December 21, 2015

Turkey – minus the trimmings – To Trim Your Waist

Post by Jessica James

 —  Contributed by Jessica James, formerly an Executive Chef with Applebee’s, and member of the National Turkey Federation’s Culinary Advisory Board. 

January marks the end of the indulgent holiday season and the beginning of watching what we eat and attempting to shed those cookies, cocktails and carbs we consumed over the previous two months.

Come the first of the year, our guests look to us for healthier dining options to help them slim down while also filling them up and helping them feel good about the choices they’re making.

To achieve guest satisfaction, chefs should turn to bold and unexpected flavors, while focusing on lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Turkey is the perfect lean protein to help you and your guests achieve your post-holiday goals as it works well across all day parts, easily incorporates into a variety of dishes and works across numerous cooking platforms.

This month on the blog, we are featuring three recipes packed full of nutrition, bold flavors, and of course, turkey!

Bourbon gives this hash a subtle sweetness.
Bourbon gives this hash a subtle sweetness.

Turkey & Bourbon hash
Serving breakfast throughout the day has been trending for the last year and this hash is a great way to use up leftover turkey. This dish is more on the indulgent side of healthy, but can be served across all day parts. The addition of Bourbon gives the hash a subtle sweetness without adding a ton of calories.


¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ lbs. russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into ½” chunks
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, ½” dice
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 floz. Bourbon
Kosher salt & freshly cracked pepper
10 oz. leftover turkey, shredded
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
4 eggs


Heat olive oil over high heat in a large nonstick skillet or flat top. Add potatoes and cook over high heat, tossing frequently, until browned on all sides.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions and bell pepper. Cook an additional ten minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add smoked paprika and stir to combine, cooking another minute.

Deglaze the pan with Bourbon and season generously with salt & pepper.

Add the shredded turkey and stir to combine. Continue cooking until turkey is heated through and potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Once hash is cooked, prepare eggs sunny side up.

Divide hash between four plates, garnish with green onions and top each plate with an egg. Finish with fresh cracked pepper and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Use grilled or roasted turkey tenderloins in this waist-trimming dish.
Use grilled or roasted turkey tenderloins in this waist-trimming dish.

Roasted turkey salad with honey sage vinaigrette
Salad is a great way to incorporate turkey into your menu. Use grilled or roasted turkey tenderloins, sliced and served hot or cold, or utilize leftover turkey tossed in a bit of the dressing to add some moisture back to the meat.

This salad highlights some of the winter’s most readily available ingredients—apples, squash and sage.


For the honey sage dressing:
2 floz. Honey
1 oz. fresh sage, stems removed
1 floz. Apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
8 floz. Canola oil
salt & pepper to taste

Place honey, sage, cider vinegar and lemon juice into a food processor. Process for about a minute.

With the processor still running, slowly add the canola oil. Season the dressing with salt & pepper.

Makes 1 ½ cups of dressing.

For the roasted apples:

2 granny smith apples, cored and sliced ¼” thick
½ floz. Canola oil
salt & pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together and roast for eight minutes at 450°. Cool completely.
Yields 1 ½ cups of roasted apples

For the roasted squash:

1 acorn squash, seeded and sliced ¼” thick
1 floz. Canola oil
salt & pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together and roast for eighteen minutes at 450°. Cool completely

Yields 1 cup of roasted squash

For Salad:

6 ounces of salad mix
3 floz. Honey sage dressing
4 oz. cooked turkey, sliced or shredded
2 Tbsp. toasted pecans
2 Tbsp. golden raisins
¼ cup roasted apples
¼ cup roasted squash
freshly cracked pepper

Toss salad mix, dressing, turkey, pecans and raisins together in a large bowl. Mound salad on a plate and top with roasted apples & squash. Finish with freshly cracked pepper.

Makes 1 salad.

Upping the ratio of lean turkey to pasta gives guests the pasta they crave and the protein they need.
Upping the ratio of lean turkey to pasta gives guests the pasta they crave and the protein they need.

Takeout Turkey & Noodles
Give your guests the pasta they’re craving by upping the lean protein to pasta ratio, as is the case with the recipe below. Each dish has approximately two ounces of pasta to four ounces of turkey.


1 lb. turkey thighs, trimmed of excess fat, and thinly sliced into bite sized pieces
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup shallots, thinly sliced
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sesame oil

2 Tbsp. canola oil
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb. Asian noodles (udon, soba, lo mein), cooked and cooled

Combine garlic, ginger, shallots, soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add sliced turkey and marinate for a minimum of four hours and a maximum of 24 hours.

When ready to serve, heat a large skillet over high heat. Add canola oil to the pan and heat until it’s nearly smoking.

Remove the turkey from the marinade and sauté over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Cook approximately five minutes, or until turkey is golden brown and begins to crisp on the edges.

Add the green onions, cilantro and chilled noodles to the pan, tossing to coat. Cook until heated through, about one to two minutes. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Divide noodles between four plates and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.