Tag Archives: turkey

“Healthy” Tater Tot Hotdish

Never has something that looks so unassuming packed so much awesomeness.

As children of a midwestern mom growing up in northern New York we were raised on a steady diet of casseroles and hotdishes. As anyone from the north or a flyover state can attest, you normally associate these cream sauced-gut busters with church functions, pot lucks and subsequent naps on the couch. Call us old fashioned but that just fine by our standards. We used turkey instead of ground beef to keep things marginally healthier, but the real goal here is to even come close to what momma used to make.

Equipment Needed: 13 x 9 Baking Pan, Wooden Spoon, Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

Suggested Beer Pairing: Stout, Extra Special Bitter or English Ale, Medium-bodied Ales


  • 1 lb ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 package of frozen tater tots ($4.49/32 oz bag)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup ($1.69/10.75 oz can)
  • 1 can green beans ($1.59/14.5 oz can)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Dice the onion and mince the garlic.
  • Put your pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Toss in the onions and garlic with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper and cook until lightly softened (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until the turkey has browned lightly (about 8 minutes).

Try not to overcook the turkey, you're still gonna bake it for another 30 minutes or so.

  • Once cooked, stir in the can of soup, drain the can of beans and stir them in too then pour the whole lot into your baking pan.

Trust us, this will taste much better than it looks here.

  • Lay a single layer of tater tots across the top so it’s completely covered. Pop it in the oven until the tots have browned (about 35-45 minutes). Serve with ketchup and hot sauce for the true north country experience.

Just a gratuitous close up of tater tots because of our literal and figurative unhealthy obsession with tater tots.

Southwestern Turkey Mac & Cheese

If this doesn't make you wanna put on footie pajamas, grab a spoon and eat by the fire then maybe it's time you started seeing other blogs.

If you know anything about the Brothers Brown you know that we love three things in life: silk sheets, long walks on the beach, and mac & cheese. This one came to us in a vision and had nothing to do with the fact that we had about five pounds of ground turkey in the freezer. Chipotle and pepper jack keep your tongue tantalized while the tomatoes provide a sweet contrast.

Equipment Needed: 3 QT Dutch Oven (OR) 13 x 9 Baking Pan, 2 – 3 QT Pots (you only need one if you’re using a Dutch Oven), Wooden Spoon, Frying Pan, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Cheese Grater, Colander

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: 6-8

Suggested Wine Pairing: Rioja, Carmenere, Oaked Chardonnay

Suggested Beer Pairing: Dos Equis, Negro Modelo, Corona


  • 1 lb ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 lb  pasta shells (or conchiglie for all you Italians in the house) ($1.50/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 2 C milk (we kept it “healthy” and used skim) ($1.19/QT)
  • 1/3 C flour ($1.89/2 lbs)
  • 2 TBSP butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese ($5.99/lb)
  • 8 oz pepper jack cheese ($5.49/lb)
  • 3-6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce ($2.99/can)
  • 1/2 C diced tomatoes ($1.99/14.5 oz can)
  • 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/32 oz)
  • 1 TSP ground oregano ($2/2 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin ($3.50/2 oz jar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Fill one of your pots about 3/4 full of water and put it over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and throw in about a palmful of salt. Add the pasta and a splash of olive oil, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until the shells are soft. Drain the water and set the pasta aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, dice the onion and mince the chipotle peppers. We used 6 peppers and it came out with a pretty heavy kick to it so adjust the number according to how hot you want it. Put the frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Add the onions with a healthy dash of salt and pepper and cook them down for about 5 minutes.

Dice things quicker by making thin vertical and horizontal cuts in the onion before slicing it crosswise.

  • Throw the turkey in the pan with some more pepper and stir occasionally, cooking until it’s lightly browned (about 8 minutes). Pour in the minced peppers with about a tablespoon of the adobo sauce, cumin and oregano. Stir everything well and drop the burner to low for another couple minutes so the flavors meld.
  • Put your Dutch oven (or other pot) over medium heat  and add the butter. Once it’s melted, add about 1/4C of flour and stir thoroughly to make a paste. Cook until the roux (pronounced “roo,” that’s what you just created) is golden brown—like a perfectly roasted marshmallow—and stir in the milk. Begin shredding in your cheese and stir continuously until it’s fully melted in. Add more cheese and stir until you’ve used all the cheddar and half of the pepper jack.

