Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gasp! An update! Nobody reads this anyway...

Really. They don't. And if you do, well. Then I'm wrong. It happens. Occasionally.

So anyway. I've basically been very lazy in posting anything I make. I have made quite a lot, it's just.. I feel the need to give more information on what I made. And I just didn't want to do it. Partly because after I made it, I went on and on and on to people about it. And my best friend kindly puts up with it as we chat on AIM. He just does other things and lets me talk, throwing in random statements of understanding even though he read nothing. Yes, it sounds like he doesn't care, but he does. He humours me and lets me ramble. And I do the same for him. :]

This post is actually two things. I had been wanting to do something with ground turkey. Why?
Because I hadn't used it except for in Culinary Arts I last year. And even then, I didn't directly work with it. I did the dessert. I think that was when we did the lemon mousse/soup. The night I made it.. it was soup. Then the next day, I got to class, took it out of the fridge, unwrapped the pan, and.... it had separated. Crap. I tried to fold it together, but it didn't work. It was flat. I tasted it. It was still amazing. Just.. not mousse. I tried heating up some of it with extra gelatin we had.. but it didn't firm it. We just got globs of creamy, lemony gummies. I loved them. But the entree was stuffed shells. With homemade turkey sausage. 'Twas good. So I decided I would make my own shells with the ground turkey. Except.. not sausage. I also knew that if I used a whole pound of turkey for shells.. I'd be eating them for the next week. So I made lasagna with the rest of the turkey! With thin slices of zucchini instead of pasta! Which I ate for the next five days... And I still only got through half of it before I had to throw it out.

Turkey Base

1 lb ground turkey (I used 93/7)
half a medium sized onion, chopped
about 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper, optional

Heat up a large skillet and add he turkey. Once some of the fat from the turkey has rendered a bit, add in the onion, salt and pepper to taste, and crushed red pepper. Stir as you will, trying to brean the meat up as it cooks. Add in more oil if you need to. Towards the last few minutes of cooking, add in the garlic. (You can add it in the beginning if you'd like. I just fear burning my garlic, so I like to add it towards the end since it doesn't take too long to cook and I will still be giving whatever it is I'm cooking some flavour.)

That's pretty much it for that bit.

Stuffed Turkey Shells

1/3 of the cooked ground turkey mixture from above
about a half of a medium zucchini, chopped
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese, grated (I bought a wedge and just grated some in until it looked good)
about a pinch of oregano
7 or 8 jumbo pasta shells, a little undercooked
marinara sauce, about a cup or more, depending on how much you want for the shells

In a skillet, heat a bit of oil. Mix the zucchini with some oil, salt, and pepper. Add to the pan. Try to get one layer and let it go until the bottom starts to turn golden, then stir and let the other side turn golden as well. If you need to, you can cover the pan to let the zucchini steam a bit if it isn't cooking through. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, mix the turkey, zucchini, parmesan cheese, and the pinch of oregano. Spoon into shells. You could always cook up some mushrooms or peppers or such to add to the mixture. But the peppers and mushrooms didn't look to good at the store. So I didn't do it.

Spoon a bit of marinara into the bottom of a square 8 x 8 baking dish, place the shells in the pan, and spoon a bit more sauce over the tops of each, sprinkle a bit more grated parmesan cheese and bake in a 350º F oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. You can cover it if you'd like. I chose to just throw it in the oven as it was. I wanted those toasty, crunchy edges of shell.

Turkey Lasagna

2/3 cooked ground turkey mixture
about half a head of broccoli cut into florets, cooked, cooled, chopped
1 16-ounce container of ricotta cheese
12 ounces of mozzarella cheese, grated (My grocery store makes some on-site, so I got that.)
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (I just used my peeler to cut thin ribbons off.)
parmesan cheese
2-3 cups of marinara sauce

In an 8 x 8 inch square baking dish, spoon a little marinara sauce in to just coat the bottom of the pan. Lay down a layer of zucchini ribbons. Top that with some turkey, then marinara, then mozzarella, broccoli, ricotta, then grate on some parmesan cheese, and repeat the process. I wound up getting three layers out of it, ending with a top "layer" of sauce and mozzarella. You can also change up what goes next to what, or add in more things. I actually meant to add in some chopped, frozen spinach. But I forgot about it because it was in the freezer.

Bake the lasagna in a 350º F pre-heated oven for about 40-50 minutes, or until heated through. Again, you can cover it if you'd like, but I feared the cheese would stick to the foil. So I left it uncovered.

I really liked the lasagna.. but I should warn you.. the zucchini has a tendency to let out liquid as it cooks. I let the lasagna sit for a bit before cutting. Ha. I still got a rush of cheesy, tomato-y liquid fill in the cut out hole. It isn't bad unless you don't like that. I ate it like soup. It was amazing.
Yay for sun glare on cheese!

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