Showing posts with label ground turkey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ground turkey. Show all posts

Traditional stuffed peppers and tomatoes - Gemista

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes is a very traditional and popular summer dish in Greece while the vegetables are in season. This is also one of my favorite Greek dishes. The tomatoes are medium size, firm, ripe and juicy. The peppers are small and so tender that you don’t need to peel the skin when cooked. I have experimented with different type of peppers. There are only two types that can be stuffed; bell peppers and cubanelle peppers. Cubanelle peppers have thinner skin than the regular bell peppers. I find them the closest to the peppers I find in Greece.

My mother used to make mainly peppers and tomatoes, but the peppers were the only ones I would eat. Sometimes she’d stuff eggplants too. The eggplants in Greece are also small; what we call here in the US baby eggplant. When my mother made this dish during the summer, she made it mainly vegetarian. On occasion she’d use ground beef. The vegetarian version is with rice and different vegetables. When I make the vegetarian version, I use chopped carrots, and if I stuff zucchini or eggplant, I will incorporate the flesh in the stuffing along with herbs like parsley and dill.

There are many different versions of gemista – or yemista. My mother in law used raisins and pine nuts in the vegetarian version. The raisins give them a sweeter taste and the pine nuts some crunch.

I often make this delectable stuffed peppers, tomatoes and eggplant dish. Living in the US we can find these vegetables year round, (they are being shipped here from warmer climates). Sometimes I will make them vegetarian style, and other times I will use ground turkey. I usually make enough so that I can give some to my daughters. They also freeze well, especially the peppers. Tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini are best eaten first if you are planning in freezing some. You can place the uncooked stuffed peppers in a separate dish, cover them tightly with saran wrap and aluminum foil and freeze them. When you need them you can take them out, pour some olive oil, a little bit of tomato sauce, season and bake them in the oven. They will taste as good as the day you made them. Another option is to cook all of them, and freeze the stuffed peppers in an airtight container. When you need them, you can take them out of the freezer early in the morning, then warm them up in the oven for about ½ hour till heated through. Now you have dinner ready in minutes.

These will take an hour to prepare and about two hours to cook in the oven. But it’s worth all the effort. Enjoy them with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a slice of feta and some fresh crusty bread on the side. A glass of red wine will also go nicely.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers, Tomatoes and Baby Eggplant

Makes 13 servings about 15 oz each serving

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 lbs ground turkey
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped dill
1 cup chopped eggplant (the flesh)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (the flesh)
½ cup rice
3 large tomatoes
5 cubanelle peppers
5 baby eggplants
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
14 oz diced tomatoes

Directions
Wash, clean and peel the baby eggplant (as you see in the picture).   Hollow out the eggplant and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the tomatoes. Hollow out the tomatoes and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the cubanelle peppers, cut the top, and remove the seeds. Set aside. Wash, peel and chop the onion. Set aside. Wash, peel and shred the carrots. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley and the dill. Set aside.

In a large skillet add the 1/2 cup olive oil, and the chopped onions. Sauté till lightly browned. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till cooked through. Add the carrots and the flesh from the eggplant and sauté. Add 1 cup of the diced tomato flesh. Add the 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup water and cook till the rice is slightly cooked. Add the salt and pepper. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large oven proof pan, 13x10 assemble the vegetables. Take one by one and fill with the mixture. When the pan is full and all the vegetables are stuffed, drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, the remaining cup of the chopped tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes. Add 1 can (14 oz) of water. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours, uncovered, till the vegetable are tender and slightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 15.708 oz (445.3g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272
Calories from Fat 124
Total Fat 13.8g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Cholesterol 26mg
Sodium 139mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.8g
Dietary Fiber 10.5g
Sugars 9.8g
Protein 13.8g 







Ground turkey spaghetti sauce or Makaronia me kima

Per my daughter’s request, I’m posting my Greek style Bolognese sauce or Makaronia me kima (pronounced ma ka ro nia me kee mah) , which approximately translates to “Spaghetti with meat sauce”, or as I have always called it “spaghetti sauce”. My daughter happened to walk in as soon as I finished making this sauce. She commented that the house smelled wonderfully from all the herbs and spices, and asked if I could make some and freeze it for her to have on hand, when she is on her own. Of course, I granted her request.

Bolognese sauce originated from Bologna, Italy, and while this style of meat sauce incorporates vegetables in it, like carrots and celery, the Greek style spaghetti sauce, like my mother used to make, omits these vegetables. I have tried it with shredded carrots and diced green peppers, when I have the time; but most likely, I will make it the way it is made below. The Greek version is quick and quite easy. No long hours of cooking so that the wine will evaporate like the Italian version. Within an hour, you have a sauce that you can serve either on whole-wheat pasta, gluten free pasta or over spaghetti. You can substitute the ground turkey with ground beef, as the actual Greek translation of “kima”(kee mah) means ground beef (my mother always made it with ground beef). Sprinkle some shredded romano cheese, or like my mother used to shred kefalotyri (pronounced ke fa lo ty reh) similar to romano cheese, or kasseri (pronounced ka se reh) cheese which is similar to provolone or muenster cheese but a bit harder when it’s aged. Enjoy!

