Happy Mother’s Day to everyone celebrating the moms and guardians in their life. If you’re like me, I’ve always used cooking as a form of gift-giving. Why not impress mom with a week’s worth of easy dinners, starting right now! If you’re new to the concept of this meal prep series, I recommend taking a look at the original post from the very first ‘The Ardent Prep’ linked here: The Ardent Prep: Chicken, Rice, and Caramelized Onions . This will explain the basics and method that I use for prepping, then you can head back here to get started.
This particular series is centered around ground turkey (per ALL of your requests), quinoa, and zucchini. The prep day is very basic, and the meals themselves are nothing short of delicious. This grocery list is a bit longer than the last series, but I’m venturing to guess that you already have many of the ingredients in your pantries and therefore won’t need to buy them. The recipes you’ll be making are as follows: Herby Vegetarian Quinoa Salad, Barbecue Turkey Quinoa Burgers with Zucchini and Burst Tomatoes, and Buffalo Stuffed Zucchini Boats.
The first recipe is a Meatless Monday edition, and it’s probably my favorite in the entire series. The quinoa packs a filling, high-protein punch and the mediterranean flavors are right up my alley. If you’ve never tried dates, you’re sooooo missing out. However, if you can’t find them or don’t feel like trying, raisins or dried apricots would be an equally flavorful alternative!
The second recipe is a twist on a classic turkey burger. My hope for this recipe (which makes four large burgers), is that you eat them one night during the week, and save the others for an all-out burger night on the weekend (I’m talking oven fries, special sauce, pickles, go BIG). I love this burger because it pairs my favorite combination of sweet and savory. The burgers themselves are mixed with your favorite barbecue sauce, and the sharp cheddar is the perfect compliment. For a twist, I also include a slice of apple, which acts as that crunchy bit that you might get from a piece of fresh lettuce. The apple with the cheddar is unreal.
Finally, the third recipe, which is the favorite in my household… Buffalo Stuffed Zucchini Boats are everything you’re dreaming of and more. Tender zucchini is hollowed-out and filled with a creamy, spicy ground turkey filling, baked until crisp and golden, and topped with more hot sauce (and ranch dressing, if you’re me). These are Jeff’s favorite, and a close second for me. I love that they feel indulgent and fun, but healthy at the same time.
Now, let’s get back to that Prep Day!
2lbs ground turkey
9 medium zucchini
1 apple, such as honey-crisp
2 medium shallots
3 garlic cloves
1 handful mint, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
1 package cherry tomatoes, on the vine if desired
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
⅓ cup mayo (or plain, full fat greek yogurt)
1.5 cups quinoa (Dry)
3 TBSP barbecue sauce, plus more for serving (your choice)
1/4 cup hot sauce, plus more if desired (such as Frank’s or Texas Pete’s)
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp onion powder
¼ cup Medjool dates (or raisins)
1 TBSP honey
Olive oil, for cooking
4 hamburger buns
Prep Day Instructions
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cook 1.5 cups (dry) quinoa according to package instructions.
- Cut 3 zucchini in half, length-wise. On a large, rimmed sheet tray greased with olive oil, lay zucchini cut-side-down and bake for 12 minutes. The zucchini will start to “sweat”, but will still be firm. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- Dice the remaining 6 zucchini into 1-inch cubes and place on a rimmed sheet tray or in a large glass baking dish. Coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or so, until the zucchini is caramelized and brown on the edges. If there is still a considerable amount of liquid on the sheet tray after 30 minutes, continue to bake, checking regularly, until the majority of the liquid has evaporated. Every oven is different, but you are aiming for golden-brown.
- While the zucchini bake, brown 1lb of the ground turkey in a large skillet. Feel free to add a pinch of salt and pepper, but do not season otherwise. Keep the other 1lb in the package, raw, and store in the fridge.
- If you are proceeding with one of the meals, follow instructions in those recipes, linked below. Otherwise, follow these instructions for storage of the prepped ingredients:
- Place halved, par-baked zucchini in a large container. In two separate containers, divide the cubed, roasted zucchini evenly. Store the ground turkey in another container. You may store the quinoa in one large container, however keep in mind that 1/4 cup is needed for the Buffalo Stuffed Zucchini Boats, 1/2 cup is needed for the Barbecue Turkey Quinoa Burgers, and the remaining is needed for the Herby Vegetarian Quinoa Salad. You can feel free to divide those portions ahead of time, or just keep it all together.