Let’s talk about turkey! It’s hard to picture a holiday dinner celebration without the turkey. Thanksgiving is coming, but don’t just think of the holiday; now, turkey seems to be a staple on salads, sandwiches, and ground for tacos, spaghetti, burgers and in chili.
Turkey comes as the actual bird (fresh or frozen), ground and processed, as you find in the deli case.
Here are a couple of quick facts about turkey:
- Turkey should cook until it’s internal temperature reaches 165°F to reduce the risk of food borne illness.
- Dark turkey meat generally contains more vitamins and minerals but also has more fat content and calories than white meat.
- Removing the skin of a turkey also removes much of the fat content. It is easy to remove the skin to eat a leaner, less fattening meal.
How do you prepare your turkey? Try it differently each time you cook a bird or even a breast. It is delicious baked, roasted, grilled, fried, smoked, rotisseried or even slow-cooked. Regardless of how you prepare it, always remember that the internal temperature should reach 165°F at its thickest part.
The nutrients in turkey depend upon the cut. Although the breast of the turkey has less fat and calories than most other cuts of meat, do not assume that just because a product is made of turkey that it’s better for you. If you make turkey burgers, the amount of dark meat in the ground turkey can make your burger have just as much saturated fat as a beef burger. Be sure you are eating the white meat when preparing meals with ground turkey.
Processed turkey (including hot dogs and turkey bacon) are high in sodium. If purchasing turkey from the deli counter, the store should be able to tell you which brand of turkey will meet your dietary needs. Even pre-packaged, frozen turkey burgers can be full of salt and preservatives, so always remember to read the labels. Again, just because it’s turkey doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you.
When purchasing, go for fresh, lean, organic turkey that is pasture-raised without antibiotics. Factory-farmed turkey is generally injected with salt and other preservatives during processing. To avoid too much salt and preservatives, choose unprocessed turkey.
- You now know how to choose turkey, so let’s talk about turkey and adding it to your diet. A fresh or frozen turkey is generally available year-round, so it’s an easy addition to your menu planning. Try adding turkey in some of these ways:
- Add it hot or cold to a salad for added protein
- Use it instead of chicken in curries
- Add it ground to casseroles, tacos, spaghetti sauce, or anywhere you would previously have used ground beef
- Make your own stock from the turkey bones and add the meat to soups
- Combine toppings like lettuce, tomato, and mustard to make a great lettuce wrap with sliced or ground turkey
- Make delicious burgers and meatballs
Now, let’s get a turkey recipe going. Try this classic roast turkey breast recipe but prepare it in your air fryer.
Classic Roast Turkey (in your air fryer)
- Air Fryer
- 1 bone-in turkey breast about 4 lbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 cloves garlic smashed
- Pat the turkey breast dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Put the chicken into the air fryer basket and drizzle with olive oil. Rub with herbs and garlic.
- Turn on the air fryer to 400°F for 30 minutes. When timer expires, reduce temperature to 350°F and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy. The thickest part of the turkey should register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Let turkey rest for 10 minutes, carve and serve.
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