The New Fast Food
CONTACT: Sherrie Rosenblatt
Director of Public Relations
Americans are busier than ever and are looking for quick dinners that taste grate. Time is at a premium, but who wants to sacrifice delicious meals? The temptation to stop for restaurant take-out meals is overwhelming. However, it is also expensive.
"The current trend shows time-starved consumers searching for meal solutions that will get food on the table fast," says Todd Hulquist, spokesperson for the Food Marketing Institute. "Products that provide this, like turkey, are in particularly high demand for people who also want a home-cooked meal during the week."
You may be surprised to learn that turkey is a simple solution to your problems. Convenience and value are only two of the selling points for this alternative to fast food. Combined with staple items you probably have on a kitchen shelf right now, turkey can be prepared in minutes for a hot, home-style meal. Whether you are in the mood for American, Tex-Mex, Italian or Thai, turkey's mild flavor is the perfect choice for any meal.
Start with Turkey Cutlets in Apricot Sauce and Turkey Cutlets with Sun-Dried Tomatoes to see how simple it is to make dinner fast and easy using turkey. Unique ingredients like apricot nectar and marinated sun-dried tomatoes are easy to find and give these meals a gourmet flavor. And best of all, both recipes can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. Once you have mastered these meals, use your imagination to incorporate turkey into other fast meal favorites.
It is not always easy to find time to prepare a home-cooked meal, but these delicious recipe ideas will certainly help. Consider using turkey in other recipes as well. Ground turkey breast meat is a tasty addition to make-ahead casseroles; or combine it with taco seasoning for a fast Mexican meal. Or, coat turkey cutlets and tenderloins with your favorite spices, bake or broil, and serve with a salad and rice for an easy, elegant meal in minutes. Fully-cooked turkey products, such as sausage and keilbasa, need only be heated before serving with an easy side dish or salad for dinner in a hurry.
By planning ahead and adding turkey to your shopping list, quick meals can be yours. The key is timing and organization. Plan the week's meal schedule ahead of time, and one trip to the grocery store can result in time-saving meals and ready-to-use leftovers. A few minutes during the weekend can give you a head start on the upcoming week. While you are doing chores at home or spending time with the family, a succulent boneless turkey breast can roast in the oven. Enjoy it for dinner one night, then use the leftover meat for sandwiches, soups or casseroles throughout the week.
Watch the local sale advertisements and stock up on turkey for the freezer. Remember to store turkey in its original packaging, and do not refreeze uncooked turkey that has been defrosted. Whole turkey can be stored for up to twelve months, and turkey products, such as breasts, cutlets and tenderloins may be frozen for up to three months without compromising the flavor. After that, the turkey may be fully cooked, cooled and refrozen if necessary.
When thawing turkey, take the package out of the freezer, put it on a plate to catch any liquid, and defrost in the refrigerator. Allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird weight for thawing in the refrigerator. Turkey is ready to cook when it is soft to the touch. If there are still ice crystals inside the meat, plan to cook it a little longer.
The possibilities for great, convenient meals with turkey are limited only by your imagination. Making turkey a permanent item on your shopping list enables you to enjoy easy, home-cooked meals so that you do not have to sacrifice taste for speed anymore.
The National Turkey Federation is the advocate for all segments of the U.S. turkey industry. It's award winning web site www.eatturkey.com offers successful on-line professional chef cooking demonstrations and a searchable database of more than 300 recipes that exhibit turkey's versatility as a profit-building item, which enhances menus in all meal occasions during every season of the year. Operators can also go to www.eatturkey.com to sign up for the RecipE-mail program to register and receive unique recipe ideas that add flair to holiday and special occasion menus year-round.