Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Secret to Using Ground Turkey

I was very excited to find 6 lbs of ground turkey in the reduced meat section this morning. As you may have read in previous posts, I buy a lot of meat this way, in fact most of our meat I buy this way.  We know that maintaining our physical health is an important part of living providently. So in an effort to help my family eat a bit healthier we have been using ground turkey in place of ground beef more and more frequently. I started doing this several years ago, and I will admit at first I really did not like the taste of the turkey, especially in certain dishes. It just tasted really bland and different to me.  So I reserved my ground turkey and only used it in some of the dishes that we didn't mind the change in flavor.  But recently I have discovered the secret to using ground turkey in place of ground beef in the majority of our dishes.  Now I may just be a little slow, and most of you may already know this and think it is a no-brainer, but for me it was a revelation!

So here it is: when you are using ground turkey in place of ground beef in a recipe make sure that you season the turkey really well before and during the browning process. This transforms your ground turkey from something pretty bland into something very grand! We now love using ground turkey in many recipes that we would normally use ground beef in, like: Stroganoff, Spaghetti, Lasagna, Turkey-Macaroni & Tomato, Chili, Shepard's pie, Meatloaf, etc.  If I am making a recipe that requires me to brown the turkey first I just hit it with a bunch of seasoning that you can vary depending on the type of dish you are making, but for me this usually includes garlic salt, onion powder, season salt, and black pepper. If I am doing something Italian I will also hit is with some Italian seasoning like basil and oregano. The difference is amazing! Of course, in addition to dried seasoning you can also brown it with fresh chopped onion and garlic.

Another thing to remember when you are buying ground turkey is to always check the label to make sure you are getting the good stuff. I purchased some ground turkey awhile back for $1 a pound and thought I was getting such a great deal.  Well, I forgot to check the label, and it wasn't until later that I realized that I actually bought "mechanically separated turkey" that was not only disgusting but contained 23 grams of fat per serving. This "Jennie' O" turkey that I purchased today is just ground turkey and contains only 9 grams of fat per serving and I bought it for $1.69 per lb.

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