Pharm Fresh

The foodie alter-ego of a pharmacy student

Turkey Tenderloins with Bacon Shallot Sauce November 17, 2009

Filed under: main dish,pork,turkey — pharmfresh @ 4:50 pm
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I’ve come a long way from when I first started cooking.  I used to be so afraid to deviate from a recipe because I didn’t want to mess it up.  I would check and double check my measurements, and not even change the amount of salt and pepper the recipe called for.  And don’t even get me started on what happened when the recipe didn’t give exact amounts of salt and pepper!  I’m proud to say now that unless I’m baking something very finicky, I pretty much throw caution to the wind and tweak almost every recipe I try to fit my tastes.  This recipe is by far my most successful tweak yet!

If you saw the original recipe that I based this off of, you probably would barely be able to tell that it’s the same thing.  The general method is still the same, but I changed quite a few steps and ingredients to fit my tastes better.  To begin with, the original recipe was supposed to have a thinner sauce with sage and pancetta, but I really think it tastes better with bacon and shallots.  But really, what doesn’t taste better with the addition of a little bacon?

This is a little more time-consuming than your average weeknight meal, but it’s definitely not impossible.  I actually make this quite often on weekdays – after you get the general method and steps down, it’ll probably take you about 30-40 minutes to prepare.  I like to cut the turkey tenderloins crosswise into about 1 inch thick medallions so that they cook faster, and are easier to cut and eat at the end.  The sauce for this is phenomenal – I love the combination of the salty bacon and chicken broth with the sweet and fruity white wine.  Reducing them all together creates a really deep and savory flavor combination.  The more you reduce the sauce, the saltier it gets, so I would recommend using reduced sodium chicken broth and unsalted butter, then adding a little salt at the very end if needed.

Turkey Tenderloins with Bacon Shallot Sauce

Adapted from: Cooking Light

Makes: 4 servings

1 pkg. (about 1 lb.) turkey tenderloins

2 tbsp. olive oil

8 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into medium-sized pieces

2 shallots, finely chopped

3/4 c. white wine

1/2 c. chicken broth

3 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

Rice, for serving (if desired)

1) If desired, cut turkey tenderloins crosswise into 1 inch thick medallions.  Sprinkle with pepper only.  (Remember, the sauce itself is going to be really salty, so we don’t want to add any extra salt until the very end).

2) Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Place the tenderloin medallions in the pan and let cook without touching for about 1 minute, or until nicely golden on that side.  Flip over and cook until completely cooked through, about 2-3 more minutes.  Remove from the pan and set aside, covering with foil to keep warm.

3) In the same pan the turkey was cooked in and still over medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, until crisp, but not burned.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.  Keep 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease in the pan; discard the rest.

4) Reheat bacon grease over medium-low heat until hot (still in the same pan that we started with) and then add shallots.  Saute until softened, about 2 minutes.

5) Carefully add the wine to the pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/4 cup.

6) Add the chicken broth to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1/2 cup.

7) Take the pan off the heat and add the butter and most of the bacon (reserving a little bit for garnishing) and stir until the butter has melted and the sauce has thickened slightly.  Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.

8) Place the turkey medallions on a plate and spoon the sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with remaining bacon pieces.  Serve with rice, if desired.


Baked Ziti June 1, 2009

Filed under: main dish,pasta,turkey — pharmfresh @ 3:58 pm
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Happy first day of June! I’m so glad it’s finally getting warm here. I love summer!

This baked ziti was the second thing that Jen and I cooked during our cooking extravaganza. I love baked pasta dishes, because they’re always so easy to make and they freeze and reheat really well. This one was a little bit different than the baked ziti I always make, because it calls for adding some fresh basil (always a good thing!) and ricotta cheese. I will definitely be making it sometime soon!


That’s me!  Mixing spaghetti sauce into the cooked ground turkey.


Mmmm, look at that fresh basil and garlic!

(And wine and Wheat Thins…hey, we can’t have hungry cooks!)


Jen and I with the finished product!

This recipe is really easy to customize to fit your own tastes.  You can use ground beef or turkey and you can add more or less cheese and fresh herbs.  Instead of using plain tomato sauce, we used spaghetti sauce, which will bump up the flavor quite a bit.  My favorite is Prego Fresh Mushroom, but you can use whatever kind you like.  Instead of using shredded mozzarella cheese, Jen ended up buying a few balls of fresh mozzarella.  We cut it up into chunks and mixed about half into the pasta mixture and then sprinkled the rest on top right before baking.  I actually liked this better, because then there’s little pockets of cheese inside the pasta, along with the nice little blobs of it on top.