Err on the side of less flour so the roux stays smooth. You can always add more later to thicken it up.

  • Mix the meat, pasta and cheese sauce in whatever you’re baking it in (either your baking pan or Dutch oven). Drain the tomatoes as much as you can and add them a bit at a time trying to avoid including any extra liquid. Stir again to incorporate everything.

Use a fork or slotted spoon to add the tomatoes to make sure you're not adding extra liquid.

  • Spread the rest of the pepper jack over the top and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes until it’s browned and bubbling. If you can control yourself, let it cool a bit to set up before serving.

Apple & Ale Brined Turkey

That's only half of the turkey. There were enough leftovers for four days of sandwiches.

We know we’re a little late on the whole Thanksgiving recipe bandwagon, but with the holiday season in full swing you can use our tasty beer brine recipe to punch up almost any roasted meat situation. Turkey, chicken, pork loin, pork chops, basically if it’s fowl or pork it can be brined. Since we were at our parents’ house we used a local microbrew – Sackets Harbor Brewing Company’s 1812 Amber Ale – to bring the thunder, while apple cider makes things appropriately autumnal.

Equipment Needed: Large Roasting Pan, Wooden Spoon, 3 QT Pot, Large Pot/Clean Bucket/Container (to hold the meat and brining solution in the fridge), Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Aluminum Foil, Meat Thermometer

Serving Suggestion: Family Style

Servings: Depends on how large your bird is

Suggested Wine Pairing: Beaujolais Nouveau, Pinot Noir, Oaky Chardonnays, Riesling

Suggested Beer Pairing: Amber Ale, Brown Ale, Winter Ale, Belgian Browns


NOTE: We brined a 19.5 lb bird with this recipe. We recommend halving it if you’re preparing anything under 10 lbs, just be prepared for a much more concentrated flavor.

  • 1 six-pack of amber or brown ale (72 oz) (price varies)
  • 8 C apple cider ($3.49/gallon)
  • 2 carrots ($1.99/lb)
  • 3 celery stalks ($2.99/lb)
  • 2/3 C kosher salt ($2.29/48 oz box)
  • 2/3 C sugar ($2.39/2 lb box)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary ($4/package)
  • 1 TBSP whole black peppercorns ($3.69/2.25 oz jar)
  • Ice (free; amount will vary)
  • Water (free; amount will vary)


  • You’ll want to brine your meat for an absolute minimum of 1 hour and as much as a couple of days. We brined our turkey for about 18 hours which made for some very tender meat and a faint cider flavor. Knowing this you’ll need to start making the brine about an hour before you plan to soak your meat.
  • Add your sugar, salt, four beers and four cups of cider to the 3 quart pot. Stir well and put it over high heat. Continue stirring until the solids have dissolved and bring the mix to a boil, making sure that nothing burns.

Beer makes everything better, especially turkey.

  • While the mix is brewing, prep your turkey by giving it a good rinse and removing the giblets.
  • Remove the brining solution from the heat and transfer it to your bucket/pot/receptacle. After about 15 minutes of cooling add the other two beers and remaining four cups of cider. Throw in about six cups of ice and give it a good stir to melt the cubes.

Cool things quicker with an ample helping of ice.

  • Once the solution has reached room temperature (or cooler) submerge the bird breast-side down and add the rosemary and peppercorns. You want to make sure the meat is fully submerged so if there’s anything exposed top it off with water and a bit more cider if you desire. Pop that puppy in the fridge and let the goodness soak in.

Top it off with cider for a more pronounced flavor.

  • When you’re ready to cook your turkey remove it from the brine, rinse it thoroughly and pat it dry. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

During the pat-down we could swear the turkey yelled, "Don't touch my junk!"

  • Cut your butter into 1/4 inch pats. Carefully separate the skin from the meat and insert the pieces in between to keep things juicy while it cooks. Cut the celery and carrots into three-inch pieces and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey.

