Tag Archive: ground turkey

I am so loving Goya empanada dough.  So crisp with great lamination.  You can make filling of almost anything.  We like ground meat, vegan crumbles, tofu crumbles, or sausage mixed with onion best.  Sometimes I make it with Korean BBQ, Pizza sauce, Tex Mex style, whatever.  They are always a winner.  We’ve been on a teriyaki ranch kick lately.  They are soooo good together.



I sauteed onion and browned ground turkey with Chinese five spice and added teriyaki and ranch.  Here are the specifics.  First start with my favorite dough by Goya:


1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 tsp. seasoning of choice – I used Chinese five spice

2 lb. ground turkey

2 packages empanada dough

Oil to soften onion

3 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce (I used garlic teriyaki)

3 Tbsp. ranch dressing

1-2 tsp. corn starch to thicken

1 packet Daiya Pepper Jack Shredds

1 egg, beaten

The empanada dough has to sit out at room temperature for about an hour before you can use it.

Prepare a large baking sheet ahead by covering it in foil and spraying with cooking spray.

Cook onion, sprinkled with seasoning, in a little oil until softened.  Add in turkey, chopping it up in little pieces as it cooks.

Add in teriyaki, ranch and corn starch.  Simmer until thickened.  Let cool.

Once filling is cool, add in shredds.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Hold dough in the palm of your hand and spoon filling in middle.  Seal edges by pressing between your fingertips.

Lay out on prepared baking sheet.

Brush with beaten egg and bake about 20 minutes until golden brown.



Ground meat is one of the best buys around for reasonable priced meals for your family.  I buy in bulk when there’s a sale and prepare stuff ahead as much as possible.   Meatballs are baked and then frozen.  Meatloaf is frozen to defrost the day ahead of being made.  Ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper is cooked, crumbled and drained and then frozen.  Burgers are made and then frozen.  This past week Aldi had a sale on 5 lbs. of ground beef  for $9.95.  Another market had ground turkey on a BOGO sale so it ended up being $2.20 per pound.  One of these days, I’m going to experiment with grinding my own meat.  Ironically I bought a meat grinder to make veggie burgers, but it’s sitting in my pantry gathering dust.

First, let’s talk about meatballs.  I used to buy the frozen, precooked variety until my kids rebelled and said only mine would do, claiming the others are like little rubber balls.  I see their point.  The only way I can make this happen, though, is to cook them ahead and freeze them.  I make rather large batches, so I have at least enough for two meals when I’m done.


3-4 lb. ground meats (use a blend of at least two – beef, turkey, chicken, and pork are all great)  Keep in mind, though, that beef really throws off a lot of grease, whereas the others are leaner and less greasy.  For that reason, I try to use less beef.

2 eggs

1/ 2 or so seasoned bread crumbs (in a pinch, I’ve used oatmeal, instant grits, and leftover quinoa)

2 heaping Tbsp. sweet pickle relish

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

16 oz. cottage cheese (or ricotta if you don’t have any cottage cheese)

Optional add ins:

Pesto, seasoning packets from Rice-A-Roni (ha ha – when I make prepared foods like that I always use 1 packet per two boxes to reduce the sodium, and keep the spare packet around for future use)

Prepare two 13 x 9 baking dishes by spraying with coconut oil.

Mix meats and wet ingredients by hand, gradually adding in the bread crumbs/oatmeal/whatever, so that you can form meatballs that do not fall apart.  Add sparingly, as you can always add in more, but you can’t take them out once you’ve put them in!  Sometimes when using ground chicken, the meat is impossibly sticky.  Using the grab and roll method with flour on your hands, and rolling the meatballs in a  little seasoned flour takes care of that!

Scoop meat mixture using an ice cream or cookie dough scoop if it’s not too sticky and place meatballs in baking dishes.  If there is no beef, drizzle with a little olive oil.  If there is beef, skip this step.

Bake at 375 F for approximately 40 minutes (depending on meatball size) or until golden and the internal temperature is at least 160 F.

Allow to cool, and place in containers to freeze for future use.

I defrost them overnight the night before I am going to make them for dinner.

Meatballs are so versatile.  Some variations we have enjoyed are:


Ground meat 1 Buffalo meatball and potato casserole








ground meat 3 gen tso meatballs



barbecue ranch meatballs

Or simply bake them with your favorite spaghetti sauce topped with cheese!

Sometimes I make them big, like little mini meatloafs.  You can even cook them in a muffin pan.

The recipe for crock pot meatloaf follows much the same recipe as my basic meatballs.  Cooking it in the crock pot is by far the easiest way to make a moist, delicious meatloaf.


Crock pot meatloaf

You can stuff uncooked jumbo shells or manicotti with meatloaf mixtures, too, or add in a little sausage to give it a zing.


