Many people turn their noses up at ground turkey before they even try it. Because it has a low fat content, it is assumed that the meat will be dry and without flavor. However, it is actually difficult to distinguish from ground beef when prepared in your favorite dish.
When my husband had a mild heart attack several years ago, his physician advised that he completely omit red meat from his diet. Even lean ground beef was not permitted. My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and this proved extremely difficult for him. While I would be satisfied eating chicken every night of the week, he becomes quickly bored with it. I knew that if I were to keep him on track, I would need to think of an alternative quickly.
It was during this time that I discovered ground turkey (a.k.a. turkey burger). You can find it located in the meat department, usually right next to the ground beef. It is very pale in color, almost a light pink. Nothing like the deep scarlet red of ground beef. Of course, ground turkey is more expensive than regular ground beef. It seems anytime you try to buy healthier food, it ends up costing more. But you can’t put a price on good health. Remember that when your grocery bill goes up!
I kept my turkey burger purchase a secret, and prepared dinner without letting anyone know I had replaced their beloved hamburger. You see, any time a recipe calls for ground beef, you can substitute it with turkey burger. That first night, I made chili. My husband and children ate it without realizing anything was different. And they liked it! It wasn’t until after we cleaned up that I let them in on my secret.
Since that night, my family has willingly consumed ground turkey without complaint. I feel better knowing that it is lower in fat and calories than ground beef, and my husband is pleased that he can enjoy some of his favorite dishes without disobeying his doctor’s orders.
Here is a quick nutritional comparison of the two meats. Nutritional values are based on a 3 ounce cooked portion, broiled, well done.
Ground Beef (80% Lean / 20% fat)
Fat 15g, Calories 235, Saturated Fat 5.8g, Cholesterol 85 g
Ground Turkey (92% Lean / 8% fat)
Fat 11g, Calories 200, Saturated Fat 2.9g, Cholesterol 87 g
Now, seeing the two side by side, you may not think it’s much of a difference. But keep in mind that this is only for 3 ounces. Most people consume more than 3 ounces of meat at a time. Imagine the amount of fat and calories you can cut back on, simply by eating ground turkey in place of ground beef two times a week. The benefits will add up quickly.
Need a few meal ideas? Try replacing the ground beef in your tacos, chili, spaghetti sauce, meatloaf and Salisbury steak. Use the same recipes you already have, but use ground turkey instead.
Try this recipe I’ve come up with for turkey burgers. These patties are so delicious, our family doesn’t even eat them on a bun. The finished meat tastes almost like breakfast sausage. Buy the pre-made turkey burger patties. Season them with low sodium salt and black pepper. Then, sprinkle with 1 ½ tbsp of Emeril Lagasse’s, Emeril’s Essence (recipe to follow). Gently sauté in a skillet with olive oil until fully cooked.
Emeril’s Essence Recipe (Yield 2/3 cup)
Combine all ingredients and store in an air tight container. (this seasoning is great on all meat)
2 ½ tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried thyme