Monday, September 6, 2010

Turkey Cutlets

Ever since reading an article about how many chemicals and artificial hormones and junk is fed to poultry and beef, I've been trying to buy organic meats. It's tough to shop organic... there isn't much of a selection and the prices are higher than non-organic meat... but it's our health we're talking about, so I figure it's worth the expense.  Sometimes, though, I can't always find organic, so I go for the "natural" brand... it's not classified as organic, but they are more stringent in their requirements that the farmers can't use certain artificial hormones or chemicals... and that's how we come to this posting. 

I was shopping at our friendly local grocery store and found some Nature's Promise turkey cutlets.  The package said 99% fat free... not too bad, huh?  I didn't really have much of an idea of what I would do with them, but I threw them in my cart.  I perused my fav food websites and decided that I would just make up a recipe (surprise, surprise).  I decided on Italian breaded turkey cutlets. 

I made this on a weeknight, when I didn't have much time to cook, so I cheated and used store bought pasta sauce... but hey, I decided it was worth it to go to the gym and use store bought sauce rather than skip the gym and make the sauce from scratch. So here you have: Turkey Cutlets!
The ingredients are pretty simple

* 1 lb whole grain angel hair pasta
* 3/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs (I make these myself, regular breadcrumbs would work just fine)
*1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 1 lb thinly sliced turkey cutlets
* 1 tbs dried oregano
*1 tbs dried basil
*2 tbs canola oil
*2 tsp garlic powder
* 1 jar of your fav pasta sauce

First, on a plate, you mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and garlic powder.  Over medium heat, add the canola oil to a saucepan and let heat.  While waiting for the oil to come to temperature, take each individual turkey cutlet and cover them in the breadcrumb mixture.

Breading the turkey cutlet

Typically, you want to have 1 "wet hand" and 1 "dry hand."  This means that you use one hand to touch the raw turkey and turn it over, and you want to use the other hand to cover the turkey with the breadcrumbs.  By using this method, your hands don't get as messy as they could if you used both hands to do both jobs.

Once the oil has heated thoroughly, gently place the breaded turkey cutlet in the pan. 
waiting to get nice and brown
You want to make sure the temperature isn't too high, or the outside breading will brown too quickly and the inside will stay raw.  You also want to make sure that you don't crowd the pan, if you add too much meat to the pan, it will lower the temperature of your oil, which will result in your food not turning a lovely brown color.  Luckily the first scenario isn't much of a problem, since the turkey cutlets are really thin, it doesn't take long for them to cook the whole way through.  When you notice the bottom start to brown up, flip them.  Don't flip them too many times though.  I'm not sure if this is an actual strategy... but I try to only flip the meat once, rather than flipping them over and over again.  Once both sides are nice and brown, remove the cutlet to a plate lined with a paper towels.  This allows the excess oil to drain from the turkey cutlet, allowing it to remain as crispy and crunchy as possible.
just draining the excess oil

While I was cooking the turkey cutlets in batches, I heated up the pasta water and cooked the angel hair (whole grain, of course).  I also heated the pasta sauce over the stove.  I added some random spices and herbs to the sauce to give it a bit of flair... I always add at least 1 extra ingredient to pasta sauce to make me feel like I helped make it taste better. :) 

Once the pasta was done, I piled it on a plate and topped it with a large amount of pasta sauce -Curt LOVES lots of sauce on his food, no matter what it is.  Then I added a few cutlets of turkey (they were small, so 3 worked pretty well).  Then, just for good measure, I grated just a bit more parmesan cheese to dust over the top of the dish.

nice, homecooked meal

Voila!  The food was great!  Curt loved it and had seconds... a sure sign he really liked the food.  He seemed to really enjoy it and I wrapped up the rest for lunches for the rest of the week. 

Overall, I think this was a great dish... it was relatively simple and it had a lot of flavor to it.  I'll definitely be adding this to my repertoire of recipes!


Stay tuned... remember my last posting about trying random recipes from the Martha Stewart Cookbook?  Yesterday, I opened to a random page and had 3 recipes to choose from... I decided on Pastitsio... I'm not really sure what it is, but it involves ground lamb and elbow macaroni... I plan on making it on Wednesday night for date night with the hubs!


  1. OMG pastitsio is on my list of things to make this year! It's also one of my favorite Greek foods... think a noodle/lasagne-ish casserole. Let me know how it turns out!

  2. If you're trying to eat healthy, shy away from canola oil. There are other alternatives such as avocado, grape seed, organic evoo (good quality), and don't forget good old fashioned lard. Also, you are better off making your own pasta sauce unless you buy organic.....too much sodium and preservatives in the popular brands.

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