Slow Cooker Turkey Pumpkin Chili

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I wasn’t lying when I said, “I could prove a person could live off pumpkin recipes for a few months.”  This recipe is one of our favorites.  Mine, because the slow cooker does it all and the kids because they love chili, as long as it is not too spicy.  For the past couple of years, I have made this on Halloween night.  Festive with the pumpkin and easy.  Let’s face it, no one wants to spend the evening in the kitchen while trying to get excited children in costumes and tending to the trick-or-treaters’ at the door.  So what better idea than to throw together something warm, delicious and comforting that will be ready whenever everyone is ready to eat?

This pumpkin chili recipe is even more perfect for this time of year by adding in pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!). Adding a little bit of cinnamon makes it even more inviting. It’s hearty and filling, and will keep all of your little ghouls and goblins warm and sated so they don’t all their candy while out. Which lets face it, here in western NY it is a crap shoot whether it will be warm or snowing.  There were many years I remember having a snowsuit over or under a costume!

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Serve it up with a slice of pumpkin cornbread, and dinner is ready with very little effort – because we all know that there is way too much going on to worry about what’s going to be for dinner!!

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Sorry for the short post today.  We have been having internet and server issues the past few days (hence the no posts in a few days) and I didn’t want to risk losing stuff.

Serving Size: 1 cup

Slow Cooker Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Favorite Fall Flavors added to a Quick, Comforting, Slow Cooker Classic!

15 minPrep Time:

6 hrCook Time:

6 hr, 15 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey (beef or chicken would work too)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 215.25-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • few drops hot sauce, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium saute pan, brown the ground beef.
  2. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.
  3. In a medium slow cooker, combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, pumpkin, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and hot sauce. Stir.
  4. Add in the cooked turkey and stir.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve with your favorite chili toppings and some cornbread!
Cuisine: Tex-Mex |

Notes

21 Day Fix: 1G, 1P, 1R, 2Y

Pumpkin puree counts as a purple, pumpkin chunks as a green. Same with tomatoes. Sauce and puree counts as a purple while chunks/diced or whole count as a green.

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Wholesome Pumpkin Maple Scones

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Gone is summer and the over abundance of zucchini.  On to my favorite season and everything pumpkin.  Seriously, I very well could prove that a person can live specifically off pumpkin and all its orangey goodness.  Just like it’s relative the zucchini, pumpkin can pretty much be put into any recipe.  Sweet or savory, it holds its’ own.  I love anything pumpkin (just look at my Pinterest page, its got its’ own board), with the exception of pumpkin pie.  No clue why, just not a pie person.   I think we have already established that I am odd, so please no saying, “but you haven’t tried mine.”  It’s not yours, and it’s not the filling, I really am not a {insert any type here} pie fan.  Sorry!  Bring on anything else pumpkin though!

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As I have stated before, I LOVE SCONES!  One of my favorites has always been Starbucks, pumpkin scones but at 450 calories, they don’t fit into my eating plan very nicely. Side note: I do not drink Starbucks coffee.  I only go in there for the pastries.  Sad, I know.

When most people see a scone recipe, they automatically think complicated and time consuming.  Not so!  They also think of scones as dry, crumbly,  fat-filled pastries. These healthy ones are anything but! They’re made from only wholesome ingredients—nothing refined or processed at all.

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One thing to remember when stirring everything together to make ANY type of scone is: DO NOT OVER-MIX THE DOUGH! Over-mixing does two things to scones: (1) it over-develops the dough, making the scones tough and chewy, and (2) it warms up the frozen butter, which ruins the light airy texture and turns the scones dense instead. Yuck! Just mix till the ingredients are barely incorporated.

Although they look really impressive, these Maple Pumpkin Scones are really easy to make! In just 30 minutes, start to finish, you’ll have the perfect snack for weekend brunches or treat to satisfy any sweet carb craving.

These little beauties are a must to make and bake!

Serving Size: 1 Scone

Wholesome Pumpkin Maple Scones

Full of warm fall flavors, these wholesome spiced breakfast treats are perfect for chilly mornings with a cup of coffee!

