Monday, March 28, 2011

Meals on Wheels

There are times in life that call for easy to make, easy to freeze, and easy to transport meals. These "meals on wheels" are great when you want to do take a dish to new parents, friends in need, or just to have on hand in the freezer. One of my all time favorites is based on a comfort food dish I ate regularly as a child. I revamped it for nutritional value. My family LOVES it!

Italian De-Lite

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 pound (box) whole wheat pasta (any short tube variety)
  • 2 cans no salt added diced tomatoes (can use the kind with added spices and herbs)
  • 1 bag of fancy shredded all natural cheese (Italian Blend and/or Mild Cheddar)
  • 1 small bag frozen corn
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • Panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Italian herb seasoning, chopped garlic, onion powder, seal salt, black pepper, garlic powder
In a large skillet or sauce pan brown turkey with a little olive oil, add mushrooms, and chopped garlic. Season generously with sea salt, garlic and onion powders, and Italian seasoning. While the mixture cooks, put on a pot of super salted water and cook pasta according to directions for al dente. Drain pasta when cooked and set aside.

When turkey is thoroughly cooked and mushrooms are tender, add both cans of tomatoes, do not drain. Add 1-3 cups frozen corn (depending on your taste preferences) mix and cover. Allow to simmer. Add drained pasta and half of shredded cheese. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with Parmesan cheese. Mix well until pasta is coated and cheese is melted.

Transfer mixture. There are a few ways to do this depending on your plans. This makes WAY more than a family of four will eat at one sitting, so I like to divide it up and freeze some for later. Just scoop into gallon sized plastic baggies or freezer friendly glass food storage containers if you are trying to reduce plastics in your home due to BPA. The portion you plan to bake and eat or deliver, spread into a glass baking dish. Top with shredded cheese, then breadcrumbs, then a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of garlic salt, and finally grated Parmesan.

This can go directly into your oven preheated to 375 uncovered until cheese is melty and bubbly and the top is golden brown. Or, you can deliver it covered with those baking directions to your recipient of choice. It can also be frozen or refrigerated in this state for future use, but it's best to let thaw completely before baking.

Since every ingredient was cooked before assembly, the baking time just needs to be sufficient to heat it through the center and brown the top.

Even the pickiest of eaters love this! And when done with turkey and whole wheat pasta, in exchange for ground been and regular white pasta, it's got everything you need nutrition wise.

*An optional way to boost nutrition and color is to add chopped baby spinach to the mix before adding the pasta, and let it wilt and cook down. It's a great source of iron and an easy way to "sneak" some greens into your kids' food without adding any flavor they could object to. Oh yeah, that's so ninja!


  1. This looks delicious! I am going to make this some night soon! :)

  2. Let me know how it turns out! I think the major key to remember is that you really have to use a lot of seasoning. The robust seasoning gives you lots of flavor, and no additional fat or calories! It's also one of those meals that are just as good as leftovers the next day:)

  3. This is absolutely our favorite meal! Thank you so much for putting this out here for everyone. YUM