I may be a lot of things, but a good cook isn’t one of them – which is surprising considering how much I like to eat! But have no fear, despite my poor cooking skills my family doesn’t go hungry. My husband does the cooking in our house and I am thankful for his culinary expertise every day. That is every day except Tuesdays which is the day that I am responsible for making dinner, also known in my house as GMT — ground meat Tuesday.
On any given day, my husband will whip up a well-balanced meal worthy of three Michelin stars and I struggle to make minute-rice. Chicken nuggets are a staple in our house for the kids. If it isn’t fried, wrapped in bacon, or dipped in cheese my son won’t look at it and my daughter is on an avocado diet – if avocado isn’t somehow incorporated into the meal, she won’t eat.
So what’s a girl to do? I look at chicken and all I can think of is salmonella, and I won’t go near the grill without a fire extinguisher and my cell phone so I can call the fire department when I inevitably set someone or something on fire.
My creativity is stifled in the kitchen so every week I find myself on the Internet looking for recipes. I type in words like “simple” or “easy” and when I look at the recipes I realize I either don’t have the ingredients or the recipe is surely mislabeled as easy. Any recipe that calls for a braise or sear is a little too complicated for me. But no matter how hard I look, I always go back to my go-to protein – ground meat. It’s so versatile: Sloppy Joes, meatballs, meatloaf, oh my! I can make magic with ground meat.
But my magic hasn’t always been healthy
So I turned to the Internet again and found that one way to make my ground meat food healthier was to substitute the 80/20 for ground turkey. Ground turkey has a lower fat content (typically less than 10%), less calories, and is high in protein. And would you believe that we had some in the freezer? I guess my husband had been sneaking us ground turkey and we didn’t even know the difference!
With my turkey defrosted I set out to make one of the kid’s favorite meals, Sloppy Joe’s. I chopped the onions and garlic and sautéed them in olive oil instead of butter and then added the ground turkey. Once the turkey was browned I was amazed at how little fat had to be drained before I added the sauce. And here’s the best part. Instead of using the canned sauce which is extremely high in salt, I found a recipe in one of my husband’s “healthy” cookbooks and made my own sauce. Watch out Top Chef!
As I was spooning the Sloppy Joes onto whole wheat buns, I could feel my anxiety rising. What would my family think? My husband would be kind even if the food was horrible, and trust me he has had to stomach horrible before, but the kids? Well, they operate under the honesty is the best policy mantra so there was no telling what they were going to say.
As my son finished his first bite and a smile crossed his face, my anxiety started to fade. Then I looked at my husband and he said, “These are really good.” Then I turned to my final critic, my four year-old daughter, and asked her what she thought of mommy’s cooking. Her head bobbed enthusiastically and she said, “It’s good mommy, but where is the avocado?”
So GMT is now GTMT, ground turkey meat Tuesday. And next time I won’t forget the avocado.