Let’s talk about turkey! It’s hard to picture a holiday dinner celebration without the turkey. Thanksgiving is coming, but don’t just think of the holiday; now, turkey seems to be a staple on salads, sandwiches, and ground for tacos, spaghetti, burgers and in chili.
Turkey comes as the actual bird (fresh or frozen), ground and processed, as you find in the deli case.
Here are a couple of quick facts about turkey:
- Turkey should cook until it’s internal temperature reaches 165°F to reduce the risk of food borne illness.
- Dark turkey meat generally contains more vitamins and minerals but also has more fat content and calories than white meat.
- Removing the skin of a turkey also removes much of the fat content. It is easy to remove the skin to eat a leaner, less fattening meal.
How do you prepare your turkey? Try it differently each time you cook a bird or even a breast. It is delicious baked, roasted, grilled, fried, smoked, rotisseried or even slow-cooked. Regardless of how you prepare it, always remember that the internal temperature should reach 165°F at its thickest part.
The nutrients in turkey depend upon the cut. Although the breast of the turkey has less fat and calories than most other cuts of meat, do not assume that just because a product is made of turkey that it’s better for you. If you make turkey burgers, the amount of dark meat in the ground turkey can make your burger have just as much saturated fat as a beef burger. Be sure you are eating the white meat when preparing meals with ground turkey.
Processed turkey (including hot dogs and turkey bacon) are high in sodium. If purchasing turkey from the deli counter, the store should be able to tell you which brand of turkey will meet your dietary needs. Even pre-packaged, frozen turkey burgers can be full of salt and preservatives, so always remember to read the labels. Again, just because it’s turkey doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you.
When purchasing, go for fresh, lean, organic turkey that is pasture-raised without antibiotics. Factory-farmed turkey is generally injected with salt and other preservatives during processing. To avoid too much salt and preservatives, choose unprocessed turkey.
You now know how to choose turkey, so let’s talk about turkey and adding it to your diet. A fresh or frozen turkey is generally available year-round, so it’s an easy addition to your menu planning. Try adding turkey in some of these ways:
• Add it hot or cold to a salad for added protein
• Use it instead of chicken in curries
• Add it ground to casseroles, tacos, spaghetti sauce, or anywhere you would previously have used ground beef
• Make your own stock from the turkey bones and add the meat to soups
• Combine toppings like lettuce, tomato, and mustard to make a great lettuce wrap with sliced or ground turkey
• Make delicious burgers and meatballs
Classic Roast Turkey (in your air fryer)
- Air Fryer
- 1 bone-in turkey breast about 4 lbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- Pat the turkey breast dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Put the chicken into the air fryer basket and drizzle with olive oil. Rub with herbs and garlic.
- Turn on the air fryer to 400°F for 30 minutes. When timer expires, reduce temperature to 350°F and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy. The thickest part of the turkey should register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Let turkey rest for 10 minutes, carve and serve.
Turkey Pot Pie Soup
- 3 ½ cups bone broth
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp butter or ghee
- 2 carrots sliced
- 3 celery stalks sliced
- 1 small sweet potato diced
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cups cooked shredded turkey
- 5 sage leaves finely chopped
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp dried sage
- salt & pepper to taste
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the onions, carrots, potato and celery. Let cook until onions are soft.
- Add the broth and cover allowing to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes have softened.
- Add the turkey and herbs, allowing them to heat through.
- Add the coconut milk. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Turkey
- Slow Cooker
- 1 ½ lb boneless skinless turkey breast
- Celtic sea salt to taste
- ½ medium onion quartered
- 3 stalks celery chopped
- Coarse ground black pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups chicken broth
- ½ tsp poultry seasoning
- Lightly salt all sides of turkey breast and place in bottom of slow cooker.
- Add onion, celery, pepper and bay leaf.
- Stir poultry seasoning into broth and pour over the turkey.
- Cook on low heat for 4 hours or until internal temperature of turkey reaches 160-165°F.
- Serve with steamed green beans and a side salad or other side dish of your choice.
Roasted Cauliflower Salad
- 2 lb head cauliflower quartered, cored and sliced 1/4" thick
- 5 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 tsp coriander seeds smashed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 green onions finely chopped
- ¼ cup golden raisins chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup unsalted roasted almonds chopped
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley
- Crumbled goat cheese for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F and place rack in the lower third of the oven.
- On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower with 2 Tbsp oil, coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange in an even layer. Roast until golden brown and tender, about 22-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, remaining oil and about 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Stir in green onions, raisins and cranberries. Let sit, tossing occasionally, while cauliflower roasts.
- Toss roasted cauliflower with vinaigrette. Fold in almonds then arugula and parsley. Serve sprinkled with goat cheese if desired.
One-Pan Holiday Dinner
- ¼ cup melted butter or ghee divided
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2 lb boneless skin-on turkey breast
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar divided
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 medium sweet potatoes cut into 1" cubes
- ½ lb Brussels sprouts ends trimmed and halved lenghtwise
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
- 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Combine half of the butter with rosemary and thyme. Cover turkey with mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in the middle of prepared sheet pan.
- In a large bowl stir together remaining butter, half of the sugar and maple syrup; add sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Spread potatoes across one side of the pan. Roast for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wipe bowl clean. Add Brussels sprouts, oil and garlic powder and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a small oven-safe dish, combine cranberries, juice and remaining sugar. Remove pan from oven and stir potatoes. Add Brussels sprouts and dish of cranberry to remaining area on the pan and roast until turkey is cooked through, potatoes are soft, cranberries have burst and Brussels sprouts are crisp tender, about 25 more minutes.
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