Having a brain injury changes how you go through your day, for me, how I process and organize my thoughts is different from before my TBI. It takes a lot more energy and effort to organize my thoughts, which is ok if I have time, I find I plan longer now. Cooking presents challenges for me after my accident, following recipes or staying organized can put my head in overload. I have had to learn to break down my cooking process into stages, this allows me to take short breaks and regroup.
My recipes come from ingredients found in my refrigerator and cupboard.
Lately we have been having most of our pasta sauces with ground beef. Some in the family had been asking for a change, there was also a concern with the reaction that sauce was having on certain individuals and their acid reflux. To meet these concerns we are making a couple of changes to this pasta sauce. Well one change and one omission, the change is Ground Turkey instead of Ground Beef. The omission is, we are not including a Tomato Paste or Tomato Sauce to the sauce recipe.
Ground Turkey (1 – 2 lbs)
Mushrooms (12-14 oz)
Celery (4-5 sticks)
Garlic (5-6 cloves minced)
Onion (1 large) Bell Peppers Red Baby Carrots (1 cup)
Diced Tomatoes (1 Large tin)
My go to cooking appliance is our electric frying pan, I like the heat control and the ease of cleanup.
Today I’m using Ground Turkey. A protein substitute could easily be made here, Beef, Chicken, Sausage or Tofu are a few choices. Brown the Ground Turkey, I season the Ground Turkey with Ground Pepper and Sea Salt. I also add in 2 minced Garlic gloves. I will season more as I add other ingredients.
Normally I would drain the grease from Ground Beef and rinse the Ground Beef under Hot Water. This is a is in consideration of family members and their health concerns. With the Ground Turkey I am able to skip this step as the the Turkey is very lean.
For a family of five, I used 1 pound or 500 grams of Ground Turkey, expecting a small amount of leftovers.
Seasoning I sprinkle a quick pass over the Ground Turkey with Sea Salt and Ground Pepper. My family is not one that cares for a lot of spice in their food and for the health concerns of some I am careful with amount of Salt I use.
I give the Mushrooms a quick rinse to remove any dirt and the stuff Mushrooms grown in. If you like, canned Mushrooms could be used. You may find it easier to use pre-sliced Mushrooms, I buy the whole Mushrooms, they are usually a little less expensive and it only takes a minute to slice them.
I give the Celery a quick rinse to remove any dirt. I cut the Celery into bite size pieces, I try for no more then a quarter inch thick. We are not being judged on Chopper here, so no one is looking at our knife skills if we are a little thicker or thinner.
I remove the outside layer of the Onion and cut the ends off. I cut the Onion into bite size pieces, I try for around half inch squares.
We usually have Baby Carrots around for lunches, I like to add the Baby Carrots into my cooking when possible. The Carrots add color to the sauce. To speed up the cooking time and to stay with the thyme of a bite size portion, I quarter the Baby Carrots. One cup of Baby Carrots takes me around 2 – 3 minutes to prepare.
Step Six Add the Mushroom Slices, Celery Pieces, Onion Pieces and Baby Carrot Spears to the Ground Turkey.
Step Seven Add the remainder of the Garlic (minced) to the vegetables and Ground Turkey.
Step Eight Add the Tin of Diced Tomatoes. I am adding one tin of Diced Tomatoes mainly out of concern for family, more Diced Tomatoes could be added for the extra flavor. I am also NOT adding a Tomato Paste or Tomato Sauce, these could be added for a thicker sauce. The juice for the sauce will come from the Tin Tomatoes and from simmering the sauce while covered. Water can be add if needed. I season the Ground Turkey and Vegetables with Ground Pepper and Sea Salt one more time.
Cover the sauce and simmer (on my pan 250F) stirring occasionally until the Celery is tender.
Tip this is for anyone with picky eaters. Cook down the Mushrooms, Celery, Garlic, Carrots and Onion in a separate pot with a little Becel or water. Add the mixture to the Ground Turkey after the Ground Turkey is portioned out for the those that prefer the Ground Turkey without Vegetables. This does create one extra pot to clean but now we are all having the same menu.
Step Nine The Bell Peppers, I add them to the Ground Turkey Sauce about the same time I start my pasta. I like the Bell Peppers to have a little crispness to them. The finer the Bell Peppers are cut the more likely they are to cook away to nothing. I only had a Red Bell Pepper on hand, Green, Yellow and Orange could be added for additional color and flavor.
When the pasta is done we are ready to serve.
The requested pasta was spaghetti, served with a dinner roll and grated Parmesan Cheese.