• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

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Turkey Picadillo with Sopes

I had a hankering for Mexican. Luckily, this hankering was shared by Terri and Matt who would be eating dinner with me. But since I didn’t want the same old stanbys, I turned to an old favorite. Two old favorites, actually – Picadillo and Sopes.

Sopes are thicker than a tortilla and give great texture to any dish. Picadillo is full of flavor and is easy to prepare. Combined, an amazing dinner that was an excellent way to come back to New York after such an excellent trip home.


Spicy Turkey Burgers

Being from cow country, I happily admit that I have frequent urges for burgers and steaks. I often forget how great it is to make burgers at home, since they tend to be bar/diner/pub food. Making a burger yourself allows you to make it just the way you like it – “Have it Your Way” takes on an entirely different meaning. Best of all, they are super simple.

But as much as I love red meat, burgers can be delicious when made with other ground meats – bison, chicken, turkey, lamb. This burger is a spicy turkey burger, so it’s very lean, healthy, and inexpensive to make. Three words that I live by. 

The Answer to No More Boring Leftovers

Sometimes I like to use the weekend to prepare meals for the week ahead – especially when I know I have a lot on my plate. But I also don’t necessarily like to rely on leftovers. It’s easy to get burnt out after eating the same thing three days in a row. Which is why I got the idea to prepare a base using ground turkey that I could use to make multiple meals throughout the week.

I combined the turkey with some other basic ingredients and a marinade that would keep the turkey moist and flavorful. Then I kept it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator, taking out only the amount that I need each day.  

It may appear that there’s a lot of specialized ingredients, but these simple and inexpensive additions to your cabinet will enable you to make a huge amount of asian dishes, so it really is worth it!  You can alter the marinade as you wish. 

Asian Ground Meat Marinade

Serves for three-four meals
Leftover Potential: made for more interesting leftovers.  Provides 3-4 meals.

1 lb. ground turkey, pork, or other meat
1 container mushrooms, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp ginger, finely minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp  fish sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper

1. Mix ingredients to combine.  Add more ingredients as necessary.

***Check following posts for the meals made using this mixture.

Other options:
-saute the ground meat with veggies and noodles for a stir fry.
– saute the ground meat and serve with lettuce leaves and raw veggies for wraps.
-form the meat into balls, cook until done, and cover with a spicy curry or other sauce.  

Spicy Turkey Chili

As the weather gets colder, I get an ache in my bones for soup. One of the best things about this meal is it is ideal for The Apartment Kitchen. One big pot is all you need to be able to make any soup or stew. And not much sounds more warm and comforting to me than a deliciously hot, spicy chili.

So one particularly cold day here in Hyde Park, I headed to the grocery store and picked up all the ingredients for my perfect chili, which includes lots of great toppings and of course some cold beer. I use ground turkey, because I love the taste and flavor and it’s much healthier. I also like to take a slightly Tex-Mex approach to my chili, topping it with good cheese, jalapenos, green onions, and some lime for acidity. And, as is typical with one-pot dishes it’s incredibly easy and super cheap.

Spicy Turkey Chili

Served 2 plus leftovers
Leftover Potential: reheats perfectly, but keeping all the condiments makes it more difficult to re-assemble, provided 3 more meals after initial dinner.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, finely minced
1 pound ground turkey
1 large or two small cans diced or crushed tomatoes*
1 can corn
1 can black beans
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pinch cinnamon
3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

green onions, chopped, for garnish
cheddar cheese, grated, for garnish
lime segments, for garnish
pickled jalapenos, for garnish

1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sweat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute.
2. Add the turkey, using a rubber spatula to break up pieces while it cooks. Cook until cooked through and brown.
3. Add the tomatoes, corn, and black beans. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer until whole soup is heated.
4. Begin adding spices, tasting the chili along the way to determine if it needs more spices/salt, etc. Reduce heat to low and hold while garnishes are prepared.
5. Chop green onions, grate cheese, if necessary, and cut some segments of lime. Set these ingredients on the table along with the jalapenos to allow diners to top their chili as they wish.
6. Serve the chili in warm bowls with a cold beer. Keep the leftovers in the fridge until you need to be warmed up again.

* This makes a very meaty chili, if you prefer a soupier product, you might want to add an additional 15 oz. can of tomatoes.