15 minPrep Time:

15 minCook Time:

30 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • Scones:
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen
  • ½ c pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 8 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 10 ½ tsp nonfat milk, divided
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix in the frozen butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork or shred the butter with a shredder until the mixture resembles a fine meal.
  4. Add in the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, and 10 teaspoons of milk, mixing until just incorporated.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions, and shape each into a ball.
  6. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, and flatten slightly.
  7. Brush over the tops of the scones the reamining ½ teaspoon milk.
  8. Bake at 425°F for 12-14 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.
  9. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  10. Once the scones have cooled, stir together the yogurt and maple syrup in a small bowl.
  11. Add to a small zip-topped bag, snip off the corner, and drizzle over the cooled scones.

Notes

21 Day Fix= 1 Yellow

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Healthy Slow Cooker Apple Butter

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In the area of NY that I live in, we specialize in three things food wise:  Garage Plates (that’s another discussion for another time), grapes/wine and apples!  We have to have one of the best apple farms just around the corner from us, so apples are one of our favorite thing to pick in the Fall.  This of course means we have A LOT of apples.

It isn’t always easy to eat all the apples so we tend to get creative with them.  Apple blossoms, apple crisp, candy apples, apple fritters, applesauce, apple pie, baked apples, apple cider, fried apples and today’s recipe; apple butter.  I feel a little like Bubba from Forest Gump.  There really is a lot you can do with them though.  Don’t even get me started on dips to go with apples.

So before I get myself craving a nice, hot apple crisp, let’s get on with the recipe.

Apples are slowly cooked in the crock pot with sugar and spices, caramelized to make this sweet thick dark apple preserve (like a spreadable apple pie) that’s great on toast, stirred into oatmeal, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, served over pancakes or biscuits, graham crackers, etc, and for savory dishes such as roast pork or on a sandwich.  One of my favorites is carved turkey sandwiches with apple butter and cheddar cheese.  Yum!

It is so easy to make! You can use any type of sweet apple you would like.  I used Empire because it is what we had but honeycrisp would be good too.  Just remember to dice the apples up finely.  AB1

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Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon

Healthy Slow Cooker Apple Butter

10 minPrep Time:

6 hrCook Time:

6 hr, 10 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 6 large sweet apples, peeled, cored, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar in the raw
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Place the apples in a slow cooker.
  2. Top with sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and stir well.
  3. Cover and cook high 5 hours, or low 10 hours, stirring once halfway, until the apples are tender and dark brown.
  4. Uncover and puree with an immersion blender or place in a blender and puree (careful, mixture will be hot). You can also use a potato masher.
  5. Cook uncovered, on high another hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  6. Let cool and spoon into jars or containers, cover and refrigerate.

Notes

Will keep in the refrigerator for one month.

Approx 35 calories per tablespoon

21 Day Fix: 1 Orange

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Frozen Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

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I hate when my kids are sick.  I know, no one enjoys when their kids don’t feel well.  Seems like school just started and we are already out.  This is the child that hardly ever gets sick.  He came home yesterday from school with a massive headache and a high fever.  Luckily, that is all he has.  He’s eating and drinking fine.  I’ll take it over the stomach bug any day but it still makes you feel horrible when you can’t fix it and make it better for them.  It also sends me into an over the top cleaning frenzy.  My house is clean and organized to begin with (thank you OCD) but I quite literally follow them around with cleaner, cleaning anything they touch.  I can’t help it.

Any who, as a treat to help me relax and calm down in the evenings, I made frozen dark chocolate peanut butter banana bites.  Can you say that three times really fast?  They are basically like the ones Trader Joe’s sell and I believe Dole also makes some.  Except I made them.  Now you can make these with whatever type of chocolate you prefer.  I am hands down a dark chocolate girl.  LOVE IT!!  I will chose that over milk chocolate or semi-sweet any day.  You also don’t have to add the peanut butter.  That is an added bonus but let’s be real, you’re going to because chocolate and peanut butter are awesome together!

All you do is slice the bananas (I do it kind of thin because it’s really cold on my teeth if they are thicker) and freeze them for about a half hour.

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Pull them out of the freezer and spoon a small glob of peanut butter or any nut butter on a slice and place another banana on top of the peanut butter to sandwich them together.

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I only did half of mine with peanut butter.  I left the other half just banana and chocolate.  If you don’t want to sandwich them, you can also melt the peanut butter and chocolate together and dip them in that.  Freeze the banana bites for another hour or so till they are firm.  Melt chocolate according to package directions and remove the bites from the freezer.  Dip half (or whole if you want) the bite into the chocolate and place it back on the wax paper.  Freeze for another 30 minutes.

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Violá, frozen banana bites at your finger tips!  Enjoy!

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Serving Size: 3 Banana Bites

Frozen Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

5 minPrep Time:

2 hrCook Time:

2 hr, 5 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 3 large bananas
  • 1/3 cup nut butter of choice
  • 1/2 cup melted chocolate of choice

Instructions

  1. Slice bananas into slices about ¼-1/2 inch thick.
  2. Spread a little nut butter onto a slice and sandwich two slices together.
  3. Place on wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid, at least an hour.
  4. Melt chocolate and remove frozen banana bites from freezer.
  5. Dip each banana bite in chocolate and place back on wax paper. Freeze for another hour.
  6. Transfer and keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe Type: Dessert

Notes

21 Day Fix: 1/2 P, 2 tsp, 1 Y

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Slow Cooker Chicken

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Let me introduce you to one of the easiest and most satisfying recipes ever!  Slow Cooker Chicken!  Five minutes of prep and the slow cooker does the rest!  You get tender, juicy chicken that falls right off the bone.  AND you get a few meals out of one chicken plus you can use the bones to make chicken stock!  Yes, whole chickens can be pricey sometimes but if you look at what you can actually do with it, the price is completely justifiable in my book.

Start with a whole chicken, 3-4 lbs to be exact (innards removed).  I used a Harvestland Organic Chicken.  Yours does not have to be organic, that was just my preference.  First thing you are going to do is rinse the chicken off.  Once you have rinsed it, take paper towels and pat the chicken completely dry.  Now, if you are anything like me, after placing the dry chicken on a baking sheet you are going to immediately wash your hands and bleach your sink.  Raw meat is skivvy to me so I must immediately clean right after it’s finished touching what it is touching.  Blah.

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Next comes the rub.  You’ll need onion powder, garlic, paprika, black pepper, thyme, oregano and sea salt. Or not. You can use a rub you already have, or make your own. just mix all the rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub the mixture all over the chicken. Don’t take the skin off. It helps hold in the yumminess. If you don’t want to eat the skin later, you can just peel it off when the chicken is done. Coat the bottom too. Leave no breast behind! Hee, hee!  Sorry I didn’t get a picture with the rub on the chicken.  My hands were covered in rub and by time I washed them I completely forgot!

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Break out some foil/parchment paper and make two small balls out of it for the chicken to sit on top of in the slow cooker. Flatten the balls out a bit and pour some water down in the bottom of the crock pot for steam….just don’t cover the foil balls. I think I had about ½ inch of water in total.

Place your chicken on top of the foil balls and wash your hands for the third time in this process.

Put on the lid and cook on high for 2 hours. Set a timer or if you have a programmable slow cooker, use that. After two hours, turn it to low and cook for another 5 hours. Your house is going to smell awesome!  Get your thermometer and test to make sure it’s done. It should read at least 160°.  As you can see, mine was WAY hotter than that.

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Slice it up and serve it for dinner.  We ate once of this meal and I had 4 cups of chicken left and the bones for stock.  So easy, so delicious! Fall comfort at it’s best!

Yield: 1 Whole Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken

5 minPrep Time:

7 hrCook Time:

7 hr, 5 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan Pink Salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano

Instructions

  1. Ball up two pieces of foil or parchment paper.
  2. Place in 5 quart or larger crock pot and pour ½ inch of water in the bottom.
  3. Rinse and dry the whole chicken.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the spices.
  5. Rub into the entire chicken.
  6. Place chicken on top of foil balls.
  7. Cook on high for 2 hours then switch to low and cook for more 5 hours.
  8. Test for 160 degrees on a thermometer.

Notes

Eat for one meal, then pick the chicken from the bones.

Save all the fat, bones and skin for chicken stock.

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Vegetable Pancakes

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I know what you are thinking; “Vegetables in pancakes?”

Yep!

You eat zucchini in breads, carrots in cake, why not combine those to make a yummy healthy breakfast food?  I am one of “those people” who could eat breakfast for every meal of the day.  LOVE IT!!  These are a great way to have your breakfast foods and sneak some veggies in at the same time!

I originally tried this with my Cottage Cheese Pancake recipe but with the zucchini, they didn’t set right and came out way to watery for my liking.  I decided to go with a whole wheat version instead.

My kids and husband actually love most vegetables so my intention is not to hide the vegetables from them, but if you have a child that is picky about veggies sometimes, you gotta do whatcha gotta do, to get the veggies in them!  These are the perfect way!

Serving Size: 3 Pancakes

Vegetable Pancakes

10 minPrep Time:

10 minCook Time:

20 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 beaten eggs or 1/2 cup egg beaters
  • 3 cups shredded veggies*

Instructions

  1. Preheat a griddle over medium heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the milk to the eggs and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until incorporated.
  5. Stir in the shredded vegetables.
  6. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour the batter into the hot griddle.
  7. Cook for 2-4 minutes and then flip and repeat. (it’s time to flip when bubbles rise to the surface).
  8. Plate and serve with pure maple syrup!

Notes

*You can use a mixture of many different types of vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, zucchini, butternut squash)

21 Day Fix: 1 Serving = 2 Y, 1 G, 2 tsp (maple syrup)

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This recipe calls for 3 cups of finely shredded vegetables.  I used half zucchini and half carrots but you could totally substitute sweet potatoes, butternut squash or even steamed chunks of pumpkin!

And you all thought I was done with zucchini because summer is over.  HHAHA!  Never!

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Healthy and Creamy Baked Potato Soup

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Ahh, its that lovely time of year in western New York where the weather goes from warm sunny 80° to cold and rainy 40° quite literally overnight.  As a result, the majority of us have some type of cold.  And I don’t just mean my family.  I mean the the majority of western NY.

Good times!  One of the draw backs of living here is the drastic weather changes but you can’t beat the beautiful colors and smells of Autumn in NY!

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When the weather turns colder and the rain is pounding on the windows, we all reach for something warm and comforting.  For us, this past weekend, it was Baked Potato Soup.  Creamy, warm and delicious without all the extra fat and calories, it really hits the spot.  Now I had to serve mine with some sandwiches because the husband, “does not believe soup is a meal by itself.”  I have no issue with it but he is weird sometimes.

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I have been a fan of potato soup for as  long as I can remember, especially when cheese is involved, and especially if lots of bacon is served on top and stirred in.  And yes, I eat bacon.  Not sure why I eat that and not ham or pork sausage (this is made with turkey bacon but I eat regular too).  Guess I am weird too.  With that being said, I hardly ever order potato soup out at restaurants because you can almost guarantee that they have thrown quarts full of heavy cream into the mix, which is completely unnecessary.

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The good news is that you don’t need all of that cream to make an creamy, delicious potato soup.   Nor do you need a ton of time. This soup is ready to go in about 30 minutes or so, and also makes fantastic leftovers!

Yeah!  Think of it as a warm and cozy hug from me to you!

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Healthy and Creamy Baked Potato Soup

Classic baked potato soup without the heavy cream.

