Ahh, leftovers…everyone’s least favorite thing in the world (unless it’s cold pizza from last night’s bar hopping, of course). The reality here is when you cook for two, there’s generally leftovers no matter how hard you try to ONLY cook for two. Usually, I’m okay with it because I can take it to work with me for my lunch the next day, but a lot of the time it ends up going to waste.
Whenever I go to the grocery store, I always stock up on fresh organic produce with the intent to eat it within a few days. Life happens though and it ends up going bad and being thrown into the trash. So in my attempt to prevent this problem in the future and make conscious efforts to eliminate waste, I’m trying this new thing I like to call “fridge raiding.”
The name itself is pretty self-explanatory, but since you are just dying to read what I have to say about it, here it goes. “Fridge raiding,” according to the dictionary of Kate from Cat ‘n Rat, is the process of grabbing anything and everything from your refrigerator and throwing it into either a baking dish, skillet, or smothering it in cheese, and cooking it. Example: Kate has ground turkey, wilting cherry tomatoes, questionable zucchini and squash, and a lot of cheddar cheese in her possession that will be thrown into the trash unless she comes up with a creative way to cook these items together without making it taste like your neighbor, Ethel’s, dirty old feet.
Seriously, I surprised myself. And I’m not trying to toot my horn here, but this dish actually turned out to be pretty darn good. Now naturally, anything covered in cheese will probably taste at least half-way decent, but this healthy bake managed to satisfy my husband’s belly. I even got some legitimate praise about it from him (he doesn’t know my dirty little secret about half-assing this recipe, shhhhh!).
Garlic and olive oil, my friends, in excessive use will never stir you wrong.
- 1 lb ground, lean turkey (I use 99% fat free)*
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 handful of sweet cherry tomatoes, about 6-8, cut into quarters
- 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash, sliced into halves and coarsely chopped
- 1/4-1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, for topping
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 2 tsp black pepper, salt to taste
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 2 tsp poultry seasoning
- Preheat oven to 350° and grease a loaf or 8×8 pan
- Over medium heat, place EVOO and garlic in a skillet and cook until fragrant, but not smoking, about 3-4 mins
- Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3-4 mins
- Add the quartered cherry tomatoes and cook until they are completely wilted and the juices are covering the onions, about 5-6 mins
- Add the zucchini and squash and cook until tender, about 7 mins
- Sprinkle the black pepper and basil into the veggies and stir until the veggies are completely coated. Add the ground turkey and break up the chunks with a wooden spoon, sprinkling the poultry seasoning on the meat. Cook until browned, about 6-8 mins. You can add more seasonings as you feel necessary, I usually guestimate based on the scent of what I’m cooking.
- Pour the turkey veggie mixture into your pan and pat down so it is evenly distributed throughout. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly on top.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese starts to bubble and brown slightly on top. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
*Side note: the turkey meat will appear very dry when you first start to cook it. DO NOT add extra EVOO because the meat self-moistens when it is cooked down. If you add too much oil, the mixture will become far too wet and will not bake well in the oven. Just trust me on this, okay?!