Lean Ground Turkey – Vegetable Soup With Italian Herbs and Orzo, A Slow Cooker Meal

When I wheel my cart past the meat department I often see ground turkey. Magazines and cookbooks contain lots of ground chicken recipes, but few for ground turkey. “Maybe I should try it,” I thought to myself, and tossed a package into my cart.

When I got home I froze the meat. Weeks later, I noticed the package had frost on the top. I decided to use the meat before it developed freezer burn. What could I make? Though I had a recipe for Oriental meat balls and an unusual recipe for meatloaf, I didn’t feel like making them. It was 20 degrees outside, the wind was biting, and I felt like soup. Today’s efforts would be a culinary experiment,.

A few hours later I was eating flavorful, healthy soup. I found nutritional data for ground turkey on the Jennie-O website. The meat is packed with protein, contains Vitamin A, Iron, and calcium. The fat content per serving is 8.0 grams and the cholesterol is 80 milligrams — less than the 96 milligrams per serving in ground chicken.

I think this is a convenient, adaptable product. Ground meat requires no slicing or chopping and infuses broth with flavor. You don’t have to follow this recipe exactly and may add green beans, corn, or spinach to your soup. Just be sure to use several colors of vegetables. I’m happy to share this recipe with you.

INGREDIENTS

1.2 pound package of lean ground turkey
10 3/4-ounce can cream of chicken soup
4 soup cans water
1 chicken bullion cube or 1 packet no-salt chicken bullion
1 rib celery, chopped
6 ounces (half a bag) of pre-washed petite carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 large Roma tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (more if you love garlic)
1 teaspoon Italian herb mix
1 teaspoon salt (may be omitted)
1/3 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

METHOD

Coat bottom of skillet with baking spray. Crumble turkey into skillet and cook over medium heat until opaque. Line slow cooker with cooking bag. Transfer turkey to slow cooker and add all remaining ingredients, with the exception of the orzo. Cover, set on low, and cook soup for three hours. Add orzo to soup and mix with rubber spatula. Turn setting to high, cover, and cook soup one more hour. Serve immediately with salty crackers or hard rolls. Makes 6-8 servings.