Stuffed shells

The recipe I use for burgers is more or less the same.  I put them in a Tupperware and freeze them until the night before we’re having them.  I cook them on a baking sheet, rather than standing at the stove flipping burgers.


burger cooked in the oven

There are a load of recipes you can make with precooked and frozen ground meat or sausage:



Stuffed Poblano Pepper Casserole


Stuffed peppers


cabbage rolls casserole.jpg


Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese


Hawaiian crock pot dish.jpg


shepherds pie


sloppy joe



Lazy day casserole


I love the Little Big Meal deals at The Fresh Market.  They put all the ingredients in one spot and it’s a no thought and just a little effort required weekday meal!

This week it was a Chili meal.  For $20.00, I got:

1 lb. fresh ground turkey (you could also choose ground chuck or a vegetarian meat substitute)

1 package veggies (onions, peppers, and garlic – ready to go)

1 jar Frontera Chili Starter – a Rick Bayless product.  I chose White Bean with Chilis – YUMMMMM

1 can beans (I chose cannelloni beans)

1 package shredded cheese

1 container (8 oz) Daisy sour cream

6 corn muffins

It is advertised as enough to feed a family of four.  I bought an extra pound of ground meat (chicken) and had lettuce, tomato, and avocado on hand for toppings, as well as some tortillas left from taco night.

Brown meat and veggies in olive oil.


Add drained beans and chili starter.


Simmer 15-20 minutes.

I thickened it with breadcrumbs (my new go to for thickening sauces, chilis and stews)






8 sandwich thins

2 lb. ground turkey

1/4 c. buffalo wing sauce

1/4 c. blue cheese dressing

diced celery to taste (i used one stalk)

8 slices cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp. olive oil blend

2 Tbsp. butter.

Combine turkey, wing sauce and blue cheese dressing into 8 burgers.

Cook in olive oil blend over medium heat until golden and cooked to internal temperature of 165 F.

Train on paper towels.

Top with cheese and place on sandwich thin, coated with butter.

Bake on cookie sheet until toasty and cheese is melted.

Simple Turkey Meatballs


I served these meatballs with the yummy orzo salad last night!

2 lb. ground turkey

1 egg

3 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish

1/3 c. seasoned bread crumbs (I used my fave Don Samuel Hot & Spicy)

Flour to roll the meatballs in

Balsamic vinaigrette dressing to drizzle over meatballs

Combine meat, egg, relish and bread crumbs.


Roll into balls using small cookie scoop.


Roll in flour and place in 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.


Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette


Bake 350F for about 35 minutes or until golden and internal temperature is 165F.  You can make these ahead and freeze them.  They are so simple, and they take on the taste of the sauce you put them in!

Turkey Ricotta Meatloaf/Meal One - Spaghetti and Meatballs/Meal Two

Ever since trying Lidia Bastianich’s meatloaf recipe using ricotta, I won’t make burgers, meatballs or meatloaf without ricotta. I like to experiment with different mixes of meats, different add ins, and the kids have voted this their favorite so far!!

This recipe made one large meatloaf and a lasagne pan of large meatballs.

6 lb. ground turkey
1 c. oatmeal
1 egg
1/4 c. sweet pickle relish
1/2 large sweet onion, finely diced and cooked until translucent
1 large container ricotta cheese
1 packet from a Rice A Roni ** when I make multiple packs of Rice A Roni, I use less of the seasoning packs to reduce the sodium content. I use the seasoning packs from time to time to spice up my meat mixtures.

Combine everything except the meat and oats in a very large oversized bowl. Add in meat and blend well with hands to evenly distribute the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with half the oats and blend in. Sprinkle with remaining oats and blend in.

Make large meatloaf. Glaze with sauce of your choice. This time I used leftover mustard mixture from a batch of Grace’s sandwich recipe, and added to it some ketchup, balsamic vinegar and sugar,

I have frozen my meatloaf raw and then thawed in the fridge from the day before I want to serve it. The meatballs are best cooked first and frozen cooked.

Cook covered 350 F for one hour and 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 to 30 minutes until internal temperature exceeds 165 F.

You can bake the meatballs (I use a jelly roll pan) in the same oven. They take about 40 minutes, depending on the size. Pull them out when they look golden.

Immediately remove meatloaf and meatballs from liquid that accumulates in the bottom of the pans.

The meatloaf makes killer patty melts, if you ever have any left over!!

The meatballs can be frozen for future use. I put mine directly into the lasagne pan, topped them with sliced black olives and carmelized onions, and then poured sauce over them. I kept them in the fridge for two days and baked them for dinner tonight. 350 F for 45 minutes uncovered, topping with cheese during the last 10 minutes or so.

I found a bargain on Gia Russa sauce (Traditional style) and didn’t even doctor it up. I figured that if they sell it on their website for $8.00 a jar, it wouldn’t need doctoring. I paid $2.00 at a overstock store. It was as delicious as something I slaved over all day. Their website says “Made in small batches and produced from only real Italian plum tomatoes from Italy, our sauces epitomize pasta-sauce-making as a true culinary art form: all fresh produce, fresh herbs & spices, make for producing a very balanced, light tasting sauce. All natural, no preservatives, no added sugar, no paste or puree.” I believe it! I had a little Magic Hat Pale Ale with it too! YUM.


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