Yesterday afternoon, I had a moment of inspiration, which grew as I considered what ingredients I had on hand. I grabbed a pound of ground turkey from the freezer and placed it near the Aladdin lamp to thaw. By the time 5:00 arrived, the meat had thawed and I had a pretty good idea what all I was going to include in my latest creation, which ended up being a new version of an old favorite. The ingredients I ended up using were....
1 lb. ground turkey
2 Tbsp. (approximately) olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped*
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 tsp. (approximately) oregano
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 small can sliced olives
8 oz. cream cheese**
6 oz. Tomato paste
3-4 oz. water
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. noodles (I used a multi color), cooked
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
First, I sauteed the onion, garlic and red bell pepper in the olive oil until the onion was transparent and the bell peppers were tender. I then added the ground turkey and oregano, cooking and stirring until the turkey was cooked. Next, I proceeded to add the cream cheese to the turkey mixture, breaking it apart and "smooshing" 'til it was smooth and creamy, then added the olives (reserving a few for garnish), mushrooms, tomato paste, the 3-4 oz. of water (about 1/2 a tomato paste can) and the salt and pepper. I cooked and stirred this as my noodles cooked. Once the noodles were done I stirred the sour cream in to the turkey mixture, and allowed it to heat through as I drained the noodles then mixed everything together.
Now for the fun part! I grabbed a casserole dish (2 qt. ?), and layered approximately 1/3 of the hot mixture in the bottom, topped that with about 1/3 of the grated cheese, and repeated the process. The top layer was the noodle mixture with a smaller amount of cheese and the reserved olives on top just to make it purty ;-)
Since we are currently without an oven (yeah, *sigh*, it happened again) I was tickled to note this layering process resulted in the cheese melting perfectly between the layers, but you could easily make this ahead and pop it in the oven for a bit to warm it all up (I'm figuring 30-45 minutes at 350° come supper time!
This will serve 6-8
I served this with a side of peas. Between the colorful noodles, the red bell pepper and the peas, it made for a lovely presentation. The kids even commented on the colorful aspect of it, and everyone but Pa had seconds. The kids are looking forward to leftovers for lunch today.
*Or opt for half green and half red bell peppers!
** If, like Pa, you or a majority of family members aren't quite so fond of cream cheese as the kids and I are, you could opt for a cup of strained (6-8 hours) plain yogurt, or maybe even cottage cheese in place of the cream cheese.