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Monday, April 12, 2010

Comfort Food: Crockpot Turkey Veggie Mac and Cheese

Shredded cheeseImage by quinn.anya via Flickr


It's time to put the finishing touch on the 2009 tax return. Time is running out as April 15th is this Thursday (yikes!). Needless to say, we got off to a late start by purchasing the tax software in the middle of March. We itemized our deductions and the annual tax-deductible receipt hunt had been in full swing over the last few days

With all the frustrations and stresses of tax-time, a nice crockpot full of comfort food is much needed this week.

This is my version of bliss, yummy mac and cheese hiding good-for-you veggies and some balancing protein too. I like the combination of the broccoli and greens, as these vegetables happen to be in the same family (Brassicaceae, also called Cruciferae, which are cruciferous vegetables) and their tastes compliment each other and the cream of broccoli soup based. Plus hardy greens work well in the crockpot, retaining both their shape and color during slow cooking.

For the two of us, this recipe produced several days of equally yummy, don't last very long leftovers.

Turkey, Veggie Mac and Cheese
serves 6

  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (10 ounce) cream of broccoli soup
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 packet (1.5 ounce) four cheese sauce mix
  • 12 ounces dried elbow macaroni (small size)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup frozen bell pepper strips
  • 1/2 cup frozen chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 4 to 6 cups fresh greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens, etc.) chopped into bite size pieces

1. Coat a 5 quart slow cooker liner with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Pour the chicken broth, cream of broccoli soup, evaporated milk and four cheese sauce mix into the slow cooker liner and whisk together until smooth. Add the elbow macaroni and shredded cheese and stir until combined.
3. In a microwave-safe 2 quart casserole dish place the ground turkey. Cover with a lid and microwave on HIGH for 5 to 6 minutes until the meat is cooked and the juices run clear. Drain off excess fat and break meat into clumps. Add the broccoli, pepper strips, onion and garlic and stir until combined.
4. Using a microwave vegetable steamer, cook the chopped greens for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until wilted. Add to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Pour the meat and vegetable mixture into the slow cooker liner and stir to combine.
5. Place the liner into the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours, until macaroni is tender.

VARIATIONS:
  • Try using cheddar cheese soup in place of the cream of broccoli for a stronger cheese flavor.
  • Omit the ground turkey and add vegetarian meat crumbles for a vegetarian twist on this dish.
  • No greens? Add some of your other favorite veggies, like carrot and/or zucchini circles, green beans, sugar snap peas, diced tomatoes, etc.
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2 comments

Mo said...

Sounds like something my guys will eat...if it has cheese in it they will eat it. I think I'll try it out.

mo

Selena said...

Yup! Cheese is amazing that way. Let me know if you try it and if your guys liked it.

BTW ... do you have a blog too? I'd love to come read what you have to say too. Let me know...