Lunch

BBQ Pulled Crock Pot Turkey with Apricot Glaze

Crockpot Low Fat pulled BBQ

It’s BBQ season!  And if you’re a 20-something living in an apartment, not having a grill can be really upsetting.  Sunshine and smoke-charred foods are such a natural pairing, and without access to a barbecue it can be tough to recreate that match.  Enter, crockpot..and a little help BBQ sauce, of course.

This recipe requires three ingredients.  Three.  All of which are commonly found at your local grocery store, and very inexpensive. The sweetness from the apricot preserves allows the tang from the BBQ sauce to shine through, and even makes the sauce thicker than your typical pulled-pork recipe.  Plus, it’s a whole new spin on how to eat turkey (and keep it juicy), and will definitely be a crowd pleaser at any outdoor event.  Did I mention there’s almost zero fat in this recipe, and you get up to double the serving size and protein power for the same caloric value as a standard pulled pork recipe?  Or that it can be made ahead of time, frozen individually or in bulk, and requires 15 minutes?  Wins, all around.

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. turkey tenderloin (or turkey/boneless, skinless chicken breasts)

-2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce (I love Stubbs!)

-1 cup apricot preserves

(That’s it)

Easy BBQ Pulled Crock Pot

Instructions:

Put turkey (or chicken) in crockpot, pour over BBQ sauce and apricot preserves.  Turn crockpot on high for 10 hours.  When the time is up, shred the turkey in the crockpot so that the meat can absorb all of the sauce. (That’s it…I know, right?)  I let mine cool overnight, then portioned it out to freeze.  I’ve since had enjoyed this pulled turkey on many occasions, and so far my favorite has been over juicy veggies and greens, with a little corn and cheese, of course.

Healthy Summer BBQ Salad

I will say, this freezes/reheats perfectly, and is a great alternative to the grill.  If you choose to freeze this recipe in bulk, I’d recommend using an oven-safe dish, and allow the pulled turkey to heat back up in a 350 degree oven until warm.  For individual portions, I use small freezer bags, then put the frozen turkey on a dish in the microwave for a few minutes to defrost (no bags in the microwave, please).

High Protein BBQ Recipes Freezer

What recipes help you get your grill-time fix?  Let us know, and find us on Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

 

 

 

 

Apple Butter Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

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Apple butter doesn’t always have to be spread on toast, or mixed in muffins or streusels.  When paired with the right ingredients – goat cheese, pistachios, persimmons, apple butter – you can enjoy the sweet cinnamon taste with any meal!  Here, I replaced chicken salad’s usual mayo binder with apple butter, added some herbed goat cheese to cut the sweetness, pistachios for an added crunch, and persimmons for texture.  Persimmons are a fruit that look like tomatoes, but are heartier and slightly sweeter – a great compliment to the soft cheese and crunchy pistachios.  Plus, they’re orange…and best in October! This salad is simple, fresh, and very fall.

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Ingredients:

-salad greens

-persimmons (or something in the orange color family…apricots?)

-tomatoes (I used kumato, but heirloom would also add nice color)

-goat cheese, room temperature

-raw, shelled pistachios

-cooked, shredded chicken

-apple butter

-dried herbs (I used oregano, parsley, sage)

-salt & pepper

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Instructions:

We’ll start with the herbed goat cheese.  Using a spoon, mix your goat cheese (1oz. per salad) with 1t dried spices – make sure you crush the dried herbs before you mix them in.  You can do this in advance, and let the cheese pick up the flavors for a few days.  Don’t like goat cheese? That’s fine – choose the cheese you like best.  A crumbly feta will still hold the herbs well, or if you’re not into herbs try a hard, shaved cheese like parmesan!  Take the shredded chicken, and mix in the apple butter.  I don’t like a ton of “dressing” on my salad, so I used about 2T.  Next, shell the pistachios, cut the persimmons, tomatoes, and lettuce, and plate your salad!

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This lunch makes Monday so much more bearable…can’t wait!

Easy Restaurant Style Greek Salad

greek salad with vinegar dill pickles

There is a greek place on the corner of my apartment block that I just LOVE.  Their salads are fresh and amazing, but expensive, and something I treat myself to once in a while.  The problem is, I could eat this salad every day, and I have…and though my taste buds were totally satisfied, my wallet was NOT.  So, I set out to mimic their simple salad, but I just couldn’t get it right.  I made tzatziki, marinated chicken, mixed up a vinaigrette, and even tried different types of oregano. After some (many) more orders of take out, I finally figured out an easy solution to make a salad taste like the pros – quick, dill “pickles!” Ok, so they aren’t really pickles, but they are soaked in just the right amount of “brine” so that they pick up that vinegar bite, but keep their crunch.  You have to try this one…you really can’t go wrong!

greek salad with dried dill cucumbers

Ingredients:

– romaine lettuce – as much as you need for a large salad

-1 large cucumber

– grape tomatoes

– red onion

– red wine vinegar

– quinoa, any style

– vegetable broth

– 1-2T dried dill, or about a handfull of fresh dill

– dried oregano

– fresh cracked pepper

– feta cheese, crumbled

– cooked chicken (optional)

Instructions:

