May 15, 2014
Lunch time for our family means leftovers. We used to be sandwich addicts, but those days are long gone. Then, for a couple years I made big batches of things at the beginning of the week and portioned it out for us to eat until Friday. At the beginning of this school year (by the way, there are only 9 1/2 student days left!) we made another lunch switch. I started cooking a big enough meal at dinner time that we could stretch it into a lunch for all of us the next day. It has worked out so nice! Skillet meals are especially convenient for this system, but we still make our favorite roasted chicken dinners all the time, and soup works well, too. Another lunch improvement we made this year was getting this mini crock pot/warmer for Grant. No more cold food at his desk! It has been huge. After filling Grant's crock pot, I pack the rest away into these glass containers for Hadley and me. Glass storage makes me love leftovers twice as much. I should really look into a toaster oven because I've been warming our lunch leftovers in the oven all year long and don't even want to think about the electricity...
Anyway, here's one of our recent favorite dinner finds (it just got thrown together one night and we loved it) and it makes a really yummy lunch the next day. We happened to have ground turkey, asparagus, carrots, celery, and bell peppers on hand the night that it was created, but it would be great with any combo of ground meat and veggies. I used zucchini instead of asparagus when I made it yesterday. It doesn't look like anything special, but it's surprisingly packed with flavor! I think the key is a little tiny bit of heat (red pepper flakes), something tangy (vinegar of course - you know me), and the extra big spoonful of coconut oil on the pasta (fat gives things flavor!).
Turkey & Veggie Pasta
3 T. olive or coconut oil
2 or 3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of asparagus, chopped
1 or 2 zucchini, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped (optional)
1 T. minced garlic
sea salt to taste
1 pound ground turkey (or beef, chicken, or pork)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (rough guess)
1 lb. bag of brown rice pasta (we like Trader Joe's organic brown rice fusilli)
2 T. coconut oil
splash of red wine or apple cider vinegar, to taste
In your largest skillet (I like to use my cast iron), heat oil over medium heat. Add veggies, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender. While the veggies are softening, cook your pasta according to package directions. Push the veggies over to one side of the pan and add in the ground turkey. As you brown and crumble the turkey, season with plenty of sea salt and give it a small shake of crushed red pepper. Once meat is cooked (no more pink), add in the hot pasta and a big spoonful of coconut oil. Give the pasta a few good splashes of red wine vinegar (I think it needs a little tang, but feel free skip this step if you are vinegar sensitive) then toss it all together and serve hot.
We like this best with noodles, but if you don't have any on hand, I've also made it with rice! Here I used brown rice, asparagus, red pepper, onions, and carrots.