Eat Better Week: Rubbing Elbows

It's day numero dos of Eat Better Week and today we're serving up a simple one pot dinner starring one of my favorite healthy ingredients, ground turkey. This turkey-pasta-veggie combo is versatile, easy to cook, and tasty to boot.

I dug up this Rachael Ray recipe a few months ago while trying to find a way to devour the ground turkey sitting in my freezer. Though I'm so not a fan of hers, this one intrigued me. I decided to give it a try, but I bumped up the flavor and aesthetics by adding asparagus (my favorite green vegetable) and by substituting cream of chicken soup for regular ol' chicken broth. And despite the extreme healthfulness in this dish, Shaun took one bite and sang my praises for whipping up a delectable meal for two (this was also followed by a request to add this recipe to my permanent collection...he also had no idea that it was made entirely of healthy ingredients). And if that's not enough to convince you, one more reason to love this recipe is for the usage of elbow pasta. Doesn't it just remind you of childhood? It makes me think of macaroni and cheese and instantly brings me back to the house I grew up in.

Side note: RR calls this goulash, but it's really nothing of the sort. Traditional goulash is more like a beef stew and less like the sophisticated Hamburger Helper that this recipe tends to emulate.

Turkey Pasta Mash Up
*Adapted from Rachael Ray
1 box elbow macaroni (whole wheat is best, if you can find it)
Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 lb ground white turkey
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced (I use the jarred kind to make this even easier)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 bundle asparagus, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
black pepper
1 can fat free cream of chicken soup
2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream

Cook elbow pasta according to package directions. Chop and wash vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter or margarine. Add ground turkey and season with Lawry's seasoning salt, breaking it up as it cooks. After 2-3 minutes, add garlic, onions, red peppers, asparagus, paprika, cumin, and black pepper, cooking for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are softened.

Add cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Stir in elbows (you probably won't use the entire box of pasta here as it makes a lot of food. Add as much as you like, and save the rest for another meal...a quick tomato and pasta dish perhaps?).  Let cook for a few minutes more. Adjust seasonings, add salt to taste and prepare yourself for a boatload of praise and a few day's worth of leftovers.

The result? A delicious, hearty, comfort food that's winter-friendly and healthy to boot. What do you think? Is there anything else that you like to use ground turkey for? Do you harbor a secret elbow pasta crush? Are there any other foods that hearken you back to your childhood?

PS - If you missed Day One of Eat Better Week, you can check it out here...spicy sweet potato wedges!