Thirty Minute Thursdays presents Thanksgiving in July with Grilled Turkey, Veggie Stuffing & Sugar Snap Peas

I am, perhaps, the world champion of sucking the fun out of things. I’ve mentioned this before, and recently at that: my brain just functions best when I take an activity and turn it into a challenge. Everything is goal-oriented and checklist-driven in my world, and often I have to remind myself that, yes, I do enjoy the task at hand – once all of the pressure of deadlines and silly, self-imposed guidelines are removed. Of course, Thirty Minute Thursdays have already turned into a compulsion to churn out recipes each week from Rachael Ray’s cookbook, come hell or high water, and I’ve only done 2 posts on the topic. It really is incredible that I learn anything, based on how stubbornly I cling to habits like this one.

Last night I planned to make one of these recipes for this week’s 30 Minute post. Being indecisive, I opened the cookbook at random last week and chose the first meal that sounded enjoyable for myself as well as my meat-and-potatoes family. However, I chose a baked turkey cutlet with stuffing…a decidedly inappropriate dish for a heat wave dinner, considering it would require broiling, baking, and 2 stovetops heated more or less simultaneously. Plus, all day I had been in a funk where I essentially pouted about having too much to do. I don’t know about you, but I seriously value my veg-out time. I like to feel productive but every so often, the idea of sprawling out on the couch, eating easy-to-assemble or even freezer meals all day, and turning on a Seinfeld or Say Yes to the Dress marathon sounds like pure heaven. Lately, I haven’t had the opportunity to do anything remotely close to that, which has added to my unnecessarily high stress levels.

I almost caved and let my parents take me out to dinner that night instead of cooking. In all honesty, I would see no shame in it if I had; sometimes you just need a time out, and if the worst case scenario is that I need to skip one week of Thirty Minute Thursdays, I’d like to think that you would all forgive me. Besides, I even have a meal from last week that I haven’t had a chance to tell you about yet. However, I do like to cook and I have been looking forward to this meal, so I’ve made some concessions – I switched the turkey prep method to grilling and asked Mama Floptimism to handle that while I stayed inside with the now-only-mildly-heat-producing stuffing. This way, I’d have to juggle fewer things and wouldn’t turn my kitchen into Dante’s third circle of hell in the process.  

The dinner turned out surprisingly well. The stuffing tasted like authentic Thanksigiving stuffing, with some extra veggies and a little bit less bread to make it healthier and even more flavorful. Grilling the turkey was a perfect idea, though if you don’t have a gracious helper like my mom, you might find juggling the outdoor turkey grilling and indoor stuffing sautéing to be a bit much. I also paired it with a simple Snap Pea dish consisting of a pinch of sugar, a tiny pat of butter, and some fresh chives sprinkled over top. All in all, it tasted fantastic, and was even good today reheated for lunch. It’s certainly not the most weather- or even season-appropriate dish I’ve made and shared with you, but it is tasty, so I definitely recommend either enjoying it now (if the temperatures don’t have you too bogged down) or dog-earing it for a cooler day.

Turkey Cutlets & Veggie Stuffing with Snap Peas, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 6 servings

The Ingredients
4 slices whole grain bread
1 ½ - 2 tablespoons butter
4-6 turkey cutlets, depending on size
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ tablespoon each: sage and celery seed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups no-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
16 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
8 ounces water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
fresh or dried thyme, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

16 ounces sugar snap peas
pinch of sugar
2 teaspoons butter
handful of chives, chopped or snipped

The Method
Broil the bread on both sides under high, then cut into cubes and set aside. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat and whisk in the flour, cooking 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the broth and allow the gravy to thicken, stirring occasionally, approximately 5 minutes. Season with pepper, sage, and celery seed, and remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and mushrooms in a second, larger skillet over medium-high heat until the mushrooms have browned, roughly 5 minutes; stir frequently.* Season with pepper before adding in the celery, water chestnuts, and red pepper; continue to cook to allow vegetables to become tender, approximately 5 minutes more. Add the thyme and parsley. Combine the bread cubes, vegetable mixture, and broth, and moisten the stuffing over low heat.

To prepare the sugar snap peas, place them in a pot with 1 inch of water, the sugar, and butter. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer, covered, for 7-8 minutes or until the vegetables have become tender. Remove from heat, add chives, and serve alongside turkey and stuffing.

While the stuffing is sautéing and snap peas are simmering, brush a grill with olive oil, season the turkey with sage, and grill to appropriate doneness, flipping once.**

*I found that my mushrooms released a lot of water while sautéing, so I had a paper towel (or 3) handy to soak some of it up to allow for better browning.
**I’m not a griller. I hope to be one someday, but these directions are admittedly vague. I know that this is how my mom prepared the turkey, though I’m unsure of grill temperature or exact cooking times. Sorry I can’t be of much more help with that!

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