Fighting Childhood Obesity With Turkey Breast, Jambalaya and Quesadillas..i.e…HOMEMADE MEALS!

22 Feb

So, I was listening to my favorite radio program, NPR’S “Tell Me More” with Michel Martin. On this particular day they were discussing a study that showed that there was a link between working moms and overweight children. You can read the interview here:

My first thought was Ouch! Another shot at the working mom who, like most moms, is just trying to do what she feels necessary for her family. However, I could not help but also think about the children. Being the closeted nerd that I am, I have read articles and listened to countless radio and tv programs discussing study after study showing that our children are having higher rates of juvenile diabetes, cholesterol, and other obesity related diseases. So while I felt the sting of the working mom guilt, I knew that the most important thing is the well-being of our children. 

While I was thinking about this study I thought to myself that this just further proves that we (mothers and fathers) need to try hard at staying away from the fast food and cooking more at home. Now, I must say that I enjoy cooking and when I can really get into it, it is a source of relaxation for me. However, at 5:30pm after a long day of work, when I have just walked into the house and I have a 4.5 year old begging for a snack and a 1.5 year old clutched to my leg like a koala bear, I am as stressed as any mother out there. My husband doesn’t usually get home until a little after 6pm and it is my goal to have dinner on the table no later than 6:45pm. I must also admit that while I do prefer cooking, there are times when I decide to stop at Chick-fil-A.  As the saying goes, it is what it is and we do what we have to do.

However, there is also another saying that I love “Failure To Plan Is A Plan To Fail”. It is with this quote in mind that I try to plan out my meals. I think by taking the time to plan meals for our families, we can help prevent some of the potentials discussed in that study.

Now, I’m not saying that I have a calendar with all 5 days planned out. However, I do try to note in my head or on paper at least 3 meals that I will make during the week. I also try to pick meals that can be made in a larger quantity so we can leftovers the next day.  Finally, one of my secret weapons in the fight against the fast food drive in window is to make dishes (like meats or stews) the night before.  Meats taste better and are more tender if they are allowed to rest and the ingredients in stews (such as my jambalaya below) can better blend together and deliver a tastier dish.

So here are a few ideas for all you busy moms, dads and caregivers, that can help you during the busy work week.

Turkey, Turkey, Turkey!  Roasted turkey breast is one of the easiest items to make.  The recipe is to simply season it and put it in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 – 170 degrees.  I like to also use broth to baste the turkey as it keeps it moist.  There, that’s it!  One of my secrets is to make this the night before.  Now you have a turkey breast that you can carve for sandwiches, cube for salads or just eat with your favorite side dish.


Above is a shot of the turkey breast after it has been carved.  I also made a very light gravy using 2 cups of broth, a tablespoon of the turkey drippings (don’t tell my husband I use drippings, he despises the idea of drippings used in food.  But what does he know this is my kitchen, haha) and one tablespoon of cornstarch.  In a saucepan just whisk the cornstarch into the hot liquid and viola.  You can adjust the thickness and taste of the gravy by adding more drippings and cornstarch. 

Above is the same turkey, now it is cubed.  Along with some fresh veggies and we turn that into…(see below)

A Yummy Turkey Cobb Salad in a tostada bowl.  The recipe is simply all of the items (cubed turkey, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, cheese) shown in the above picture and lettuce inside of a tostada bowl.  The dressing I used is a mixture of equal parks guacamole (or you could just mash some avocado) and parmesan ranch dressing. 

Now to the left is a shot of my famous Quesadillas.  Well, they are not really famous but they are a staple in my home.  Now the trick with good quesadillas is to find great tortilla wraps.  You want some that are pliable and not dry.  I find that Trader Joes has the best tortilla wraps.  Their handmade tortilla wraps are never dry and they fold easily.  Now for this recipe it is simply the tortillas and cheese on a hot pan.  Actually, I have stuffed the two closed quesadillas with tomatoes.  You can stuff it with veggies, meat or anything you desire.  I like to spray the pan with Pam and once it is hot put the tortilla on it.  Then I add cheese to half of it and once it starts to melt I fold it.  I then flip it so it is golden brown on both sides.

