Meal Prep: Baking several dishes at one temperature

by Addie Kelzer

With a work week that spilled well over into Saturday, I needed to maximize my Sunday R&R as well as my weekly meal prep.  I turned the oven on and within minutes had all three of the below ingredients cooking away, filling my house with delicious smells.  Since it would be a few hours until my cooking would need attention again, I had time to enjoy a few crafting projects! Aaaahhh, life is good!

Grocery store list

  • Fresh or frozen turkey (I purchased what I believe is a 1/2 small turkey body plus wing, 5 lbs.)
  • Wild Rice – From Minnesota of course
  • Squash – pre-cubed , butternut or acorn

*Most other ingredients were things I had on-hand such as milk, butter and carrots.  Check the recipe below for a full list of what you’ll need.

The soup recipe is large enough for 3 days worth of dinner for my husband and I!  I’ll be lucky if the squash lasts that long, it’s so good!  This meal also happens to be very cost effective as I’m pretty certain my grocery store ACCIDENTALLY priced their fresh turkey halves at $.58/lb. For $2.50 I had a giant piece of lean turkey to cook up and turn into soup. I had learned last week how to make my own Cream of Chicken Soup base and felt confident taking on a creamy, classic MN soup recipe: Turkey Wild Rice Soup.  While the soup base is heavy of dairy and flour, it’s easy to incorporate thinly sliced vegetables.  The rice and turkey offer significant sources of protein and whole grains making it a nutritionally sound comfort food!

Here’s the Turkey Wild Rice Soup recipe that I used as a guideline.  Once I saw a full stick of butter and several cups of half & half in the ingredients, I knew I’d be headed into uncharted territory as I attempt to slim down this thick soup!

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

  • 2-4 cups chopped turkey
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped finely
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 4 1/2 cups of flavor base (Chicken, Turkey, Mushroom or Vegetable stock will all work)
  • 3 cups of milk, (I used what was left of a gallon of 2%, 3ish cups 🙂
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 cups MN Wild Rice, cooked
  • 2 tbls butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chicken or turkey seasonings (any generic poultry seasoning will do)

Baking the Turkey

I purchased a half of a turkey, with leg and wing, and seasoned both sides with oil, pepper and a small amount of thyme.  I placed it in a covered, ceramic baker and topped it with slices of a whole onion.  The turkey baked for approximately 2 hours at 350 degrees.  My grocery story had conveniently placed a pop-up thermometer inside the meat which made for easy-peasy cooking.  Once cooled, the skin was removed and I cut and chopped thick slices of turkey from the bone.

Baking the Wild Rice

Also cooking at 350 degrees was the wild rice, by far the easiest way I’ve ever cooked this kind of rice!  In a glass baking pan (9×13) I combined 2 cups of wild rice with 6 cups of water and seasoned with a little salt.  After 90 minutes I fluffed the rice and baked for just a few minutes more.  Since this recipe calls for less rice than this, I put the remainder in a freezer bag for use later.

Cut the cream and butter for a healthier version of this comfort food favorite.

Cut the cream and butter for a healthier version of this comfort food favorite.

Making the Soup Base and BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER

In a large soup pot, bring broth to a boil.  Add in the carrots, onions, butter and all seasonings.  In a separate bowl wisk milk and flour together until well blended.  I did this in 2 batches of 1 cup of milk just to make sure I would end up with a desirable consistency.  Stir flour and milk mixture into broth and continue to boil for 2 minutes or until it reaches your preferred consistency. Add in rice and turkey stir.  Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Baking the Squash

Rinse the cubed squash before placing it in a baking dish.  I used about 4 cups of squash but soon wished I had doubled this recipe.  It was done in half the time of the soup and I munched down about half of it before it was cooled an put away!

In a small glass bowl, microwave 1 tblsp butter, 2 tblsp lite maple syrup and 3 tblsp water until hot, about 1 minute.  Stir and pour evenly over squash.  Cover dish with foil and bake for approximately 45 minutes.  Squash should be soft and sweet, a great dish to end dinner with.

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