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Hello and Three Recipes

3 Jan

Mini Bio: For the last year and a half I have been putting in time as a manager at a locally owned craft supply store. How I fell into this job is a story in itself. I certainly never planned on working in the crafting industry, but personal choices and circumstance dictated otherwise. I’ve been fortunate to have a set schedule (which is a gift in retail): I work Tuesdays through Saturdays and am off Sundays and Mondays. Sundays are my days with the husband (L) and Mondays have become my own day of week planning and cooking.

I call these my Mondays in the Kitchen.

After a holiday season full of gravitas and activities I am attempting to get back into some more constructive habits: Planning ahead, staying organized and learning how to cook for myself and my husband. I am moving on- from my pit-stop in retail management to a career in healthcare- and doing some time at the VoTech along the way. My last day at the store is Wednesday and I start school next week. The great life shift is upon me.

This isn’t a sob story, but it’s an important aside: L and I are experiencing infertility issues and I am trying to overcome PCOS. Health, infertility and allergies have been a catalyst for many recent lifestyle and career changes. I slip up though! My hope is that this blog will keep me honest and focused on my goals.

Confession: I’m a novice in the kitchen and have been intimidated by most domestic endeavors the majority of my adult life. Mondays in the kitchen I cook for the entire week. This helps me to avoid takeout and other unhealthy pitfalls (but I still make mistakes!). By the weekend L and I are tired of the food I made at the beginning of the week so I try to have a somewhat extensive recipe collection to rotate. I don’t eat beef or pork, so meals revolve around chicken, ground turkey, fish and vegetables.

Today I experienced two successes and one failure in the kitchen. All recipes are new to me.

Recipe 1: I love-love squash, but L has never been a fan. Since I’m the one in the kitchen I can usually cook up an item he deems suspicious and convince him to eat it for a meal or two. In an attempt to cut down on processed simple carbohydrates- and initially inspired by this blog post (or, mainly the photo), and this suggested recipe, I decided to roast my very first spaghetti squash.

After wrestling with the squash and my brand new knives I finally got it cut in half lengthwise. Those suckers are tough to split. I cleaned out the seeds (I must save the seeds to roast next time! Has anyone else tried this?), drizzled both halves with a tiny bit of olive oil, sprinkled some sea salt on them, and tossed them in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

These are so easy. You guys, I even forgot about the squash for about 10 minutes after the timer went off on the oven and it was still great. The results? Delicious. Sweet, squashy, savory. Even L agreed. SUCCESS! I froze half the squash for next week. This week I will eat it plain and in place of pasta with spaghetti sauce.

Suki Pug

My sidekick waits patiently for a taste of squash.

Recipe 2: L and I are way into meatloaf because we crave something hearty during the frigid Minnesota winter months. I have been searching for the perfect recipe for months and stumbled upon this Turkey and Quinoa Meatloaf from I followed the recipe carefully, but skipped the tomato paste and hot sauce (out of laziness- we’re out and I didn’t feel like trekking to the store) and replaced it with ketchup and Famous Dave’s bbq sauce.

The results? This recipe is out of this world! This may be ridiculous, but I’ve never purchased or used Worcestershire sauce- and it is good. I can see myself dousing meat in it for months to come. Best turkey meatloaf I’ve ever made. Amazing.

Recipe 3: I really enjoy quinoa as a substitute for pasta and rice. It has an interesting texture and a decent amount of protein per serving. I had a few pieces of chicken in the freezer and a new box of quinoa, so I searched “quinoa + chicken” at (I use this site quite a bit). I found this recipe for Chicken with Peas and Quinoa. Peas are one of my favorite veggies and the combination of ingredients sounded intriguing. I followed the recipe exactly.

The results? Puzzling. Maybe the problem is the paprika, or the peas, or the fact that I used red quinoa (the recipe does not specify whether to use red or white). Or maybe these ingredients just don’t work well together. In any case, I am not a fan and won’t make it again. Very very odd taste.

Two out of three… Not bad! Until next time.

Today’s kitchen soundtrack selections:

  • “A Punch Up at a Wedding” by Radiohead
  • “I Believe” by Sophie Ellis Bextor
  • “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire