until brown sugar dissolved. Set aside.

2. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add ginger and turkey and cook until turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes, then add shiitake mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft and turkey is slightly browned, about 2 minutes longer.

3. Remove browned turkey from heat and immediately add all the sauce. Combine well.

4. Either serve immediately or save if meal prepping. Will heat up in microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Serve in Boston lettuce cups and top with desired veggies.

Garden Berry Salads

Garden Berry Mason Jar Salads

Yields 4 personal-sized salads

What you need:

-4 quart-sized clean mason jars
-8 tbsp dressing of choice (I used Whole Foods Market’s no oil, low sodium Tangerine Vinaigrette)
-2 medium sized celery sticks, chopped into 4 equal portions
-1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped into 4 equal portions
-16 cherry tomatoes, each sliced in half
-8 strawberries, each sliced in quarters
-1/2 cup thin sliced green onion, divided into 4 equal portions
-1 bag baby spinach (about 4-5 cups), divided into 4 equal portions
-1 avocado
-2 oz gorgonzola crumbles

What you do:

1. Place 2 tbsp of dressing into the bottom of each of your mason jars. Next, add your hardest ingredients and continue layering to your softest – start with celery, then add bell pepper, then tomatoes, then strawberries, green onion and spinach.

2. When I make these several days in advance, I add cheese and avocado later to avoid mushiness/browning. When you’re ready to eat, pour your salads into a large bowl and then top with 1/4 sliced avocado and 1/2 oz of gorgonzola. (Sometimes I add protein, too, like 3 oz cooked chicken breast or 7-8 shrimp! Also add this when you’re ready to eat it, not before.)

 

Four days of meals done in about 1.5 hours! Also these are all healthy, low fat, low carb, high fiber and high protein meals. Now maybe I’ll post again next week… or maybe in 4 months. Who’s to say? Inconsistency, guys. My b.

Vegan Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Jalapeno

My brother has been vegan for over a year now. He does it for all the right reasons – the industrialization of food has gotten out of hand, its sustainable, and humans are the only creature on earth that puts their most basic desires over the most basic needs of other creatures.

I’m totally down with the message. I tried it. It’s really hard. For now, I’m just trying to avoid eating other mammals. I figure I’m doing a bit of my part.

But occasionally I do make a super delicious vegan meal. And this one had a bonus cuz I had about 6 pounds of tomatoes from the past two weeks of my CSA boxes (community shared agriculture – its very trendy right now) that I needed to use.

Also, post-Labor Day has gotten me believing its Fall now. It’s still 75 degrees. But Fall is coming (eventually) and that brings brisk weather and brisk weather calls for warm tomato soup.

So we made tomato soup to freeze for Fall/Winter and we vegan-ized it! (Then ate a bowl of it in 75 degree heat with non-vegan toaster oven quesadillas for dipping and a big spoonful of Greek yogurt. Oops.)

IMG_2589.JPG

Vegan Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic and Jalapeno
(Adapted from Cooking Light’s “Fresh Tomato Soup” recipe from October 2008, “Melanie’s Garden Tomato Soup” recipe from June 1999, and this Oh She Glows recipe – which I also intend to make.)

What you’ll need:
1 head garlic
1-2 jalapeno, mostly seeded and halved (I used one and there was very little heat)
1 large carrot (or 2 medium), chopped
3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion (or 2 medium), diced
1/2-1 tbsp dried basil (or fresh if not intending to freeze)
3 pounds garden tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel loose skin from garlic, chop head off of bulb and place on baking sheet along with seeded jalapeno and chopped carrot, drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil. Roast for 35 min (take out jalapeno and carrot when tender, keep garlic in for full 35 min). Let cool 5-10 min, squeeze garlic from bulb and reserve (along with jalapeno and carrot).
2. In a large pot, heat remaining 1 tsp of olive oil and add diced onion, dried basil, and roasted garlic, jalapeno and carrot. Cook 4 min, stirring frequently.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and S&P and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; Simmer 15-20 min. Use immersion blender to blend smooth. (Or process in batches in food processor.)

Serve hot in 1 cup servings with 1-2 tbsp fat free Greek yogurt or sour cream(vegans omit, duh) and fresh basil. Pairs well with microwave quesadillas or grilled cheese and cheap wine.

If freezing, pour into quart-sized freezer-proof containers immersed in ice water. Stir to release heat, cooling slightly and immediately freeze. Will keep in freezer for 4-6 months.

(Side note: Sorry no pics again. I’m working on it.)