This money shot was brought to you by the letter "Butter" and the number "Moist."

  • Line the roasting pan with enough aluminum foil to line the bottom and cover the bird. Place the turkey in (backside down if you need reminding) and cover with the excess foil.
  • Pop that gobbler in the oven and cook it for approximately 15 minutes for every pound. Check it after 2 hours to make sure it hasn’t cooked too quickly. It’s ready when the internal temperature is 165°F when taken from the thigh. To make sure the skin gets nice and crispy peel back the foil for the last 30 minutes of roasting. Once you’ve taken it out of the oven cover it back up with foil and let it rest for a minimum of 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Carve, be thankful for your food and friends, and enjoy.

Turkey Chili & Cheddar Corn Bread

Turkey, spice and everything nice.

In honor of the upcoming holiday we put a little twist on everyone’s favorite fall fowl. Bursting with unexpected flavors, this lighter version of chili (ok, we know, it’s all relative) gets a nice kick from chorizo and chipotle. Use cornbread from the box as a starter for a side with plenty of cheesy goodness. We recommend experimenting with different peppers to get the spice at prime cockle-warming levels.

Equipment Needed: 8 QT Pot, 13 X 9 Baking Dish, Mixing Bowl, Whisk, Cheese Grater, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Zinfandel, Oaky Chardonnay

Suggested Beer Pairing: Oktoberfest, Brown Belgians, Brown Ale, Bock


  • 3 lbs ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 4 links of pre-cooked chorizo (we used Goya; $3.99/package of 2)
  • 1 can of white corn ($1.69/11 oz)
  • 6 canned chipotle peppers (look for the ones packed in adobo sauce, about $2.99/can)
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans ($1.39/15 oz can)
  • 3 TBSP butter, divided ($4.99/lb)
  • About 1/4 C flour ($1.89/2 lb bag)
  • 1 QT chicken stock ($3.19/QT)
  • 2 medium onions ($0.99/lb)
  • 6 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 TBSP chili powder ($1.50/4 oz jar)
  • 1/2 TBSP cayenne pepper ($3.50/2 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar ($2.79/32 oz)
  • 1 TBSP liquid smoke ($2.89/3 oz)
  • 2 TBSP ground oregano ($2/2 oz jar)
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin ($3.50/2 oz jar)
  • 2 packages of Jiffy corn muffin mix ($0.69/box)
  • 2/3 C milk ($1.19/QT)
  • 2 eggs ($2.50/dozen)
  • 1/2 C cheddar cheese ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Corn Bread Preparation:

  • If you can read, you should be able to make cornbread. Since you’re looking at this blog we’ll assume this won’t be a problem. Preheat the oven according to the package. Put the dry mix in your mixing bowl, add the eggs and milk and whisk it all together.
  • Squeeze in about 1 1/2 TBSP of honey and grate in 1/2 C of cheddar cheese. Stir again until everything’s mixed.

Stay sweet with some bee juice in your bread.

  • Taking 1 TBSP of butter, grease up the bottom and sides of the baking pan and pour in your corn bread mix.

Don't forget this part; it will make your life easier when you're trying to cut the bread out of the pan.

  • Bake according to instructions, or until you can stick a toothpick in and pull it out clean. Set aside to cool and wait patiently for the chili to cook.

Chili Preparation:

  • Dice the onions and mince the garlic. Remove the chorizo links from their casings and cut them into pieces as small as you can get them (you want the meat to be as close as minced as possible).

Mince your meat.

  • Put your pot over medium heat and add 2 TBSP of butter to get the party started. Add the aforementioned diced/minced ingredients, a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper and cook everything down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so things don’t burn.
  • Add the ground turkey to the pot along with another couple healthy pinches of salt and pepper and stir everything together. Give the turkey a good stir every couple of minutes and cook it until it’s lightly browned. You should be good to go in 13 minutes or so.
  • While the turkey is cooking, mince the chipotle peppers. Add them to the pot after about 10 minutes when the turkey has had the chance to brown a bit.

Mince the peppers and don't be shy about adding some more adobo sauce to the mix.

