15 days of sandwiches: Day 3 – Turkey and havarti with homemade ranch


Today my sister is leaving to go to medical school. I am so happy for her, but at the same time I am really sad that she is going to be moving. I have had so much fun back at our parent’s house with her this summer and it’s going to be strange to be here without her now. My brother is also leaving to start his sophomore year at college this weekend, so needless to say, my house is going to feel pretty empty.

The drive to Jen’s school in Atlanta is about 10 hours. Luckily my dad is driving up there with her, but they will definitely be needing lot’s of snacks to help them through the long drive. I figured since I am doing the 15 days of sandwiches I would make them some really yummy sandwiches to take with them. This one is so good. The homemade ranch really makes such a difference and makes this sandwich really special.

Ingredients
Makes 2 sandwiches

2 6 inch sub rolls (I used a ciabatta but any bread will do)
6 Slices turkey
2 slices havarti cheese
1 tomato, sliced
4 leaves of Bibb lettuce
2 Tbls ranch dressing (recipe below)

Slice your bread in half lengthwise and spread dressing down on one side. Layer with 3 slices of turkey, 2 slices of tomato, 1 slice of cheese and 1 tablespoon of dressing.

Enjoy!

Ranch dressing

1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
2 Tbls dill, chopped
2 Tbls chives, chopped
Zest and juice from one lemon
Salt/pepper

Combine all ingredients into a bowl. If your dressing seems to be a little thick, you can add some buttermilk or cream to thin in out. I omitted this because I like the consistency to be a little thicker for sandwiches.

Bye Jen and Pete!!!! Going to miss you both so much, but I know we will have lot’s of fun when we are back together!!

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Quinoa and Italian turkey sausage stuffed peppers

Most of the time, stuffed peppers are made with a mixture of white rice and ground Italian sausage made with pork. Although this filling is cooked inside of a vegetable, it is not the healthiest meal. These stuffed peppers were made super healthy by using quinoa instead of rice and turkey sausage instead of the pork. Not only did I cut out a significant amount of calories (each pepper is only 210 calories!!), but the flavor is almost better in my opinion! They are hearty and meaty and best of all – cheesy!!! Yum!

These don’t taste like health food at all and I am so sure that you will love them! They are a great “make ahead” meal too! Once they are assembled (and before you place them in the oven), they can be easily wrapped up and refrigerated or frozen until you want to bake them up. The green bell peppers that I used were HUGE, so they are definitely enough to feel like you have eaten a meal.

Ingredients
Makes 5 stuffed peppers

3 mild Italian sausage links, meat taken out of the casing
1 cup quinoa
5 green bell peppers, tops removed and insides pulled out
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
3 Tbl basil, chopped
1/2 jar prepared tomato sauce (I used Newman’s Own tomato basil)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup reduced fat mozzarella cheese
Salt/pepper
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pot, bring 2 cups of water and quinoa up to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated and quinoa is cooked through.

In a large saute pan, heat some olive oil. Add to the pan onion, garlic, and red bell pepper. Cook for ten minutes to allow veggies to soften. Add in turkey sausage. Stir around to break up the pieces of sausage into small, bite sized pieces. Cook for another 8 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, and basil. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble:

Place peppers cut side up in a large baking dish. Spoon quinoa mixture evenly into each pepper. Top with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and broil peppers until cheese is browned.

Serve immediately.

Spaghetti with turkey meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is such a comfort food for me. I grew up in a very Italian family and this meal was a weekly staple in my house. Of course I can’t say this recipe is as good as my mom’s – but it’s damn close ๐Ÿ™‚ . I do things a little different than my mom – and I’m sure some things are a little unconventional, but this recipe is a keeper.

Over the last year, I have gotten away from eating red meat. Traditional meatballs are made with a mixture of ground beef and pork (and they are soooo good!), but I needed a way to still be able to eat meatballs without using beef. That’s where the turkey came in. Personally, I feel that if you keep the other ingredients in the meatballs fairly traditional, you really can’t tell that there isn’t beef in them. And once they are covered in this amazing tomato sauce, forget about it! They are amazing. Of course if you are a meat eater, feel free to use the beef.

Anyways, I just spent the weekend with my sister and we made this meal at her house, but after raving about it to Mike once I got home, I had to make it again.

Ingredients

Meatballs

1 lb lean ground turkey
1 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 eggs
2 T. parsley, chopped
2 T basil, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 gloves garlic, chopped
2 T ketchup (sorry mom)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour two tablespoons on olive oil onto a baking sheet and set aside.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except ground turkey and mix well. If this mixture seems a little dry, add a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil. Once the mixture is well combined, add in ground turkey. With your hands, gently mix breadcrumb mixture with turkey. Once combined, roll into balls and arrange on your baking sheet. I like mine on the smaller side, but any size works.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place them in your tomato sauce to further cook.