Ground turkey spaghetti sauce or Makaronia me kima 

Makes 10 servings

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsps chopped garlic
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
15 oz tomato sauce
15 oz diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp chopped basil
1-1 ½ cans of water

Dice the onion and garlic. Chop the basil and parsley. Set aside. In a deep saucepan sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till browned. Continue stirring and add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add one–one and a half cans of water; let it come to a boil and then simmer for about an hour till most of the liquid is absorbed.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (183.5 g)
Amount per Serving
Calories 274
Calories from Fat 174
Total Fat 19.3g
Saturated Fat 3.8g
Cholesterol 69mg
Sodium 534mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.0g
Dietary Fiber 1.8g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 20.0g




Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce)


Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) is a traditional Greek winter food.  When I was working full time I would make this dish, on weekends – usually on a Sunday - and have left overs the next day.  It’s a dish that I avoided making often because of the time it consumed.  Of course, you are not going to make this dish every week, or you will get tired of it, like any other type of food that you eat often.  There is a less consuming type of cabbage rolls that you can make; and that is without preparing the filling on the stove; but instead mixing all the ingredients together raw.  The only thing you will need to do is boil the cabbage leaves.  I found that type of preparation though, a bit heavy on the stomach.  My mother will always cook the filling on the stove (as per recipe below).  In the past I used to mix it raw, but when I quit work, I decided to make it the way my mother used to make it.  And Dah! No heartburn, no acid reflux, no heaviness on the stomach (this is on individual preference; it does not affect some people like others).  So from then on, I decided, since I love this dish so much, to cook the filling. 

There is also another way of cooking the cabbage rolls, and that is baking them in the oven in tomato sauce.  Instead of cooking them on the stove, you layer the cabbage rolls in an ovenproof pan, in a single layer, pour a 14 oz can of tomato sauce on top, mixed with 1 cup of water, add the ½-cup olive oil, and bake at 350° for about one hour to an hour and a half.   This way is also very delicious.  But for now enjoy this wonderful dish in the Avgolemono sauce. 

Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) 

Ingredients (Makes 46 servings)

46 cabbage leaves

To boil the cabbage:

8 quarts of water for 1 large cabbage
2 large cabbages about 3lbs each

For the filling:

1 ½ lbs ground turkey
1 cup rice
½  cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
1 tsp salt or according to taste
½ tsp ground pepper
1 ½ cups water

For cooking:

2 1/2 cups water – enough to cover the cabbage rolls
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

Avgolemono - Egg and lemon sauce:

1 egg
½ cup lemon juice

Directions:

Wash and remove the outer leaves of the cabbage.  Place it in a large pot with water and boil.  As the cabbage leaves soften, remove the leaves by cutting them at the core.  Place them in a colander to strain.  When all the leaves are cooked, leave them in the colander to strain and cool.  Make sure that you don’t over boil the leaves, otherwise when you try to roll them, they will tear.  

In a large frying pan, add the olive oil, and saute the onions and the ground turkey.  Add the rice, salt, parsley, dill, pepper, and water and let it cook for 5-10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  The rice will not be fully cooked.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 

At the bottom of a dutch oven, place the small cabbage leaves, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. 
Take one large cabbage leaf, cut the core, and place a teaspoon of the filling on it.  Roll once covering the filling, then fold the sides and continue to roll till you make a nice oblong shape (see picture below).  Place it in the dutch oven and repeat, till done.  These will make about 2 rows of cabbage rolls – 46 pieces total.  Cover the cabbage rolls with the rest of the small cabbage leaves that you have leftover. 

Place the pot on the stove and pour the ½ cup olive oil, ½ tsp salt and 2 ½ cups water and let it simmer for 1 hour till cooked.  When slightly cooled, prepare the egg and lemon sauce. 

Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce):

Separate the egg yolk from the egg white.  Place the egg white in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, about ½ cup.  Beat the egg white till frothy.  Add the egg yolk and continue beating.  Add the lemon juice while still beating and slowly pour the mixture into the cabbage rolls.  Swish the pan around so that the egg and lemon sauce will distribute evenly.  Serve. 

 Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 serving (55.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97Calories from Fat 60
Total Fat 6.7g
Saturated Fat 1.2g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 71mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.5g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g
Sugars 0.6g
Protein 4.6g
The raw cabbage

The filling

Layering the bottom of the pan with the small cabbage leaves

Assembling the cabbage rolls

Adding the filling

Rolling the cabbage 

Folding the cabbage

The cabbage roll in the final folding stage

Layering the pot with the cabbage rolls - tightly together

Layering with the remaining cabbage leaves on top

The cooked cabbage rolls with Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) 

The finished product.  Delicious!




Ground Turkey Meatballs


Fried meatballs, French fries, fried banana peppers and even fried zucchini and fried eggplant were typical Saturday dinner foods while I was growing up in Greece. Saturday was the day that my mother used to do all the groceries (which is still very common there; everything is closed on Sundays in Greece, even now). Her day was packed from early in the morning till around 2:00 in the afternoon. She had to go to the baker for fresh bread to last till Monday; the butcher for meat to have for the weekend, the grocer to get milk and condiments, and the market for veggies. By the time she was all done it was time for everyone to gather for the mid- afternoon meal which was around 3:00-4:00 in the afternoon.