  • Drain the corn and beans and add them to the pot along with the chicken stock. Add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, vinegar and liquid smoke. Stir thoroughly, bring everything to a light boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little flour to thicken things up a bit and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve with a healthy grating of cheese over top and a nice slice of corn bread.

Add the entire quart of stock. If you need more liquid you can use water, or go crazy with some ale or white wine.

Dirty Bird Nachos

Welcome to flavorville, population: your mouth.

Football is back, baby, and it’s time for some quick and easy crowd pleasers. We cut more corners than usual with pre-packaged salsa and cheese because no one wants to spend the afternoon in the kitchen when the game is on. Fear not, the flavor train is still on schedule. Ground turkey replaces beef to make you feel marginally better about putting down a plate or three.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, 2 Baking Sheets, Mixing Bowl, Fork, Wooden Spoon, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Can Opener

Serving Suggestion: Caveman Style (every man, woman and child for themselves)

Servings: 8-10

Suggested Wine Pairing: You should be drinking a draught or a tallboy.

Suggested Beer Pairing: Whatever’s cold.


  • Our delicious gringo guacamole
  • 2-9 oz bags tortilla chips ($3.59)
  • 1 lb ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 can extra large black, pitted olives ($2.50/15 oz can)
  • 3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1-2 C low-fat  sour cream ($2.79/16 oz)
  • 1 package shredded Mexican blend cheese ($3/8 oz)
  • 1-16 oz jar salsa ($2.99)
  • 6 canned chipotle peppers ($2/10 oz)
  • 1 lime (about $0.33/each)
  • 2 TBSP ground cumin ($3/2.5 oz)
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano ($3/1.5 oz)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and put your frying pan over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan evenly with olive oil.
  • Mince the garlic and add it to the oil. Toss in the turkey, cumin and oregano with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until browned (6-8 minutes).
  • While the turkey is browning, dice the onion, mince the chipotle peppers and mix the two together. Wash and halve the jalapeños, remove the seeds and cut them into thin slices. Drain the olives and cut them into equally thin slices.
  • Once the meat has cooked through stir in the onion mixture and any leftover sauce from the canned chipotles, squeeze in the juice of the lime, reduce to low heat and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

The chipotle peppers and onions play well with the turkey to bring some heat and texture.

  • Line each backing sheet with chips and spoon the turkey mix over the top. Sprinkle on a health dose of cheese and put it in the oven until everything melds together (about 5 minutes).

Your lactose-intolerant friends may want to bring their own snacks.

  • Once the cheese has melted spread a layer of sour cream, guacamole and salsa over each nacho pile, sprinkle the olives and jalapeños evenly throughout and devour.

Spicy Turkey Sloppy Joes with Maple Glazed Carrots

Roll your sleeves up and prepare for an education in tastiness.

Lunch ladies everywhere, rejoice! We’ve resurrected one of life’s most underrated comfort foods with a healthy twist; substituting ground turkey for beef. Cayenne pepper kicks it into gear while molasses holds it all together to make sure the flavors are playing well with one another. Pair it with simple but delicious maple glazed carrots and find a seat at the cool kids table.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Cutting Board, Chef’s Knife, Wooden Spoon, Vegetable Peeler, Baking Dish, Cup

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Oaky Chardonnays

Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ales, Hoppy Pilsners and Brown Ales


  • 1 lb. ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 medium onion ($0.99/lb)
  • 1/3 C ketchup ($3.65/32 oz)
  • 1/4 C spicy brown mustard ($1.99/12 oz)
  • 1/4 C molasses ($3/12 oz)
  • Hamburger buns ($2.99/8 pack)
  • 1 lb carrots ($0.99/lb)
  • 1 TBSP butter ($4.99/lb)
  • 1/4 C grade A maple syrup ($8.99/16 oz bottle)
  • 2-3 TBSP cayenne pepper (about $4/jar)
  • 3-4 TBSP olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Carrot Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel, wash and cut your carrots into 2 inch sticks.

Cut your carrots into uniform pieces for even cooking.

  • Put your carrots in the baking dish and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper until everything’s evenly coated. Put those roots in the oven for 35 minutes.

Lube 'em up.