Baked Ziti

Makes: One 13×9 inch pan (about 8 servings)

Adapted from:

1/2 lb. ziti pasta

4 tsp. olive oil

1/2 c. chopped onion

1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. ground turkey

2 c. tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce)

1/3 c. fresh basil, chopped

1 c. ricotta cheese

2/3 c. grated mozzarella cheese

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until just shy of being done (you want them to be still slightly chewy in the middle), about 8-10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2) Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, add the onion and saute until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for one minute more.

3) Add the ground turkey to the skillet with the onion and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until turkey is completely cooked through.  Drain off any excess fat.

4) Add the tomato sauce to the skillet and mix until combined.  Heat over low heat until bubbly, about 5 minutes.

5) In a large bowl, mix together the turkey mixture, pasta, basil and ricotta cheese.  Spoon mixture into a greased 13×9 inch pan.

6) Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese evenly over the pasta mixture.

7) Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned and the mixture is heated through.


I’m Back! Plus Crock Pot Turkey Chili May 31, 2009

Filed under: main dish,turkey — pharmfresh @ 10:50 pm
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Hello again!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  I bet you almost forgot about me, didn’t you?

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last posted.  I feel terrible!  In my defense, I haven’t actually cooked almost anything this past month.  It’s not like I’ve been cooking these fabulous things and just not sharing.

This past month has been, well, stressful.  I managed to get sick, break up with my boyfriend, take all of my finals, and decide to move to a city I’ve never lived in before all in the space of about a week.  Not my best week, obviously.  Needless to say, I was a bit stressed.  I didn’t really eat anything that entire week.  Like literally, there were a few days when I would be getting ready for bed and realize “oh, I didn’t eat dinner.  Wait, or lunch.  Uh-oh, or breakfast!”  And even when I did eat, it was either pre-made TV dinners or cereal.  I couldn’t really bring myself to cook anything.  I feel like I lost my cooking mojo for a bit, but luckily I’m starting to recover.

I moved to Kalamazoo for the summer to live with my little sister.  It was an incredibly last-minute decision, but so far I’m really happy with it.  We get along surprisingly well when my parents aren’t around, haha.  My friend Jen also lives in Kalamazoo, and she had me over for a little cooking extravaganza.  She usually tries to cook a ton of food in advance  and then freezes it, so her and her husband don’t have to cook a lot during the week, and so her husband eats something other than beef jerkey and crackers when she’s off in Big Rapids during the week taking classes.

I had so much fun cooking with Jen!  Her house (and especially her kitchen) is absolutely gorgeous, and I was so excited to finally get to see it!  It was nice to get back in the kitchen and actually cook.  We made three entrees, all of which I’ll be posting, the first of which being turkey chili in the crock pot.  I’m ashamed to admit that I walked out of her house without actually having tasted anything, but from what I’ve heard from Jen and Frankie, everything was delicious.  I can tell you that at the very least, everything smelled amazing as it was cooking!

IMG_4058 Everyone, meet Jen!  She’s very enthusiastically browning the ground turkey for the chili.  Also, isn’t the backsplash in her kitchen really pretty?

This is a really great recipe for chili that I will definitely be making sometime in the near future.  I love that it uses the crock pot, because it frees up so much time that you would normally be spending standing by the stove, stirring the chili on the stovetop.  With this recipe, you chuck everything in the crock pot, turn it on, and then let it be.  It’s awesome.

With chili, I’ve found that it’s really important to taste often as you’re adding spices.  Everyone likes their chili a certain way, and you’ll never know if it tastes right to you if you don’t, well, taste it!  We started by adding about half of the spices that the recipe calls for, and then tasting and adding more as we saw fit.  If I remember correctly, we increased the amount of cumin and cayenne pepper to about 1 teaspoon each to fit Jen’s tastes. Also, this makes a TON of chili.  It completely filled up Jen’s extra large crock pot, so if you only have a normal sized crock pot (and unfortunately I don’t know the volumes of each, but you can see the size of Jen’s from the picture below) I would recommend halving the recipe, or making it in batches.


Crock Pot Turkey Chili

Adapted from:

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 lb. ground turkey

1 onion, coarsely chopped

2 c. water

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (16 oz.) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp. garlic, minced

2 tbsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or less, depending on your tastes)

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the ground turkey and cook until it’s no longer pink.  Place the turkey in the crock pot.

2) Add all other ingredients into the crock pot and mix well.  If desired, start by adding only half of all the spices, and then adjust to reach the flavor that you like.

3) Turn the crock pot on high and cook for 2-3 hours.