Thursday, December 17, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Baked Potatoes with Spiced Turkey

Brrr! Baby, it's cold outside! I've been craving stick-to-yer-bones dinners like nobody's business, but hearty doesn't have to mean unhealthy. This dish was created with both of these details in mind: satisfying and not heart stopping!

Since school is out for winter break, Shug and I have turned our attentions to a very important pursuit: catching up on Dexter episodes. So, if you have a little extra time this evening to bake the potatoes, this dish will come together in the time it takes to watch an episode of your favorite show!

Baked Potatoes with Spiced Turkey
Serves 4
4 Russet baking potatoes, scrubbed clean with skins left on
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt
1 pound ground turkey breast, extra lean
1 onion, minced
2 carrots peeled and diced
1 1/2 t of ground cumin
1 t chili powder (or more if you like it spicier)
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 can of crushed unsalted tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
Sour cream (optional)
Pumpkin seeds for garnish

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Rub the cleaned potatoes all over with olive oil and sea salt. When they are all covered, throw them into the oven and let them bake for about an hour or until easily pierced with a knife. (Thanks, Joanna, for this neat way to cook potatoes!) Go back to watching your show.

When the potatoes are about 15 minutes away from being done (you may have to pause the show for this little bit of cooking), heat another squidge of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and carrots and saute until soft. Add all of the ground spices and the bay leaf. Sauteing the spices will infuse the olive oil with it's flavor and make your dish have a little more depth. Throw in the ground turkey breast and break up with your weapon of choice. Once the turkey is all cooked through, add the can of crushed tomatoes with all of the juicy goodness and the tomato paste. Mix until well incorporated and let simmer on low for a few minutes to heat the sauce through.

Sidenote - There is an amazing invention I've discovered! It's a tube of sun-dried tomato paste! You can squeeze out the amount you need like toothpaste and you can just stick the tube back in the fridge. No more throwing away almost an entire can of tomato paste when all the recipe calls for is a tablespoon! Ok, I'm finished with that unpaid plug for tomato paste in a tube.

Your taters should be piping hot and ready to come out of the oven. Place the potatoes in serving bowls and slice them open with precision, try to make Dexter proud of your knife skills. Pinch the outside of the potatoes and push in so their guts get all squishy and soft. Give the guts a little extra squirt of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Divide the turkey mixture between the potatoes and dress with a bit of the shredded pepper jack, sour cream, and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. Go finish your show and enjoy your dinner!

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