  • When time’s up put your butter and maple syrup in a microwave safe cup. Nuke it for about 20 seconds until everything’s melted, mix together and pour evenly over the carrots. Put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes to glaze.

Sloppy Joe Preparation:

  • Put your frying pan over medium heat and coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil. Dice the onion into tiny pieces and toss it into the pan.

Cut the onion as tiny as you can, you want it more for taste than texture.

  • Salt and pepper your onions and cook them about 5 minutes until they’ve softened a bit. Add the ground turkey and season with more salt and pepper. Cook until browned (about 10 minutes).
  • Once the turkey is finished, add the cayenne pepper, ketchup, mustard and molasses. Stir everything together, toast a bun and go to town.

Molasses pours pretty slowly, even in May.

Turkey Meatballs and Pasta

Meatballs that don't neccesitate wearing track pants.

Your nonna may frown on this non-traditional twist, but your taste buds will scream mama mia! Take your meatballs on a healthy and tasty trip by using ground turkey instead of beef. Finish things off with some homemade marinara and your favorite pasta to turn any night into a red-checkered tablecloth event.

Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, 3 QT pot, 5 QT pot, Large Bowl, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Colander, Cheese Grater, Wooden Spoon

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sangiovese, Chianti, Tempranillo, Malbec

Suggested Beer Pairing: Peroni, Light Ales


  • 1 lb ground turkey (about $5.99)
  • 1/4 C Italian style breadcrumbs ($2.99/24 oz package)
  • 1/8 C parmagiana cheese ($6/8oz)
  • 1 egg ($2.50/dozen)
  • 2 medium yellow onions ($.99/lb )
  • 6 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb dry pasta (we like penne or rotini for this one) ($1.49/package)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes ($2.99)
  • 8-10 leaves of fresh basil (about $4/package)
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper (about $2/jar)
  • 1 TBSP sugar ($1/lb)
  • 4 TBSP Italian seasoning (about $4/jar)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Balsamic vinegar (about $6/8 0z)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  • Mince three garlic cloves and set aside, then mince the other three and set those aside as well (half will go in the meatballs and half in the sauce).
Ok, seriously, this might be the last garlic-mincing picture we show. Just cut it into small pieces and call it a day.

Ok, seriously, this might be the last garlic mincing pic we post. Just cut it small and call it a day.

  • Put your pot over medium heat and pour in about 4 TBSP of olive oil. Dice 1 1/2 onions and set aside the remaining half. Throw half of the garlic cloves and the diced onions into the pot and stir regularly until softened (about 5-10 minutes).

Stir your onions and garlic until soft and aromatic.

  • Put the ground turkey in a bowl and add the breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, 2TSBP of Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic. Take your cheese grater and grate the remaining onion into the mixture.

Grating the onions make the pieces unobtrusive and release more flavor.

  • Now comes the fun part. Get your hands in there and mix everything together until it’s evenly dispersed (we recommend a squeeze and twist approach). Wash your hands thoroughly before proceeding (raw poultry can make you much sicko, so you want to make sure you’re constantly cleaning your hands and other surfaces).

Squeeze your meat (yes, it's a double entendre).

  • In the pot with your onions and garlic, add the tomatoes, about 3 TBSP of balsamic vinegar, a few pinches of salt and pepper, sugar and the crushed red pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer your sauce as you prepare to roll your meatballs.
  • Put your frying pan over lower-medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Make your meatballs by taking about a palm’s worth of the meat mixture and rolling your hands in opposite directions until spherical (think making snowballs). Put the meatballs into the pan and brown on all sides. [Brother’s Note: Traditional Italian meatball recipes often tell you to put them into the sauce raw and simmer until cooked. Since we’re using turkey in this case we want to be sure that things are cooked through. As we’ve harped on before, undercooked poultry is a mistake you only make once.]
  • Once nicely browned, slowly slip the meatballs into the sauce and simmer everything away for another 20 minutes or so to cook fully. Stir occasionally and slowly, making sure not to break your balls (sorry, we had to). About 10 minutes into simmering, fill your other pot about 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add your pasta and cook for about 5-8 minutes. Drain, add sauce and meatballs, and go mmmmmmmm.