10 minPrep Time:

20 minCook Time:

30 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 6 slices turkey bacon, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced white or yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups 1% milk, warmed
  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled (if desired) and diced
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • optional toppings: thinly-sliced green onions or chives, extra shredded cheese, extra bacon

Instructions

  1. Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add diced turkey bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally.
  3. Transfer the bacon to a separate plate, using a slotted spoon, (turkey bacon will have very little grease of any so you can just leave any grease or crispy leftovers to give more flavor)
  4. Add Olive oil to the stockpot and heat through.
  5. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
  6. Sprinkle the flour on top of the onion, and stir until combined.
  7. Saute for an additional minute to cook the flour, stirring occasionally.
  8. Stir in the chicken stock until combined.
  9. Stir in the milk, potatoes, and cooked bacon bits until combined.
  10. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, but is not boiling.
  11. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally every few minutes so that the bottom does not burn. (The smaller you dice your potatoes, the faster they will cook.)
  12. When the potatoes are soft, stir in the cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt, salt and pepper.
  13. Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with desired toppings.

Notes

For a short cut, use diced frozen potatoes.

21 Day Fix: 2 Y, 1B

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Healthy Goulash Stuffed Peppers

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Sorry it’s been a few days.  I have been fighting a cold.  I hate being sick.

A few years ago, as I was flipping through a Taste of Home magazine, I came across a recipe for Hungarian Goulash.  Typical Goulash is a soup of meat and vegetables like peppers, carrots, onions, tomatoes and potatoes, seasoned with paprika and other spices, originating from the country, Hungary.  Here in the United States, what one person calls Goulash another person might call American Chop Suey or American Goulash.  This dish is usually a ground beef hash with tomatoes and macaroni.  I have made it a few times the way the recipe is written and it’s good but over the years, I have started to play with ingredients and ways to prepare it and have come up with this.  Combining aspects of both Hungarian and American and stuffing it in peppers.

My kids love it!

It’s warm and comforting and any leftover mixture is promptly eaten the next day.

First, you start off with the peppers.  You can use any variation of colors and can even cut the peppers in half rather than having them stand up.  I have done both.  This is the way I did them this time.

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Next, I started a small pot of water on to boil the pasta. Instead of using a larger pasta like macaroni, I like to use a smaller pasta like orzo.  It fits down inside the peppers much easier and it’s about the small size as the other ingredients so there are no large chunks of one thing.

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While the pasta is boiling, I place 1/2 lb of ground turkey in a large skillet and brown it.  To the browning ground turkey, I add minced garlic, some basil and oregano, salt, pepper and the leftover tops of the peppers (not the stem of course) and sauté for a couple minutes.  Once those have cooked, I then add finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower and carrots and cook for a few more minutes.

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Once the pasta is al dente, I drain it and add it to the ground turkey mixture along with half a jar of spaghetti sauce.  You can use homemade or your favorite jar sauce.  I didn’t have any homemade sauce left, so I used my favorite Wegman’s Organic Classic marinara sauce.  Stir to combine and sprinkle in some parmesan cheese.

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Next, spoon the mixture down inside the peppers and place in a pan the will support them.  I used a bread pan because I was making three (the boys split one).  If you cut them in half, a 9×13 pan would work great!

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Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes in a 350* oven.  Remove the foil and sprinkle some mozzarella over the top and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly!

Enjoy!

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Yield: 3 Servings

Healthy American Goulash Stuffed Peppers

10 minPrep Time:

30 minCook Time:

40 minTotal Time:

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lbs Lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 3 bell peppers, any color
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 1 tsp basil/oregano seasoning (or any blend of italian herbs)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Wash red peppers, and cut tops off. Remove the stems from top and dice. Remove the seeds and ribs inside the peppers. Set peppers on baking pan.
  4. In a boiling pot of salted water, cook Orzo till al dente. Drain and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, cook ground turkey in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
  6. Stir and break up the turkey while it’s cooking.
  7. When turkey is almost completely cooked through, add the garlic, vegetables and seasonings to the pan.
  8. Stir and continue to cook until the turkey is completely cooked (when it is no longer pink).
  9. Add the sauce, orzo and parmesan and stir until everything is well combined.
  10. Scoop the turkey mixture into each pepper until it is full.
  11. Cover pan with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove foil and sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on each pepper.
  13. Place back in the oven and cook till cheese it melted and bubbly.
  14. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and enjoy!

Notes

21 Day Fix = 1.5 G, 1 R, 1 B, 1 Y

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