Warm Turkey and Rice Salad

I found a stuffed turkey roast for $2.83 today. The cheapskate in me was beyond thrilled, and suffice to say, tonight was destined to be a winner winner turkey dinner.

The beauty of this recipe – which I’ve had in my back pocket for many years now – is that it is so hands off and easy. Sure, the turkey takes over an hour to roast, but you cook it in the container it’s sold in, and while it does its thing, you’re free to do as you please. Then, with all of 5 minutes of active cooking time, which you can do any time within the next 24 hours (although if your bird cost you less than 3 dollars, I recommend cooking and eating it immediately!), the most simple ingredients become something truly wonderful. It’s a 500 calorie dinner that fills you up and feels like it should be a whole lot naughtier, and still yields leftovers for the next day (or to be fought over by the husband and nearly-teenager, as is so often the case in my house now).

Of course, you can cook the rice from scratch… but you do lose a little of that lazy-dinner feel in doing so. And sometimes, we all need a lazy dinner!

Ingredients

900-1.1kg stuffed turkey roast (my favourite one to use is the Ingham Turkey Thigh roast with apple stuffing)

450g microwavable brown rice

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 medium zucchini, diced

60g baby spinach

1/3 cup craisins

Method

  1. Cook turkey to package instructions – expect about an hour and a half. Rest for 30 minutes, and either refrigerate until required or continue to step 2.
  2. Microwave rice to package instructions. Allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, roughly chop turkey and stuffing into bite sized pieces, and set aside in the pan juices.
  4. Heat a frypan over high heat, spray lightly with oil. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, add turkey to pan and cook to heat through.
  5. Add zucchini and tomatoes, and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften.
  6. Add the rice, and mix to combine and heat through.
  7. Remove from heat and stir through craisins and spinach. Allow spinach to wilt, then serve.

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Cherry Tomato and Zucchini Rice Bake

I wish I knew where – if anywhere – I’d seen this recipe, but I have no idea. I vaguely remember making something similar years and years ago with tuna, and feeling like the tuna ruined it, but I can’t even remember if anything other than rice was common to this dish. All I know is that I’ve been wanting a rice side dish that wasn’t fried rice all week, and kind of just threw it together and hoped for the best.

It worked. The husband ate the leftovers (AKA tomorrow’s lunch) as seconds, much to my horror. It was tasty yet simple (absolute perfect for a Wednesday night where I have a night of lesson planning ahead of me) but I fear that if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget what I did and then never make it again. And that would be tragic.

To add to the happiness surrounding this side dish, it was far fewer calories than I’d anticipated – just 235 per serve, making it an awesome dinner with some lean meat and more veggies – we added grilled pork loin and broccoli, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This calorie count is for a yield of 5 serves; For almost exactly 300 calories, you can have it serve 4, but with the meat and veg, one fifth was perfect. And would have been a perfect amount and calorie count for lunch, too. Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Ingredients

1 cup (200g) raw basmati rice

2 cups chicken stock

1 tsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely diced

1 medium zucchini, finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1tsp minced ginger

200g cherry tomatoes, cut in half (or quartered, if they’re a bit larger)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

2 eggs, beaten

Salt and pepper, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. In an oven proof skillet, add rice and stock and bring to the boil on stove. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until just tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Turn off the burner, place a tea towel over the skillet and firmly cover with a lid. Rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in another pan, heat oil over medium low heat. Add onions and cook for five minutes, until translucent. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add zucchini and tomatoes, and cook until softened but not coloured. Set aside until rice is ready.
  4. Stir vegetables through the rice. Mix in the parmesan and egg
    until fully incorporated, and smooth down with a spoon or spatula.
  5. Season well and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden and firm.

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Turkey Rissoles

Ok, I know these don’t look like much, and that rissoles are hardly the height of haute cuisine, but I also know that these humble meatballs are deceptively delicious, and deserve a special mention on this blog. I’ve been making these since… um… well, I remember feeding these to my eldest as a baby (I probably omitted the sweet chilli, but with how much Tabasco he puts on everything now, maybe not), and he turns 12 tomorrow. So, definitely very early in my cooking ventures. And they NEVER fail to please a crowd. They really don’t look particularly thrilling, but the Asian flavours from the sweet chili and oyster sauces give a flavour and texture that are just sublime. I actually forgot about them for a few years, then found a typed up recipe in a Google Drive folder, and now they’re enjoying a much deserved revival in our household.

Unlike a lot of rissoles, which are cooked in a fair whack of oil and use fatty beef mince (not that I have a problem with beef mince!), these are really light, and are full of vegetables. They clock in at just 100 calories apiece, which is quite respectable for a decent sized rissole, and when you add a salad, you get an amazing light meal that feels so much more special than the (almost no) effort that goes into making them. They’re also great as sliders with Asian salad or slaw, or cold the next day. Adults love them. Kids love them. Fat 10 month old babies love them. They’re the ultimate family favourite.

Serves 4

Ingredients

Oil spray

500g turkey mince

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

2 garlic cloves, grated

1 zucchini, grated

1/2 cup frozen peas

2tbs oyster sauce

2tbs sweet chilli sauce

Pepper to tasteM

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly spray a baking tray with oil.
  2. Combine all other ingredients gently, ensuring not to over mix.
  3. Divide into 8 patties, place on tray, and flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. Serve

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