Lower the meatballs into your sauce and simmer away.

School Spaghetti


Don't pretend you don't want to grab a spork and dive in.

Don't pretend you don't want to grab a spork and dive in.


As we start to settle into fall we decided it would only be appropriate to make some classic comfort food. “But Jake, Thomas,” you say, “I always hated spaghetti day in middle school.” Quit whining or we’ll give you a wedgie. This healthier version of the infamous cafeteria cop out (who knows what they used for meat, and what was that pasta made of, wallpaper paste?) is more Spaghetti alla Bolognese than slop-that-the-bully-dumped-on-my-head. Quick and easy to make, canned tomatoes and fresh basil lift take this dish from awkward memory to sure-to-please standby.

Equipment Needed:Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, two 3 QT Pots (or something close), Saute Pan (ok, frying pan), Wooden Spoons, Stove Top

Serving Suggestion: Individual Plating

Servings: 4

Suggested Wine Pairing: Sangiovese, Chianti, Tempranillo, Malbec

Suggested Beer Pairing: Peroni, Lighter Ales


  • 1lb ground turkey ($5.99/lb)
  • 1 medium yellow onions ($.99/lb )
  • 6 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
  • 1 lb vermicelli (aka angel hair) pasta ($1.49/package)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes ($2.99)
  • 8-10 leaves of fresh basil (about $3/package)
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper (about $2/jar) 
  • 1 TBSP sugar ($1/lb)
  • 1-2 TBSP Italian seasoning (about $4/jar)
  • Extra virgin olive oil ($9.99/34 oz bottle)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Sauce Preparation

  • It’s important to start this part first so you can allow the flavors to develop. Mince three of your cloves of garlic.
Mince that garlic!

Mince that garlic!

  • Then dice your onion. You want tiny pieces about a quarter of an inch each or less.
Dice that onion!

Dice that onion!

  • Place one of your pots over medium-low heat and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When it starts to shimmer add the garlic, onions and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir periodically until they’re pretty well softened (about 5 minutes).
Stir those ingredients!

Stir those ingredients!

  • Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and add the sugar, crushed red pepper and another dash of salt and pepper. Stir everything together and reduce the heat to low.
  • Rinse and stack your basil leaves on top of one another. Roll them into a tube like a cigarette (or just a tube for those of you that have never rolled a cigarette), and slice it crosswise into thin strips. congratulations! You’ve just done your first chiffonade (Google it)!
Chiffonade that basil!

Chiffonade that basil!

  • Toss the basil into the sauce and stir it occasionally.
  • Before you do anything else, add about two quarts of water to your other pot and place it over high heat. This will be for your spaghetti and you want to time it so that you can toss the pasta in to coincide with the turkey’s readiness.
  • Mince your other three garlic cloves and put your your saute pan over medium heat.
  • Pour in about three TBSP of olive oil an toss in your ground turkey and the rest of your garlic once that’s shimmering. Add a dash of salt and pepper and the Italian seasoning and allow the turkey to brown, stirring every so often so the meat cooks evenly and doesn’t burn. This should take about 10 minutes or so. 
Season and brown that turkey!

Season and brown that turkey!

  • At the same time, once your pasta water starts boiling, add a few dashes of salt and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil (if Italians do it, you should too). Toss in your vermicelli and stir occasionally (so much occasional stirring) so things don’t clump together. It’s done when the pasta is soft, but still has some bite to it (that’s al dente for you lay people). This should take about 5-6 minutes (the package will undoubtedly give a totally different time, but when was the last time you listened to a cardboard box?).
  • Your meat is cooked properly if  it exudes clear liquid, something you can check by putting a couple pieces on a paper towel. Anything else is too bloody when you’re dealing with poultry and trust us, you don’t want to go down that road. Once cooked, pour in the tomato sauce that you’ve had simmering on the side and mix everything together.
Mix it up!

Mix it up!

  • Drain your pasta (but don’t rinse it, again..Italians don’t, you don’t). Use a bowl to serve and spoon some of that delicious meat sauce over top. Scarf down, sigh contently and repeat.