Enchilada Stuffed Shells

Enchiladas are one of my favorite things to make so I was intrigued when I read the title of this recipe–it sounds so good–and something a little different.  And they turned out delicious!! One thing I really like about this recipe is that you can really adjust the flavor of the filling to exactly what you want-spicy or mild, beef or turkey or vegetarian even. I opted for ground turkey as I had some on hand.


Enchilada Stuffed Shells


  • 1 12 oz box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 lb ground lean turkey
  • 2 10 oz cans enchilada sauce
  • 1 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed  to a pulp
  • chili powder to taste
  • coriander to taste
  • salsita sauce to taste
  • 1 16oz can fat-free refried beans
  • 2 cup freshly grated colby jack cheese


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Spray an 11×7 baking dish with non-stick spray and spread half of one of the cans of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. 
  2. Cook pasta shells as per box instructions. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook turkey. Drain excess fat, reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the onion, shallot and all of the spices.  When combined add one can of the enchilada sauce and the refried beans. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Using a tea or tablespoon fill each cooked pasta shell with the turkey mixture.  Place the filled shells filling side up next to each other in the baking dish until the dish is filled. It’s ok to smush them in a bit-they should be tightly set in the pan. You may have a few shells left over. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the shells.
  5. Cover the pan with a sheet of foil and bake for 20 minutes. remove the foil, sprinkle with cheese, and return to oven for 10 more minutes.
  6. Serve either plain or with any toppings you’d like-sour cream, scallions etc..

This made about 20 shells but that # will depend on how much you fill the shells and how many you can stick into the pan.

I printed this recipe out years ago.  I don’t know who’s it is.


Turkey Taco Soup-slow cooker

I realize that since it’s only September 9th that there are still 2 weeks of summer left. You’d never know that it’s still summer. Everyone apparently times the beginning of fall by when their kids go back to school. Well since my dog doesn’t go to school I go by the real seasonal calendar.

That’s not to say that  I won’t embrace everything fall early. I’m looking forward to making soups and apple this and that and pumpkin this and that. And I did have my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks yesterday: non-fat, no foam, 140 degrees, half syrup-and it was perfect.  It’s the PSL’s 10 year anniversary this year. Happy birthday you delicious wonder!!!

So on that note my first soup of the time surrounding the beginning of fall is here. It’s a delicious concoction of ingredients you probably have all of (or most of)in your pantry.fridge.freezer already. If you read my other slow cooker recipes you know that I became quickly enamored with that little machine.  Here’s another recipe to feed that obsession. 

It’s hearty but not heavy, it’s well spiced but not hot, it’s not too thick or too thin.  In other words-it’s just right.  I just served this plain in the bowl but you could always put a dollop of sour cream or green onions or cheese.

taco soup

Turkey Taco Soup-slow cooker


  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped small
  • 1 16 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 16 oz can pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz can sweet corn
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 package taco seasoning or 2-3 tbsp home-made taco seasoning


  1. In a pan over medium heat brown the turkey, drain it and set it aside.
  2. Place the turkey and onions in the slow cooker, pour everything else in and stir.
  3. Cook on low for 6&1/2 hours.

Adapted from allrecipes.com. The original recipe called for adding 2 cups of water but I didn’t add any and the liquid amount was fine.  The original recipe also called for using ground beef but I changed it to turkey to cut calories and fat and to use up some ground turkey that I had in my freezer. I’m sure you could also omit the meat all together and add tofu to make it vegetarian.

Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker

I had pinned this recipe a while ago as I’m always on the lookout for healthier stuff to cook in the slow cooker and they didn’t disappoint. They were easy to put together, smelled awesome while browning and I froze half of the meatball mixture in one bag and half of the tomatoes and onion in another bag to use at a later date . Easy peasy! These would be great on a toasted roll with melted provolone or added to other sandwiches. I just ate them plain and I really enjoyed them. They’re smaller than a golf ball, the tomato sauce is just right.  I served them with roasted broccoli.


Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker


  • 1lb 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1lb 94% lean ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for browning)
  • 2 tbsp pecorino romano cheese, freshly, finely grated
  • 2 tsp italian spices
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into rounds
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp white wine


  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients through and including the white pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand, being careful not to over-mix.
  2. Roll each meatball to just under the size of a golf ball and set aside.
  3. Layer sliced onion on bottom of slow cooker insert, add 1 can of crushed tomatoes and 1/2 the can of peeled tomatoes.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tbsp to the pan and, when the oil is shimmering, add a few meatballs to brown-about 1 minute on each side. Be careful not to crowd the pan. When browned snuggle them down into the tomato sauce in the cooker, stacking as more are browned.
  5. When all are browned add the white wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce to half then add it to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the remaining crushed and peeled tomatoes to the cooker, making sure that all of the meatballs are covered.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Be sure to brown the meatballs! It adds extra flavor and locks in moisture. Lean turkey dries out easily-browning will help avoid that.


Adapted from howsweeteats.

Turkey Burgers with Asiago Cheese

Last night I had a pound of ground turkey, a few peppers, onions and pita bread–and I always have a ton of cheese-on hand. I felt like having a burger for dinner so this was the result.  A light, tasty burger with crunchy peppers, tangy and melty Asiago cheese and a flavorful burger.  Ideally I would’ve eaten this on a hamburger roll or a portugese roll but since I had one pita bread in the fridge to use up-that’s how it ended up. These burgers would also be great topped with other cheese(s) and veggies-but I used what I had on hand.  I cooked these on my awesome Breville panini press-it makes the best crisp outside, I then topped with cheese and let the top plate hover over the cheese (not touching-but very close) to melt the cheese.

Turkey Burgers with Asiago Cheese


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 red pepper sliced very thin
  • 1 green pepper sliced very thin
  • 1/2 red onion sliced very thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced very small
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 packet Goya Sazon seasoning
  • 5 pita breads or rolls or bread
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 slices of Asiago, or more if you’d like


  1. In a bowl mix the turkey and Sazon until combined. Make 5 patties. Set aside.
  2. In a medium pan over low-med heat add the oil. When hot add the peppers and cook until they start to become a bit soft. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softer but still crunchy.
  3. On a panini press or grill cook the burgers until almost to 165 internal temp. Top with cheese. When cheese is melted and burgers have reached 165 remove from heat.
  4. Warm the pita or rolls and top with the burger and pepper topping.

sparksfromthekitchen.com original