Tag Archives: sausage

Zucchini & Mushrooms Stuffed with Ground Turkey and Quinoa

Do I seem to be on a quinoa binge lately? Honestly, I am not obsessed with the stuff, although I will admit we have been eating a lot of it, and why not? The more I read about this Miracle Grain the more benefits they seem to discover; everything from it being a complete protein to being heart healthy. Consider that and the fact that it tastes pretty good and it’s not really a stretch to go with the quinoa over the rice or the mashed potatoes.

Add versatility and value (a cup or two of quinoa goes far!) to the mix and I’m sold. Just recently I have eaten quinoa as a side dish (yep, like rice or mashed potatoes), in casseroles, and even in salads, the latter of which was a favorite that I plan to explore even more in days to come. I have “heard” of quinoa in bars, like granola, in flakes like cereal, and even cooked like a risotto which frankly I do have my doubts about. Some things, such as a velvety, creamy risotto, are indeed sacred!

Nevertheless, tonight I was pondering how to use some plain quinoa I had left over from a previous dinner along with a package of ground turkey. I didn’t want to cook another casserole and meatloaf with quinoa just sounded a bit too farfetched so I thought…how about a stuffing? Yeah, a stuffing sounded good, especially a sausage stuffing with a little kick and maybe some nice gooey melted cheese.

This recipe made such a large batch that I only used about half to stuff enough zucchini and mushrooms for Kathy and I with leftovers for lunch. The rest will freeze well for a another meal which definitely makes the recipe a great way to stretch those dinner dollars! Pre-cooked brown rice, barley, or even bulgur would all work very well in place of the quinoa.

Quinoa and Ground Turkey Stuffed Zucchini & Mushrooms

For the stuffing…

8 oz – Medium Mushrooms (I used 8 baby bellas)
8 oz – Medium Zucchini (3 whole)
1 Package – Ground Turkey (about 1.2 Lbs)
1 – Medium Onion, chopped
1 – 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
1- 9 oz Bag of pre-washed Baby Spinach
2 Cups – Quinoa, pre-cooked
½ Cup – Dry White Wine, divided
¼ Cup – Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup – Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Cloves – Garlic, minced
1 Tsp. – Fennel Seed, crushed
About 1 Tsp. – From McCormick Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder
Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Clean the mushrooms, removing and reserving the stems. Wash the zucchini well, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the centers to form a cup for the stuffing. Reserve the centers and chop them along with the mushroom stems.

Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, stir in the chopped mushroom and zucchini stems & pieces. Add the garlic and about 1 tsp. from the Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the onion and cook, stirring until the onion is translucent. Stir in the ground turkey along with the fennel seed and cook using a spatula to break up the turkey. Continue stirring and cooking until the turkey appears mostly cooked.

Add ¼ cup of wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits that have stuck to the pan. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until most of the wine has evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes then fold in the spinach and cook 5 minutes more.

Fold in the quinoa and 1/4 cup of wine and continue folding gently to incorporate. Remove from heat and fold in the parsley and parmesan cheese just before using.

To prepare the Zucchini and Mushrooms…

Cleaned Mushrooms & Zucchini (from above)
McCormick Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder
Olive Oil
Sharp Provolone Cheese slices

Pre-heat the oven to 425 Degrees. Place the Zucchini and Mushrooms on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil then season with the Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder. Bake 10 minutes and remove mushrooms, bake the zucchini 5 minutes more. Drain any juices from the mushrooms into the stuffing and mix well.

Mound stuffing onto the mushrooms and zucchini. Drape with enough Provolone Cheese to cover and bake 10 minutes more.



Penne with Italian Sausage, Fresh Tomatoes, Feta, & Herbs

For a weeknight dinner that is super easy to prepare try this Penne with Fresh Tomatoes, Feta, and Herbs. Want to mix things up a bit? Replace the sausage with bite sized cubes of cooked chicken or turkey breast, use whole grape tomatoes instead of chopped, or add capers and chopped green & black olives for a real Mediterranean twist. This pasta is great served with salad and a hunk of crusty whole wheat baguette and makes more than enough for lunches the next day.

Penne with Italian Sausage, Fresh Tomatoes, Feta, & Herbs

2 pounds tomatoes, halved, seeded, chopped
1 16 ounce package Chicken or Turkey Sweet Italian Sausage, sliced diagonally, browned well, and drained
1 cup green onions, green and white parts diagonally sliced
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon, chopped fresh garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 13.5 ounce box Whole Grain Penne pasta

Mix first 8 ingredients in a large pasta bowl. Set mixture aside.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Add hot pasta to tomato mixture and gently toss to coat. Add Olive Oil, Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently toss.

Italian Sausage Turkey Meatloaf

This recipe is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf recipe, which you will find at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/turkey-meatloaf-recipe/index.html. Her recipe is one of my favorite turkey meatloaf recipes and makes enough for a crowd! The version below cuts down on the size by half and boosts the flavor by adding an Italian flair. Believe it or not I originally came up with this version because the turkey italian sausages at Publix were nearly $2.00 a pound cheaper than the packaged ground turkey.

In this recipe I can’t stress enough to “Coat the Meat Loaf very generously all over with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and Italian spices”! This really does boost the flavor and forms such a great crust that I am tempted to nibble all the way around the outside of my leftover meatloaf sandwiches just like when I was a kid.

Italian Sausage Turkey Meatloaf

1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 Tbsp. low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 package ground turkey (About 1.25 Lbs.)
1 package sweet Italian turkey sausage (About 1.25 Lbs.)
¾ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 large egg and 2 large egg whites, beaten
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Italian spices

½ cup ketchup
½ tsp. ground coriander
1 splash Louisiana hot pepper sauce
1 splash apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a sauté pan, over medium low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf until the onions are translucent (but not brown) approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire, broth, and tomato paste and stir until mixed well. Simmer until just heated through then remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Line a sheet pan with foil then set a foil wrapped cooling rack on the cookie sheet. Using a toothpick or a skewer poke drain holes in the foil on the cooling rack. These should be spaced roughly one drain hole every inch or so.

When the onion mixture has cooled somewhat, combine the ground turkey, Italian sausage (removed from casings), bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Gently fold the mixture until well mixed and shape into a loaf on the prepared cooling rack. Coat the Meat Loaf very generously all over with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and Italian spices (I used a store bought grinder with a mixture of Italian Spices including garlic, red pepper, and rosemary.)

Place the meat loaf in the oven and bake for one hour. (Note: If you place a pan of hot water on the shelf below the meat loaf this will keep your loaf from splitting.) Meanwhile, combine the ketchup, coriander, hot pepper sauce, and vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir until well mixed and heated through. When meat loaf has cooked one hour, carefully remove it from the oven and coat evenly with the ketchup glaze. Return the meat loaf to the oven and bake 30 minutes more.

Allow the meat loaf to rest 15 minutes before slicing.