Tuesday, 31 May 2011



It has been well documented on here that I don’t eat meat, just fish and all kinds of vegetarian stuff. However, meat definitely has its benefits (when cooked the right way and choosing the right kind of meat) and I do cook it often for my husband. I refuse to cook things like chicken nuggets or cheap beef patties. You don’t need to eat meat for every meal, every day (that isn’t healthy), so when I do cook meat, I can justify buying better quality meat to make a healthy and tasty meal. Apart from not wanting to subject my husband’s taste buds to frozen, processed, breaded “chicken”, it is not cook for his health and that is something I am always mindful of. I only cook lamb and beef on occasion, because it is not the healthiest, so the meat I cook the most is turkey. I think it is rally versatile as well as being cheap.

One of the great things about turkey is that it is a good source of protein. As well as being full of vitamin B6 and B12, it is also low in fat, so it can be a good substitute for higher fat meat, like beef. It has been shown to lower cholesterol when replaced for other meats.

Being a low carb food, it can help regulate your blood sugar levels. Served alongside healthy carbs, it is a great meal choice for meat eaters.

Most foods seem to contain something that combats cancer recently, and turkey is no different. It contains an amino acid called tryptophan which is needed by the immune system cells (T cells) that kill cancer cells.
Turkeys are not renowned for their happiness, but eating turkey can be a mood enhancer. Turkey is one of the best protein foods that increase serotonin levels, which can improve your mood.

As always, it goes without saying, the physical health of the turkey before it was slaughtered makes a significant difference in the nutritional content of it. Try to buy organic and free-range.

I have come up with a couple of recipes that use turkey as an alternative to beef and lamb. Turkey does not have as much flavour as these other meats, as it has less fat and the majority of the flavour is in the fat. However, you don’t just have to rely on fat to get flavour. Adding some extra herbs and spices is a great way to add flavour without adding to your weight.

Turkey meatballs – serves 2
You could make these as burgers rather than meatballs if you want, just make them into flat patties rather than balls.

-          - Half a pack of turkey mince
-          - 20g porridge oats (this might seem strange, but it is a replacement for breadcrumbs which is used to bind    the burgers. They are much healthier than breadcrumbs and make no difference to the taste.
-          - 6 slices of jarred jalapeños or a teaspoon of chilli flakes
-          - Half an apple, grated
-          - Half an onion, finely chopped
-          - 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
-          - Pepper to season

1)      1) Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

2    2) Make them into meatball shapes and put in the fridge for 30-60 minutes
3)      3) Gently brown them on a griddle or George Foreman for a couple of minutes each side and then put them in the over at 180C for 30 minutes.
4)      4) Serve with whole-wheat spaghetti and a home-made marinara sauce (I will blog this recipe another time)

Turkey moussaka – serves 2
Whilst most Greek people would have a fit at a recipe for a traditional Greek dish that uses turkey instead of lamb, it makes the dish lower in fat and it is just as tasty. If you want to turn it into a bit more of a treat, you can sprinkle for feta cheese on top, but I think it is creamy enough without it.

-          - Half a pack of turkey mince
-          - Half aubergine
-          - Half a potato, peeled
-          - 1 onion, chopped
-          - 6, finely sliced
-          - 1 tin of tomatoes
-          - 1 teaspoon of paprika
-          - 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
-          - 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint
-          - 300g 0% fat traditional, thick Greek yogurt
-          - 2 eggs

1)      Slice the aubergine and potato, spray with oil and cook in the over at 200C for 25-30 minutes
2)      Meanwhile, heat some fry-light oil in a pan and brown the onion and mushrooms. Add the mince and allow to brown, stirring occasionally.
3)      Add the tin tomatoes, paprika, coriander and mint and stir well. Allow to gently simmer for 10 minutes.
4)      In a bowl, whisk the eggs and then stir in the yogurt until a smooth sauce has formed.
5)      The aubergine and potato should be ready now. Take them out of the oven and put a layer of aubergine at the bottom of an oven dish.
6)      Cover the aubergine with the turkey mixture
7)      Top the turkey with the remaining aubergine and then layer the potato on top.
8)      Cover it all with the egg and yogurt mixture
9)      Put the dish in the over at 180C for 30 minutes or until it starts to brown.
10)   Serve with a big salad and some olives.

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