Friday, May 8, 2009


Here's a recipe from author and Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary. Her column is called "The Color of Money"--perhaps it's syndicated where you live; she writes economic advice mainly for minority communities, but her down-to-earth voice is a comfort to all. In this article she wrote for Wednesday's Food Section, she talks about one of the perils of being a black woman of a certain age, who was led to believe by the politics and resulting cultural influences of the day that cooking was a form of subservience, and black folk were no longer supposed to be about subservience. The expression "slaving in the kitchen" hit too sensitive a nerve for her and she swore for many years that she'd never do her own cooking. It was only later in life, after she started a family, that she began to see cooking and sharing food as a way of bringing family together and honoring ancestral traditions. This is one of the recipes that her kids love preparing with her. It's such a favorite that "there are never any leftovers to take for lunch the next day." She adapted it from

In turn, I've adapted the recipe myself by adding green pepper and onion and celery, mainly because I just can't imagine a casserole of meat and tomatoes without them. Maybe these additions make the dish "less Mexican," but what the hey. We're supposed to be a melting pot, right?

8 oz. mostaccioli, penne regate or similar short pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 large stalk celery, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mild salsa
10 oz. frozen corn (defrosting not necessary)
1 lb. low-fat cottage cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 oz. grated sharp cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or a mix of both

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside to cool

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a 2-quart (ungreased) baking dish or casserole.

Gently heat oil in a deep frying pan. Break up turkey in the pan, add chopped pepper, onion, and celery. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and sauté together until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are slighlty softenend. Stir in salsa and corn, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Combine cottage cheese, egg, cilantro and pepper in a large bowl, then add cottage cheese mixture to reserved cooked pasta, stirring to combine well.

Spread half of the turkey-salsa mixture evenly into bottom of casserole, then layer with pasta-cottage cheese mixture.

Spread half the grated cheese on top of pasta, then spread remaining turkey-salsa over cheese. Finish with remaining grated cheese sprinkled evenly over top.

Bake 30-40 mintues until bubbly and slightly browned. Allow to rest 15 minutes and serve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this would also work well with ground sirloin. I have a few of her recipes and they are tasty and healthy.