Tomato Sauce

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 cup red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 16oz can diced tomatoes
Salt/pepper to taste

In a large stock pot over medium heat, saute onions and carrots until just starting to soften. Pour in the red wine and let cook until wine has reduced by 3/4. Add in both cans on tomatoes and bring to a boil (this is where you can add the meatballs). Lower your heat to a simmer and let cook for 3-4 hours.

Once your sauce has cooked for a few hours, season with salt and pepper. This sauce can be used for pasta, pizza, tomato based soups…this sauce is good for anything.

Enjoy!!!

Whole wheat lasagna rollatini

This is a really great “go to” meal for any of you who have really busy lives and don’t have too much time at night to make a really healthy and delicious meal.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are normally very busy days for me because I have class from 9:30 in the morning until 8:00 at night. On days like this, the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen cooking dinner – all I really want to be doing is laying on the couch watching mindless reality TV. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Today; however, I got a break in between my classes and came home and made this recipe. From start to finish it took me 30 minutes, and then when I got home from class, I just popped it in the oven and had dinner in no time.

The whole wheat noodles in the recipe really give it a hearty flavor, and you would never guess that there is cottage cheese in here instead of the traditional ricotta cheese. The addition of spinach is also a great way to sneak some greens into your diet.

Ingredients

1 box whole wheat lasagna
1 lb ground turkey
3 T olive oil
1 bag baby spinach
1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
16 oz cottage cheese (I used fat free, but any kind will work here, or you can just use ricotta cheese)
2 T fresh basil, chopped
1 egg
1 T italian seasoning
2 cups low fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt
pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil for you lasagna noodles (Make sure to undercook your lasagna noodles a little because we will be baking this and you don’t want them to overcook).

In a large skillet, heat 3 T olive oil over medium/high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until turkey is cooked all the way through, about 15 minutes. Once cooked, add in your bag of spinach and cook over low heat until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, mix together cottage cheese, egg, basil, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Once you turkey mixture has cooled, add it to the cottage cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Prepare your baking dish by spreading 1/2 of the crushed tomatoes and italian seasoning over the bottom of the pan.

To assemble, lay out one piece of lasagna at a time and add 1/4 cup of the filling over half of the noodle. Carefully roll it up and place into your baking dish. Repeat until you have used all of your lasagna noodles, or your baking dish is filled. Pour the remaining tomato sauce and cheese over top. Bake in the oven 45 minutes covered with aluminum foil. The last 5 minutes, remove foil and allow cheese to slightly brown. (This is a great make ahead dish. Once you finish assembling all of your rollatinis, just cover with foil and place in the fridge until ready to bake.)

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It is definitely a great healthy alternative to the extremely fattening original.

Turkey Enchiladas

Today was a great day. I made my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s and I FINALLY found their amazing Speculoos Cookie Butter. You have no idea, I have been searching for this for months! I am so excited. Right when I got home, I dug into it with a spoon – don’t judge ๐Ÿ™‚ This stuff is sooo good! It has the texture of peanut butter, with the flavor of a gingerbread cookie. You need to buy it. Go. NOW!

Anyways, after all of that excitement at Trader Joe’s, I came home and made some enchiladas. These were so good – best I’ve ever made. I switched it up a little and used some ground turkey and whole wheat tortillas to make them a little healthier, and then I found a can of black beans and some corn so I threw those in too. These enchiladas are so good and super filling. Two of them are definitely enough for one person, but the entire recipe makes enough for a whole family.

Even though Monday’s notoriously stink, today was a pretty great day ๐Ÿ™‚

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey breast
1 16 oz can black beans
8 oz tomato sauce
1 packet of enchilada seasoning (or enchilada sauce)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 T green chilis
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat, but any cheese will work)
1 package whole wheat tortillas
avocado
cilantro
greek yogurt

Pour one cup of water into bowl and dissolve all of the enchilada seasoning into it. Set aside

In a large saute pan, brown turkey over medium/high heat until it is cooked all the way through. Once your turkey is cooked, add 1 cup of the seasoning and your tomato sauce to it and let it come to a boil. Add in your corn and black beans and cook until the corn and beans are warmed all the way through. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of cheese and stir to combine. Set aside.

To assemble the enchiladas, lay one tortilla flat and pour 3 tablespoons of filling into the middle of the tortilla. Roll them up lengthwise.
Add 1/2 of the remaining seasoning sauce to a baking dish and layer your enchiladas in one single layer. Once all of the enchiladas are in the baking dish, cover with remaining 1/2 of seasoning sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes – until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted.

Top with any toppings you like – I used avocado, some non-fat plain Greek yogurt, and cilantro.

Enjoy!!