My final exhibit is below.  It is actually a version on Jambalaya.  It is simply shrimp, chicken & turkey sausage in a tomato & chicken broth sauce.  I also added onions and served it with rice and a few quesadilla wedges.  You can also add corn, peppers or any number of veggies.  Here is a link to a more detailed recipe for jambalaya .  This freezes well and taste even better the next day. This is another great dish to make the night before.

So I hope these dishes will inspire people to cook more at home and fight the urge to visit the place where you hear “May I take your order please”.  LOL, Bon Appetit!


23 Responses to “Fighting Childhood Obesity With Turkey Breast, Jambalaya and Quesadillas..i.e…HOMEMADE MEALS!”

  1. cocoamommy February 24, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    I just made quesadillas the other night. It was a simple version, I bought Perdue already cooked chicken breasts, Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles(gives a little kick) and Wegman’s taco cheese. It was not a fan favorite for the kids but I enjoyed. The turkey cobb salad looks delish!

    • Pennylove February 24, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

      Hey CCM, thanks for the comment love!

      I find that with kids they love quesadillas but other than an occasional tomato, they prefer it with cheese only. So when I make mine I usually do just cheese for the kids & I will do what you did and add other stuff for the grown ups. Great idea using the taco cheese as it already has the seasoning in it.

  2. Lisa Williams February 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    This sounds great Priscilla! Where do you buy your turkey meat? I was surprised to learn when I went to Acme yesterday that they do not sell turkey pieces, only whole turkeys.

    Lisa W

    • Pennylove February 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

      Hey Lisa, thanks so much for checking out my blog. I really appreciate the support. Ok, when it comes to turkey breast my absolute favorite is Wegmans Honey Brined Turkey Breast. It is so flavorful and juicy, because they have already brined it. I never have to marinate it. I simply season it and can use it for several days for dinner, leftovers, lunches and quick snacks. I try to keep these in the freezer because since they are vacuum sealed, they defros easily by simply covering with water. This is definitely a staple in my house.

      Here is a link on it:

  3. Randi Cohn February 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Great post! I actually do write all of our planned dinners for the week on the calendar. Makes it so much easier. I will have to try the turkey breast. Looks yummy!

    • Pennylove February 25, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks Randi. Definitely try the honey brined turkey breast. It is so good and easy to make.

  4. Julie February 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Looks great! I made a turkey breast the other night for a recipe and everyone loved it.

    Now to plan the other 6 meals for the week… right? 🙂

  5. Jenny February 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    I too blogged about the topic of childhood obesity as it has recently been in the news. I really feel for all of the working parents that do have it so rough! I hope your blog encourages working parents to be intentional about every aspect of their limited time with their children, including what they put on the table. Blessings!

    • Pennylove February 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      Jenny, thank you so much for your comment. Yes, it can be tough. I find that for me the best thing is to try to plan things out as that makes it easier to juggle my time.

  6. truestory02 February 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Love the post! The pics look delicious, I will have to try this.

    • pennylove March 9, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

      I hope you will as everything has been tried, tasted and approved. LOL.

  7. Tiffany February 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    It’s weird how studies are showing kids being obese, when all the kids in my family seem to be turning into little vegetarians, lol! Every time I go home, these kids will eat all the veggies off a sandwich or all the fruit before even touching meat. I was hoping that was the case with all kids, but I guess I was wrong…nice job putting up simple recipes for folks…another way to get the tomatoes pass the kids is to use a food processor and process it down to a spread, that way it’s not so chunky! I just started using whole tomatoes instead of tomatoe sauce, and by processing it, my spaghetti sauces taste waaay better!

