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Talking Turkey to Liven Up Your Meals

Posted Apr 24 2009 7:22am

A standard 3 1/2-ounce serving of white meat turkey, without the skin, has only a gram of saturated fat, which is even less than the same size serving of a chicken breast. Turkey is also a good source of B vitamins and many minerals, including iron, potassium, selenium, and zinc, especially in the dark meat.

If you buy a whole turkey, you tend to get more meat for your money by buying a larger bird. With a small bird, in the 12- to 15-pound range, much of what you get is bones, so you may be disappointed with the meager meat that results from all your hard work. If you have more leftovers than you can (or want to) eat in a couple of days, freeze the extra with a touch of chicken broth to help keep it moist.

"Rotisserie"-Roasted Turkey Breast

Rotisserie chicken is available in just about every grocery store in the country. It's a great convenience food, and a relatively healthy one as well. But if you're watching your salt intake, you may not be able to enjoy this tasty food regularly. Roast the turkey up out of its own fat (either on a rack or on foil balls) for a true "rotisserie" experience at home.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Yield: Varies based on weight of turkey, 6-ounce serving size

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 turkey breast, 6 to 7 pounds, with skin

4 tablespoons lemon pepper

1 tablespoon ground sage

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub the olive oil into the turkey breast. Place the turkey breast in a roasting pan with a rack. (If you don't have a rack, roll up 6 balls of foil and then place under the turkey in the roasting pan to elevate the turkey breast.) To get a rotisserie-like final product, you need to make sure the turkey doesn't sit in any fat as it cooks. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon pepper and ground sage. Sprinkle the combined seasonings evenly over oiled turkey breast. Place the roasting pan in the oven. Cook for 45 minutes at 400 degrees. Then reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees to finish cooking, approximately 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your bird. Cook the turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees with a meat thermometer.

Tip:Use this easy dry rub on any poultry you like. It's great with chicken, Cornish game hens, capons, and game birds.

Per serving (with skin):Kcalories 329 (From Fat 122); Fat 14g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 125mg; Sodium 589mg; Carbohydrate 1g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 48g.

Exchanges: 6 lean meat

Classic: Turkey Loaf with Portobello Sauce

Meatloaf is a homey food that became chic in recent years. You'll find it served in trendy gourmet restaurants, a witty addition to elaborate menus. This recipe is a dressed-up version that calls for ground turkey and is topped with fancy portobello mushrooms, those meaty giants you can find in the produce section of most supermarkets. Have this meatloaf for dinner and then in a sandwich the next day for lunch.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

The meatloaf:

Nonstick cooking spray

1 medium onion, minced

1 stalk celery, minced

1 pound lean ground turkey

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup fine bread crumbs

1/4 cup skim milk

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon pepper

The sauce:

2 teaspoons unsalted margarine (see the tip at the end of the recipe)

1 large portobello mushroom, cleaned and cut into small pieces (about 1 cup)

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. For the meatloaf, coat a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat until hot. Add the onion and celery. Sauté, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the turkey, parsley, bread crumbs, milk, egg white, garlic, thyme, nutmeg, and pepper. Add the onion and celery and mix well.

4. Form into a loaf and place in a well-coated loaf pan. Bake 50 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

5. For the sauce, melt the margarine in a saucepan placed over medium heat. Add the mushrooms. Sauté, stirring, until tender.

6. Remove from the heat. Add the chicken broth, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Return to heat. Cook until fragrant and slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

7. When the meatloaf is cooked, unmold, slice, and place portions on warmed dinner plates.

8. Ladle mushroom sauce over sliced turkey loaf.

Tip:Look for brands of margarine that aren't made with hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fatty acids.

Tip:Ground turkey is a great substitute for ground beef. Choose ground turkey without skin, for the greatest savings in the saturated fat department. Use ground turkey anywhere you'd use beef, such as pasta sauce, burgers, or casseroles.

Per serving:Kcalories 203 (From Fat 32); Fat 4g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 76mg; Sodium 243mg; Carbohydrate 11g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 31g.

Exchanges:1/2 starch, 4 very lean meat, 1 vegetable

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