I love kitchen gadgets (even as a child my Christmas list included requests for a sandwich maker and juicer), yet I was still skeptical about the Spiralizer. I thought it would be tough to use, even tougher to clean and that spiralized veggies would not be a suitable substitution for grains. Fortunately I was wrong on all 3 accounts! My sister-in-law assured me it was easy and actually gifted it to us (so grateful). It's a relatively low cost kitchen appliance (around $30), a phenomenal way to get your kids involved in the kitchen resulting in numerous benefits including increased positive feelings and sense of control for the little one(s), and is reasonably safe to use (although it would be hard to cut oneself, the Spirializer has blades so be sure to supervise your kids). For your own safety clean blades with a soapy brush. I've been pleased with both higher end and dollar store brushes.
Summertime is a great time to start spiralizing because many summer veggies like cucumbers, yellow squashes and zucchinis are prime choices for producing tasty, curly veggies. So let's get to the delicious, healthy and easy recipe of the week…the other day I felt stressed because we didn’t fully plan our dinners and midweek was at a loss for what I could make in under 30 minutes to have a family with full and happy tummies. Fortunately we always have frozen lean ground turkey and canned chickpeas on hand (if not already, please start filling your pantry when items like canned legumes/tomato products go on sale to create last minute meals or even planned meals with much less perceived effort (and saved $$)).
The NYT’s Cookbook recipe, Crispy Chickpeas with Ground Meat is a hit in my family. From start to stop, it takes no more than 25 minutes to prepare and tastes like tacos due to the ground meat, cumin and chili powder. From a health standpoint I love that it includes chickpeas (high in fiber, antioxidants and plant based protein), which studies show help with blood sugar management, cholesterol reductions, increased satiety and colon cancer prevention.
I often find lean ground turkey is sold in 20 ounce packages, which is helpful for leftovers when feeding our family of 3 is an included option in my simpler and adapted version below. While the dish is cooking, spiralize the cucumber by:
Cut off the ends of the cucumber.
Halve cucumber. (Makes it easier to spiralize)
Attach cucumber to each end of the spiralizer.For this recipe I used the blade.
**Cucumbers add a refreshing touch to this dish with the added benefit of getting more veggies into your meals, so even if you don't own a Spiralizer simply dice them-that's what we did.
In Good Health & Happiness,
Crispy Chickpeas with Ground Meat
Makes 4-6 servings
16 ounces to 20 ounces 93% lean ground turkey
3-4 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained (reserve 1.5-2 cups chickpea liquid (AKA aquafaba) in a measuring cup)
3-4 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
2-4 garlic cloves or ½ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional, we’ve never used it)
Minced cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
NOTE: Use the lower amount for 16 oz and higher amount for 20 oz
Turn heat to high under a large, deep skillet, and add meat a little at a time, breaking it into small pieces as you do. Stir and break up meat a bit more, then add chickpeas. Keep heat high, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until chickpeas begin to brown and pop, 5 to 10 minutes. Don't worry if mixture sticks a bit, but if it begins to scorch, lower heat slightly.
Add cumin, chili powder and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about a minute. Add reserved cooking liquid, and stir, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Season with pepper, then turn heat to medium-low. Continue to cook until mixture is no longer soupy but not dry.
Stir in olive oil (if using), then taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. Garnish if you like, and serve immediately, with rice or pita bread (or the way my family enjoys this dish, with spiralized cucumber and/or taco shell or whole wheat pita.)
Photo credit: Me :) (Doesn't it look like a meal from The Three Bears?!)