Weeknight Dinner Staples

I think most of us appreciate a quick homecooked meal especially when it is a weeknight.  This meal idea is easy and probably won’t require you to buy much in addition to what you may keep on hand.

Last week I wrote an article for the Front Porch News about all the great recipes that Brookshire’s (a grocery store) offers in their free pamphlet and online at brookshires.com.  To go along with the roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes with fresh cranberry pecan relish, I served turkey with pan gravy and jazzed-up Near East Quinoa and Brown Rice Blend, roasted red pepper and basil flavor.  All of the ingredients are available at my local Brookshire’s store.

To see more on Brookshire’s recipes, go to Front Porch News (click here).

This meal looks elegant although it is pretty simple.  Here are my secrets and recipes for this great meal.  An added bonus is that the ingredients are all pretty healthy.

 

For the turkey:

Jennie-O All-Natural Turkey Breast Tenderloins
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Water
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce
Chicken Stock – salt free

I like to cook the turkey breasts in my pressure cooker (I use an Instant Pot).

Instant Pot Cooker Recipe:

First sear the breasts on both sides in olive oil.  I do that step in my Instant Pot, but it could also be done on the stove top in a pan (my preference would be non-stick or cast iron).  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on the sauté or sear setting (medium-high heat on the stove top).  Once the oil is hot, place the breasts in the oil.  Sear on one side until starting to brown (three to five minutes on each side – keep an eye on them) and then turn over.  Let the second side get a bit of browning, then turn off the Instant Pot.

Add a cup of water (or whatever your pot or cooker recommends).  For Instant Pot pressure cooking, I cook 6 minutes with a quick release.

Slow Cooker Recipe:

First sear the breasts on both sides in olive oil.  On the stove top in a non-stick or cast-iron pan heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil at medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot, place the breasts in the oil.  Sear on one side until browned a bit (three to five minutes on each side – keep an eye on them) and then turn over.  Let the second side get a bit of browning, then turn off the stove.

Add a cup of water (or whatever your cooker recommends) and the turkey breasts.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Once done, I put the breasts on my cutting board.  Strain the juices from the turkey into a heat resistant measuring cup.  Throw out any solids.

In a small non-stick saucepan, melt a tablespoon of butter on medium heat.  Using a whisk, stir in a tablespoon of flour.  Let the flour turn golden while continuing to stir (3-5 minutes).  Then add about a cup of the turkey stock (if you don’t have that much add chicken broth) and a tablespoon of browning sauce.  Heat until it starts to bubble, continuing to stir the entire time.   Once it bubbles, it is ready.

Cut the breast into medallions for plating.  Add a drizzle of the gravy over the breasts or serve in a gravy boat.

Serves 4-6

Notes:

The tenderloin package looks just like a pork tenderloin, however there are two breasts in the roll.  You may want to freeze one if you are only feeding two people.

Jazzed-Up Quinoa and Brown Rice Blend

1 box Near East Quinoa and Brown Rice Blend in roasted red pepper and basil flavor prepared per the directions on the box
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup frozen green peas
Olive oil
Chicken broth salt free

Prepare the quinoa blend per the package directions.  Once done, set it aside.

In a non-stick skillet, add two tablespoons of olive oil to heat on medium heat.  Once heated, add the diced onions and frozen peas.  Heat them until the onions start to get tender and translucent.

Once the vegetables are tender, add two more tablespoons of olive oil.  Stir.  Then add the cooked quinoa blend, stirring as it sautés for about 2-3 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of chicken broth.  Stir and heat for 1-2 minutes to insure everything is evenly distributed and heated and that liquids have absorbed.

Serves 4-6

Notes:

If you don’t have frozen green peas, you could use a small can of peas, drained.  Just add them after the onions are getting tender.  If you have neither of the two, a small fresh carrot diced into small cubes (about 1/4″) would work.  Add them when you add the onions to the pan.    Leftover broccoli or asparagus would also work!  Just cut either into small pieces, and add to the pan once the onions are almost tender.

If you use the help of the pressure cooker or crock pot, this meal could be ready in about 40 minutes.  The gravy will only take about 10 minutes.  The 35 minutes of baking the sweet potatoes (click here for brookshires.com recipe for the Cinnamon-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Cranberry Pecan Relish) is part of why it will take you 40 minutes to get this meal on the table.  You could bake those ahead as well as prepare the relish in advance.  You could even make the package of quinoa over the weekend.  It would reheat in the pan when you add it to the vegetables.

As with any recipe, I sometimes have to make substitutions based on what I have on hand, what I need to use up, and what is available at the grocery store.  These recipes are easy to alter.

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