    • Pennylove February 25, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

      Yes, fresh tomatoes are so yummy in sauce. I especially love using them in the summer when I can grow them outside in my garden.

      As for the kids. Girl, yes it is getting bad. Our children are becoming more susceptible to some of the adult diseases. Especially, juvenile diabetes and even high cholesterol. Not to mention just developing the bad habits of eating fast food. So glad your family eats healthy. I would bet it is because many people in your family are good cooks.

  8. Annett/Fit Moms Fit Kids Club February 25, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    Thanks for writing this! I found you on Momsbloggerclub! I hate to meal plan but I find that it saves me time and a ton of $$. I started a blog hop to help me get more ideas. It also helps me to make healthy choices for my kids ahead of time. Like you said when we fail to plan, we plan to fail… It’s so EASY to go through the drive thru, but when I plan a healthy meal ahead of time, I find myself not doing that. I also just got into once a month cooking which saves me even more. Do you do guest posts?? I’d love to have you do a healthy recipe on my site if you’re interested.

    • pennylove March 9, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi Annett, thanks for checking out my site. I just started blogging and at this point I am certainly not opposed to doing guest posts. I actually consider it a great compliment. However, I just need to work it into my crazy schedule. Please send me a note on MBC with any information and I will be happy to review and consider.

  9. Diane Pena-Bell February 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Thanks for the link. Your recipes look so good. Think I’m going to try the Turkey Cobb salad. I LOVE food! Nice job!

    • pennylove March 1, 2011 at 3:37 am #

      Thanks Diane! You will love the turkey Cobb salad. A few of my friends have made it and they really enjoyed it. Thanks so much for visiting my blog:)

  10. Jernell March 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm #

    Nice article, sis! Entertaining, informative, and very well-written. It’s so funny that when I read it I so hear your voice in my head!!!

    —J.Rose Da Poet

    • Pennylove March 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

      Lol, I write as if I plan to read this aloud. So even in reading it you can probably imagine my changes in inflection and changes in my pitch. Glad you liked the article.

  11. Grace March 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    I *love* Michel Martin and Tell Me More. You can learn ALL KINDS of things on that show.

    • pennylove March 6, 2011 at 4:29 am #

      Hi Grace,

      I love Tell Me More. I will literally schedule my work so that I can listen to it. Or I will catch missed shows via their podcast.

      Anyway, thanks again for visiting and the comment love:’)

  12. stacietownsend June 21, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    So I’m late to the party! Just found your blog, great recipe ideas on here. We are just now going through a time of cutting out fast food, sugar, processed foods…it’s hard, and I DON’T work outside the home. Can’t imagine if I did!

    One thing I did want to address…you’ve mentioned juvenile diabetes a few times in relation to childhood obesity and nutrition. Type 1 Diabetes, or Juvenile Diabetes as it’s often referred to, has NOTHING to do with obesity or nutrition. It’s Type 2 Diabetes that is considered an adult disease that kids are now getting, and is related to food and lifestyle choices. Type 1 is when the pancreas stops working; it’s something kids are born with and cannot be caused; and one of it’s main symptoms prior to dx is severe and quick weight loss (not gain). Type 2 Diabetes is a condition where your pancreas actually DOES work but your cells don’t process the insulin correctly, mostly because they’ve been overloaded or damaged from poor lifestyle choices. There’s a lot more I could say about these two diseases, but that’s the gist of it.

    Please don’t take this as confrontational or out of anger. It’s not meant that way at all. I just see so many misconceptions about the two types of diabetes and I try to educate where I can. A very close friend of mine almost lost her daughter a year ago due to Type 1 and I have learned SO much since then, and have seen her frustration as she deals with the misconceptions and assumptions people make about the diseases.

    Anyway, please keep blogging! I enjoyed reading through it a lot!

    • pennylove June 21, 2011 at 9:53 am #


      No offense taken and thanks for reading the post and providing the correction. Also, well wishes to your friends daughter. I hope she continues to get better.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: