This is one of my family's favorite and easiest bulk meal prep meals. I cook once and have at least 2 family dinners out of it, sometimes 3 or 4. I made sure to have a couple of batches of this in the freezer for when baby arrived too. It's also an incredibly easy recipe to modify. You can use whole wheat pasta, gluten free pasta and swap in ground beef for the turkey. You could also use nutritional yeast as a substitute for the cheese if you want to make it dairy free.
I like to use a cast iron skillet when I stir fry the meat and veggies together because then I can just slide that same skillet into the oven for the batch that I'm going to use for dinner that same night once I add in the pasta and cheese. Less dishes are always a win!
Here's what you'll need for this simple family crowd pleaser!
-2 x 1 lb boxes of pasta
-1 package of frozen, chopped spinach or 2-3 cups fresh spinach
-1-1 1/2 lb of lean ground turkey
-2 x 28 oz cans tomato sauce plus 1-2 cups additional sauce for topping when baking - each dish
-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese plus additional for topping when baking each dish
-2 tsp garlic powder
-2 tsp oregano
Prepare the pasta according to the package directions While the pasta is cooking, spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray, heat on medium heat and add the ground turkey to the heated skillet. Pan fry the turkey until fully cooked and there is no pink meat throughout. Drain the turkey of any excess water. Prepare the frozen spinach in the microwave or on the stove top based on the directions on the package. Once the spinach is cooked, drain of any excess water and use a fork to separate all of the spinach and ensure it is not frozen anywhere in the middle. If using fresh spinach, add it to the turkey and stir fry until cooked and significantly reduced in volume.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain to remove the water and return the pasta to the large pot. Add in the turkey, spinach, 2 large cans of tomato sauce, the garlic powder and oregano. Stir until well combined. Add in 2 cups of shredded cheese and stir again. Prepare 2 casserole dishes by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and pour half of the pasta into each prepared dish. For the dish you are cooking now, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, spread an additional 1-2 cups of sauce on top and sprinkle some extra cheese on top. Cover & bake for 30-40 minutes until cheese is melted and dish heated throughout.
For the dish you are placing in the freezer, allow to cool, cover, label and store in the freezer. When ready to use the freezer dish, transfer to the fridge approx. 2 days ahead of time. Top with additional sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes until heated all the way through.
Enjoy a night off of cooking!
chicken fajita soup
You know how much I love my roast chicken dinners if you've been following me for even a minute. I'm slowly compiling all the things I make out of my roast chicken left overs. I've said it before and I'll say it again and again: the roast chicken dinner is the boss of meal prep. It makes one hell of a nourishing meal. It's great for so many left overs and it's wonderful on the budget.
This recipe is one of my left over favorites and it is so easy to put together. This recipe uses the broth from my initial chicken dinner, as well as the left over meat. The nice thing about this recipe is that I'm going to give you some measurements, but you can really customize it based on your preference and what you have on hand. I had a little over a cup of cooked chicken left over when I made this soup last, but you can totally use more if you have it. Want less beans? No problem. The flavors will all still be there.
Here we go!
-6 cups of chicken broth (this is approximately how much broth I get from 1 roasted chicken)
-1 + cups of shredded, cooked chicken
-1 can black beans
-1 can diced tomatoes or 1-2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
-1/2 cup rice
-1 bag of frozen corn or 1 can of corn kernels
-1 bag of frozen peppers and onions or 1-2 cups chopped fresh peppers/onions
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 TBS chili powder
-1 tsp onion powder
Place all ingredients into a large pot on medium heat. Allow to come to a boil and then reduce, simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, avocado and tortilla chips! Get warm and enjoy!
crock pot sweet potato apple curry
My father always loved curry. I'm not sure if it's an Irish take out thing, but he always asked for curried chips (AKA french fries) whenever we ordered out. My mom would often make a curry with whatever vegetables were around and I fell in love with Trader Joe's curry sauces once I was out living on my own and responsible to feed myself. It's one of the things I stock up on whenever I have the opportunity to get to a Trader Joe's.
I have absolutely no Indian cooking instruction or cookbooks and I may even be using the word "curry" loosely, but I love this recipe. I don't know that apples are traditionally put in a curry but I love the warm sweetness that they add to the dish and you'll learn quickly that I love apples in savory dishes. This meal is so simple and can be put together with items in the pantry. The fanciest ingredient I use here is some fresh cilantro for a garnish, which adds a nice cool flavor but it totally optional. I find this dish to be a warming, nutritious, tasty and a budget friendly meal that is a great fit for a cold, winter night. Annnd...you throw it in the crock pot and the crock pot takes care of the rest. Hooray!
So here's what you'll need to get going:
-1/2 onion- chopped
-1 apple - peeled and chopped
-2 TBS olive oil
-2 medium sweet potatoes- peeled and chopped into chunks
-1 can of coconut milk
1 TBS curry powder
-1 tsp tumeric
-1/2 tsp ground coriander
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the 2 TBS olive oil. Add the chopped onion and stir fry for approximately 2 minutes when it begins to soften. Add the apple and continue to cook with the onion for 3-5 minutes. Put the onion, apples and sweet potatoes in the crock pot. Pour in the entire can of coconut milk. Add the curry powder, tumeric, coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir loosely to combine. This kind of looks like a hot mess at this point but trust the process. Cook in the crock pot on high for 3 1/2 hours and give it an occasional stir once in a while. Serve warm over rice, cauliflower rice or with a piece of warm naan bread.
I get this dish cooked up and use for lunch for a few days in a row. Easy peasy!
New England wife, mom & home baker. Faith, food, fitness, baking, cooking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.