CrockPot Turkey Chili Stew

Yep…you read that title correct!  I make Turkey Chili Stew.   I used to call it chili, but when I would describe it to people, it was decided that it was more of a stew because of all the vegetables that are in it.  Call it chili, call it stew…doesn’t matter because it is so tasty!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1c raw onion
  • 1/2c diced red bell peppers
  • 3 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained (optional)
  • 1 can (14.5oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6oz) tomato puree
  • 2.5 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp crushed black pepper

 

First brown the turkey in a pan.   Then you can line your crockpot with a crockpot liner.   Add all of the ingredients to the crock pot except spinach.  Add spices to the mixture.

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Now add the spinach on top.

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Cook on low for 7 hours.  Stirring occasionally.

Seven hours later….your house smells like chili.  It’s the perfect comfort food on a cold day.

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Unfortunately, the picture does not do it justice.  I know that it isn’t very pretty, but it is delicious and very healthy!

 

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

For the past week, I have been apart of a weight loss challenge group.  For the most part, I eat really healthy.  But like everyone can relate to, I have been slacking on my diet and putting on weight.  Now, it wouldn’t be so bad, but not only have I slacked off on my diet, but I have not been working out.  Not eating right and not going to the gym is the recipe to gain weight!

After a friend on Facebook posted her before and after pictures of her weight loss journey, I thought that I would try this out and see if I could get results.  The formula is simple, eat the right type of foods in the right portions and workout.  It’s that simple.  Easy, no.   Life makes it hard.  You have work, kids, and chores.  Things get in your way.  But you have to stick with it.

Going through this challenge has been hard on me because I have not been able to make some of my favorite meals because of being on calorie restriction.   Although one of the first things I am making will be my sweet potato pizza!  While Paleo, it is higher in calories because of the sweet potato and almond flour, but it is great for a post workout meal!  Over the past few days, I have pretty much been eating the same thing over and over again.  Grilled chicken, sauteed or roasted vegetables, an approved carb option, fruit, yogurt, and my protein shake.   But after a while, you want something different.  Which is why tonight I am having quinoa stuffed bell peppers!  It isn’t pizza, but it is super tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 2 bell peppers (red is my favorite bell pepper, but you can pick an color you like)
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (or beef if you prefer)
  • 1/4c chopped onions
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1/4c yellow or green squash (or both!)
  • 1/4c cooked quinoa
  • 1/3c salsa (the salsa is to flavor your cooked quinoa)
  • 1/4c of your favorite cheese

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.   While your oven is heating, you need to take the tops off of the bell peppers and make sure that all of the seeds are out.   Once the seeds are out, place the bell pepper in a pot of boiling water.   Cook the peppers for 8 minutes.  Make sure about halfway through you rotate the peppers.  Once finished, dump the water out of the peppers and set aside.

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While the peppers are cooking, brown the ground meat (turkey or beef) in a tsp of olive oil.  I like to season the meat with garlic powder, ground pepper, and chipotle pepper.   Once it is ground, put in a bowl to cool while you cook your vegetables.  I like to cook mine in 1 tsp of olive oil.  I cook the onions, celery, and squash until the onions start to caramelize.  Add the spinach in last for 1-2 minutes until it is all wilted.

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Put your vegetables in with the cooked ground meat.

Mix the cooked quinoa with the salsa.  Combine the salsa quinoa with the vegetables and meat.  You can either mix your cheese in the entire mixture, or you can place it on top of the bell pepper mixture.  I like to mix mine in with the ingredients instead of put it on top.

 

Before cooking

Before cooking

 

Once the peppers are stuffed, bake them for 20 minutes.

After baking

After baking

 

Let the pepper cool, cut in half and begin eating!

Yum!

Yum!

 

This also makes a great leftover for lunch the next day!   Hope you enjoy this nutrient packed and gluten free dinner!

Butternut Squash Lasagna!

Earlier this week, I made the most amazing lasagna I have ever made.  No seriously.  I was skeptical at first, but after tasting it, I don’t think I will ever make a different lasagna.   Butternut squash lasagna is going to be made in our house at least once a month, and once you try it, you will agree.

I am just going to let you know what I used, but feel free to add whatever you like for the fillings.  That’s the great thing about lasagna!  You can put whatever you want in it!

The best thing about this lasagna is that you can eat several pieces and not feel guilty!  Unless you eat the entire lasagna in one sitting and don’t share it with anyone!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 15 ounces of tomato sauce (now you can go the super easy route and just get a jar of pizza sauce, or you can take your tomato sauce and season it with basil, parsley, and oregano.   It’s your choice, but either way, it will turn out great!)
  • 1/2 pound of browned ground meat (I use turkey)
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into small pieces
  • Fresh spinach
  • Caramelized onions
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

The first thing you need to do is prepare your squash.   I have yet to figure out a way to peel this squash without fear of cutting a finger or two.  Guess I need to do it more and get a better handle on that, but until then, this is how I do it.  I first cut off both ends, and then I stand it up and slice off the outer skin.  I know that there is a better way to do this, because when I do this, I end up making it look like a 3 year old tried to do it.  The squash is not smooth, it is beat up and there are bumpy edges everywhere.  😦  OH well.  Even if your squash looks like this after you peel it, it doesn’t affect the taste at all.  🙂

After you scoop out the seeds, cut the squash in half.   To make the lasagna “noodles”, you will need a julienne slicer.   You could make the noodles by slicing them directly off of the squash, but then you have to worry about not cutting off your finger and making sure that they are of equal width so it cooks evenly.    I also liked using the slicer because it made it go by quicker.  🙂   Depending on the size of baking dish you use, will determine how much of the squash you need to slice.  I used an 8×8 glass baking dish.

After you get the squash sliced, meat browned, bell pepper or whatever else you want in your lasagna prepared, you can begin putting it together!  I like to put some sauce on the bottom of the dish before my first layer.   Then start layering noodle, sauce, meat/veggies, cheese and repeat until you have reached the top of your dish.

Butternut Squash Noodles

I got about 3 complete layers before I ran out of room.

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I wish I had fresh mozzarella.  That would have made this even better!  I only had the bagged shredded cheese.   It was still fantastic, so don’t count the bagged cheese out!

Once your lasagna is assembled and the oven is heated, bake it for 30 minutes.   I actually baked it for 40 minutes.  I do not recommend doing this.  I checked it at 30 minutes, cheese was bubbly and starting to brown.   My plan was just to leave it in for a few extra minutes, which turned into 10 minutes….and cheese was browned all right.  Not burned, just browned all over.  Don’t do what I did.   Take it out after 30 minutes.   Let it sit for a few minutes and then cut and serve!

I wish I had an after picture to show you.  But I was so hungry that I just put a piece on my plate and ate it without thinking!  When I make it again I will edit it back into this post.   This also makes great leftovers!  I took it to work the next day and all of my coworkers wanted some!

Hopefully you enjoy this lasagna as much as I do!  I can’t wait to hear how your butternut squash lasagna turns out and what you put in it!