I used to go to school on Saturdays too. School there was 6 days – not 5 as it is here. (I am not sure, but I think now it is only 5 days). So when I‘d come home from school, my task was to help my mother with the food preparation and cooking. I used to love Saturday afternoons. All of us gathered in the house, no matter what the weather. Since these types of foods were mostly cooked in the summer, I remember the hot summer days, with all the doors and windows open, listening to the cicadas while most people were taking their afternoon siesta. The quietness of the summer heat, that you did not only feel but could hear… and yet our house was lively with conversation and recapping the week’s events. I loved those Saturdays and still remember them and cherish them. 

As for the meatball recipe, it is my mother’s recipe. She never used a cookbook or followed a recipe. She would just whip them up, and voila, we had tasty meatballs, that were practically gone by the time we all sat down to eat. And then, she would make more. The only difference with this recipe is that I use ground turkey instead of ground beef. I find ground turkey healthier and lighter on the stomach than ground beef. 

Enjoy!


Ground Turkey meatballs
Makes about 29-30 meatballs (about 1.5 oz each)

½ cup grated onion

¼ tsp crushed garlic

1.5 lbs ground turkey

1 cup dried bread crumbs

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
 
½ cup of olive oil for frying

Peel and wash the onion. With a cheese grater, grate the onion and set aside. Crush the garlic in a garlic press. Set aside. In a bowl, mix together the ground turkey, the crushed garlic, grated onion, the bread crumbs, the salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well together till all the ingredients are completely incorporated. Shape into 2” meatballs. In a frying pan, heat the ½ cup of olive oil, but not burning hot. Add the meatballs one at a time and fry till golden brown. You can omit this step and instead, place the meatballs in a cookie sheet and bake them in a preheated oven at 400° F for about ½ hour. Remove from the oven. 

You can either have the meatballs as appetizers or you can incorporate them in the marinara sauce, on my previous post, and serve over hot spaghetti. Take about 4 cups of the marinara sauce, add the meatballs, bring to a slow simmer till heated through, and remove from heat.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1.129 oz (32g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97
Calories from Fat 59
Total Fat 6.5g
Saturated Fat 1.3g
Cholesterol 23mg
Sodium 90mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.8g
Dietary Fiber 0.2g
Sugars 0.3g
Protein 6.7g

 






Greek Style Chili with ground turkey and vegetables


On a cold, snowy day, I decided to make something that will keep us all warm.  This chili is a combination of a Greek bean soup (that is very popular in Greece, that recipe at another post) and the Mexican chili.  Greeks make their own version (shall I call it chili?) of a bean soup but they use pork pieces or just plain beans.  Since we all love chili in our family, this dish combines Greek spices, like ground cumin and ground coriander, which are also popular in Mexican cooking, along with vegetables and a better-for-your-heart version, by using ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Top it with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and you have another variation of chili.  More like Greek style chili. 

Enjoy!!!!

Greek Style Chili with ground turkey and vegetables 

Ten (10) servings of 15oz each. 

1/3 cup olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a Dutch oven pot)
¾ cup diced onion
1.5 lbs. ground turkey
1 ¾ cups diced celery
1 ½ cups diced carrots
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1 14oz can tomato sauce
1 14oz water
2 tsps paprika
3 tsps chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
½ tsp coriander
1 15.5oz can of kidney beans
1 15.5oz can of red beans
1 15.5 oz can of cannellini or great northern beans


 Vegetable preparation

Prepare the vegetables by washing, cleaning and dicing the onions, carrots, celery and garlic.   Pour the olive oil in a Dutch oven.  Turn the stove on.  Saute the onions and garlic till translucent (don’t let the garlic burn).  Add the ground turkey and let it brown stirring constantly (see the picture below).  


Then add the carrots, celery, the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, and water.  Let it come to a boil stirring occasionally so that it won’t burn.  Lower the heat and simmer for ½ hour to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the veggies are soft. 

Open up the cans of beans and rinse under cold water to remove any sodium.  Add to the ground turkey/veggie pot and stir.  Heat it through, stirring constantly so that it won’t burn.  Once it comes to a full boil, turn the stove off and remove from heat. 


Serve with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, mozzarella cheese (mozzarella cheese is healthier than cheddar cheese), and some nice crusty fresh italian bread.



The nutrition facts below do not include the calories for yogurt or mozzarella. 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size                                         15.62oz (442.8g)
Amount Per Serving
                        Calories                                    536
Calories from Fat                                  232
% Daily Value*
Total Fat                                               25.8g                           40%
Saturated Fat                                       5.8g                             29%
Trans Fat                                              0.0g
Cholesterol                                           139mg                         46%
Sodium                                                 936mg                         39%
Total Carbohydrates                             28.4g                           9%
Dietary Fiber                                         9.7g                             39%
Sugars                                                 6.3g
Protein                                                 46.4g