Turkey-pasta kickasserole

Last night, we made super veggie pasta sauce- ground beef, lots of eggplant, some green pepper in pasta sauce over quinoa garden pagodas. Yum. Tonight, I wasn’t feeling like a repeat, and I had some ground turkey that had been intended for meatloaf in the fridge. TCB suggested kickasserole, and I agreed!

I feared that the turkey would turn out bland and/or watery, so I browned it first with Penzy’s Bicentennial Rub. I picked that spice mix because I had just put it away last night and it was in front. After adding it, I read that it was a good mix for turkey. Hooray!

After nearly browning it, I added half a green pepper, coursely chopped, and a small jar of mushrooms (hey, it’s what was in the house), and some more spice mix.  While this all cooked, I made a box of quinoa pasta, elbow-style. I only cooked it halfway through because TCB hopped in the shower with Angus at about that time, and I figured I’d just cook it all together in the oven while Mr. Dog got clean, but didn’t want the pasta to fall apart. I added canned diced tomatoes, more spice mix, some basil for fun, the stirred to in the casserole, baked around 250F for maybe 20 minutes. When we finally had a clean dog again, I pulled the casserole out, sprinkled the rest of the parmesan on top, the re-covered it to let it all melt.

The result: a tasty, crunchy, colorful kickasserole with a beautiful layer of cheese and non-crumbly pasta. The course black pepper and other spices in the rub really brought out the turkey-ness, and I don’t think this would have been as tasty with a stronger meat. Success!
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Recipe:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 large green pepper, coursely chopped
  • small jar mushrooms (or fresh, just add them earlier)
  • bicentennial rub (a mix of coarse flake salt, Tellicherry black pepper, sugar, turmeric, minced orange peel and coriander, heavy on the black pepper, it seemed.)
  • little bit of basil
  • garlic to taste
  • olive oil
  • 2 8-oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 8-oz. box of quinoa elbows (or your usual elbows, I’m sure it would be similar)
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan (roughly)
  • Optional: onion, chopped

Brown the turkey in a large pan over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil. About halfway through, add some rub and onion (if desired). When the turkey’s nearly done, add the green pepper, mushrooms, garlic and a little more rub. Let that cook for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes, with the juice. Also add some basil and more rub. Don’t be afraid to slightly over-spice this, since the pasta will dilute the spice. Turn the heat down and let the mix heat through.

While this heats, start the water for the pasta and cook it most of the way. For my pasta, I let it sit in the boiling water for 6 of the 8 recommended. Drain the pasta, then mix the pasta and tomato mix together in a deep casserole. Put that in the over, covered, and let it bake for 20-30 minutes, about the time to clean up the kitchen and maybe take a shower.

After taking it out, sprinkle the cheese on top of the casserole, then re-cover it to let the cheese melt, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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