Is ground turkey really a better choice for your family?
With beef prices rising, many families today are having to make choices and substitutions in their favorite traditional recipes. If you use a lot of ground meat, you may be considering ground turkey, especially the white meat. When seasoned well, turkey is a great substitute in chili, burgers, stuffed peppers, spaghetti and pasta dishes, casseroles, meatloaves, meatballs and sauces.
1. The nutrition pros and cons of beef vs. turkey.
Before jumping on the turkey bandwagon just to save a few dollars, consider the needs of your family. Ground turkey breast has less fat and calories but more cholesterol. Beef has more protein and potassium than turkey. Ground beef is much juicer and flavorful than white turkey meat. As with any foods, make sure your purchase is fresh and will be used right away or frozen.
2. Solving the problem of drier turkey meat over moist ground beef.
As a rule, ground turkey (especially the breast) will be drier than ground beef. This will mean you need to add ingredients to make moister, palatable dishes. Perhaps you can do ½ and ½ as you experiment with flavors and recipes. Depending on your tastes and what you are cooking, here are a few suggestions:
finely chopped mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers
bread crumbs or dry bread soaked in milk
salsa, fresh or canned
diced apples or pears
soy sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce
3. Which herbs and spices are best with ground turkey?
Substituting turkey for ground beef will require adding more flavor enhancers as well as moisture. Some good additives are herbs (especially fresh) and spices. Someone has wisely said, “I check the aroma of a spice or herb; if it smells appetizing to me, I try a little in my recipe.” Some good choices are oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, pepper, chili powder and garlic. Also add shredded Parmesan or other cheeses.
A simple recipe and a reminder.
Here is a basic burger to try: 2 lb. ground turkey, ½ cup grated zucchini, ½ cup chopped onion, one egg. Add salt, pepper and other seasonings as desired. Serve on toasted bun with spicy mustard and pickles. Yum! A reminder: ground turkey must be cooked thoroughly, no medium or rare turkey burgers!
Let me hear from you; what changes are you making in your household to keep your family healthy as prices go up?