Cut up your cucumbers into bite sized chunks, and place them in a container with a tight sealing lid.  Dice about a quarter of a red onion, and add to the cucumbers.  Crush the dried dill in your hand, and sprinkle over the cucumbers.  I bought a bunch of dill the first time I made these cucs, and thanks to Hayley’s post, I dried it out before it went bad!   Next, pour in about a third a cup of vinegar, close the container, and shake.  Set the container in the refridgerator to chill – this can be done days in advance.  Chop all of your vegetables as you’d like to present them in your salad, and prepare your quinoa according to the package.  I used red quinoa for color, and cooked it in vegetable broth for added flavor.  When your ready to serve, add all your ingredients together, and add feta and chicken, “if desired.”  I like to finish the dish off with some crushed oregano and black pepper.  The dilly-cucumbers are so, so good.  And so easy! The vinegar and dill acts like a dressing that brings all of your ingredients together – I can’t imagine how this could get any more simple.  You don’t even really have to cook anything for this recipe, and it will still be a hit. I make this for a week’s worth of lunch once a month, and I never get sick of it.  Is it lunchtime yet??

greek salad feta dill quick pickles

 

Cracked Pepper Crock Pot Turkey

crock pot sliced turkey

 

Cooking protein in the crockpot is probably the easiest part of my cooking routine.  I buy chicken, turkey, and even red meats in bulk, put them in the crockpot right before bed with some seasonings, and wake up to a finished product!  Typically, plain old chicken breast is my go-to – just set the crockpot on low for about 8 hours, shred, cool, and store.  This time around, I wanted to see if I could make an un-shredded protein, to use in a sandwich instead of traditional deli meat.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sub from the local shop, but I don’t want to even think about what “nitrates, nitrites, added water…” are, so why not try and make my own?  I used a turkey tenderloin instead of a cutlet, and coated it in tons of cracked pepper and a sprinkling of salt, and ended up with thick, juicy slices of meat perfect for lunch time.  And because it’s so simply seasoned and cooked all on it’s own, it’s perfect for the freezer!

crock pot turkey tenderloin

Ingredients:

-1.5 – 3 lbs turkey tenderloin, or turkey breast (if using a bone-in turkey breast, this might be up to 5 lbs)

-salt

-freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

Liberally coat the turkey with the salt & pepper mixture, and place in the crock pot.  Set the crockpot to cook on low for 6 hours.  When the time is up, remove the turkey from the crockpot and place on a plate to cool – I use tongs, the turkey will be hot!  After cooling for 5-10 minutes, slice the turkey using a sharp knife to the desired thickness.  Don’t be alarmed if the turkey pulls apart a little – it just means the turkey is tender!

cracked pepper crock pot turkey

That’s it.  There’s maybe about 5 minutes of preparation, and while the turkey is cooking away you can do anything else you’d like!  I caught up on some TV and worked on some new non-cooking kitchen projects to share!  Stay tuned…until then, sandwich?

crock pot turkey sandwich

Roasted Graffiti Eggplant and Yellow Zucchini Salad

You can find some pretty interesting things at a farmers market, and on my last trip I snagged some graffiti eggplant and yellow zucchini – not squash, neon yellow zucchini.  To be honest, I had never seen these vegetbles before, but was excited to take them home and experiment.  I made big plans for these finds – grilled vegetable skewers, using a few veggie add ons I had at home – but quickly realized that I’d have to come up with a new idea, due to “equiptment restrictions” (I don’t have a grill).  Roasted vegetables are great as a side dish, or sprinkeld over some greens  for a savory lunch salad, and in retrospect, I’m so happy to have roasted these veggies.  Graffiti eggplant’s opaque white center becomes completely marbled in the oven, and the zucchini skin retains it’s vibrant yellow color – it was a great surprise, and a great lunch add-on!

Ingredients:

  • 2 graffiti eggplant (they are about half the size of a standard eggplant)
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • half of a red onion
  • 2T (or more) extra virgin olive oil
  • Spices, to taste
  • spinach or other salad greens
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Chop the eggplant, zucchini, and onion into any shape or size that you want to eat – just remember that the vegetables will shrink down when you roast them so don’t cut them too small.  Because I keep the skin on my vegetables, I also have to cater my shapes to the texture of each one.  For example, eggplant skin can be chewy when roasted, but the flesh stays soft, so I cut mine into smaller cubes as opposed to round slices – if not, you’d end up mashing the middle to cut through the skin when you’re ready to eat.  Next, place your vegetables on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle over the olive oil, and toss the veggies to coat.  Sprinkle over your spices, and toss again.  I used salt, black pepper, and a mix of oregano, basil, and parsley.  If your spices are dried like mine were, crush them between your fingers before sprinkling them over the veggies to release the flavors.  Distribute your veggies inthe pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are roasted, but not too soft.  I used the onions as a judge for this one – once they were translucent and browned but not completely mushed, I knew they were ready.

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I used my 25-ish minute wait time to make a balsamic reduction to dress my vegetables.  I used to think that this was a complicated, fancy dressing, but really it just sounds fancy and complicated, and you can bump your chef-cred in no time.  Take 2 cups of balsamic vinegar and 2-3 cloves of garlic, and heat on medium-high for about 30 minutes, or until the vingegar has reduced by about half, stirring often – cool before serving.  The vinegar will bubble and simmer, and reduce into this syrupy-sweet drizzle, perfect for a salad.  You can make the reduction without the garlic, or subsititue in any other flavors that you’d like – sage leaves, thyme sprigs – just cater the spices to those you’ve already used on the vegetables.  I love garlic, so I used 3 cloves that I had roasted earlier to enhance the flavor.

When the veggies are done, and the balsamic is cooled, assemble your salad, and enjoy!  I also added baby heirloom tomatoes for an extra color boost – add in whatever you like!

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