Saturday, December 24, 2011

Turkey & Bean Hotdish. (For Swimmers.)

I feed two growing teenage swimmers everyday. One happens to be nationally ranked. And a 15 year old boy. And a distance swimmer.  Remember all the talk in 2008 about how many calories Michael Phelps consumed everyday at the Olympics?  It’s real.  The amount of food consumed in my house is impressive. Fortunately, my new recipes are welcomed and I never have to worry if anyone is “hungry enough” to eat what I cook.  The time between school and practice everyday is open season on my refrigerator. (And you don’t even want to know how much I pack in school lunches everyday!) One thing I try to do is prepare hearty, healthy dishes that can be reheated after school. This hotdish – casserole for those not from the Midwest – is a dish that is quickly prepared- and just as quickly disappears at my house.
  • 1 pound extra-lean ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 stalks (or more) celery, chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used Italian seasoned, because it’s what I had in the pantry)
  • 1 ½  tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup small pasta (I used farfalline – mini bowties)
  • 1 cup water

In large stockpot, sauté onion, celery, and garlic until onion and celery are getting soft and garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat with a spoon and turning often.  (Note: extra lean ground turkey contains very little fat and therefore requires a bit more attention when browning than ground beef does, to keep it from over-browning and sticking to the bottom of your pan.)  Add both cans of beans, tomatoes, and seasonings.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in pasta and add water. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Add more water if necessary to keep the pasta submerged and the pot simmering. Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat later – it’s one of those dishes that improves with time!

Pear and Cranberry Tart.

I set out to make a rustic, free-form pear tart…and ended up making five of them!  Four of my tarts were pear & walnut, and one was pear, walnut & cranberry.  The recipe can be adapted for just about any fruit – just be sure to include more corn starch, flour, or potato starch if your chosen fruit is juicier. Stay tuned for a future attempt with raspberries… Until then, ENJOY this recipe!
Recipe for one tart
  • crust for 1 pie
  • 3 to 4 pears, peeled & sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp rounded cornstarch
  • ¼ c Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp sugar
If adding cranberries, also use:
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ c sugar
  • ¼ c water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place rolled out pie crust on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
If adding cranberries, cook cranberries, sugar & water over low heat for five minutes, until cranberries split open.  Set aside.
Toss sliced pear slices with lemon juice and vanilla.  Add cornstarch, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Toss gently.  Add walnuts and cranberries, if using.
Spread fruit over pie crust, leaving about an inch around the outside. Crimp crust all the way around, folding in slightly over fruit.  Brush edge of crust with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 35 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and fruit is tender.