Adventures in Healthier Eating with 2 Kids and a Picky Husband

Rainbow Turk-a-Roni

7 WWPP Posted by 9 years ago 21 Comments

I have a confession. It may be a culinary no no to admit but I don’t care! :~)

One of my favorite school lunches growing up was beef-a-roni. You remember it, right? Overcooked elbow pasta, grade F meat in some kind of tomato base. I don’t know when the concept of “comfort” food begins but at age 9 this really hit the nail on the head for me. Maybe it was the massive amount of fat and carbs that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Who knows. But whatever it was, that was one lunch I always asked for seconds of.

Well tonight, armed with 8oz of defrosted ground turkey and remnants of weekly produce I gave my old favorite a nutrition lift. I’m calling it “rainbow” as I used a red, orange, yellow and green vegetable. It made the dish really pretty and you know what they say about eating from the rainbow.

As for reviews, well this was the first dish in WEEKS that I got a “Mmmmmm this is a good” from the toddler. However, he did have to be coaxed to eat the veggies that were left in his bowl. I did my best to dice them small, which may have been a mistake. Here he is chowing down and looking awfully cute if I don’t say myself. :~)

Toddler eating turk-a-roniToddler eating turk-a-roni 2

Remember this is one of those ‘take it and run’ recipes! Use what ya got!Rainbow Turk-a-Roni

  • 6oz of your favorite whole wheat pasta
  • ½ sweet onion diced small
  • about 10 baby carrots diced small
  • 8oz lean ground turkey
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced small
  • 1 medium zucchini diced small
  • 1 medium tomato diced small
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce (like del monte)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper

Put the pot of water on high for the pasta and cook according to package.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Dice and add the onion. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and leave alone for 2 minutes while you dice the carrots. Add the carrots to the pot, stir and leave alone while you dice the pepper. Add the ground turkey to the carrots and onion skillet and break apart a bit. Once it starts to brown (grey) add the diced peppers. Leave alone while you dice the tomato. Add the tomato and stir over medium-high heat until the turkey is cooked all through.

At this point the pasta should be almost done. Drain the pasta when it’s ready and set aside.

Add the tomato sauce and spices to the skillet, sprinkle a bit more salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta, continue stirring until everything is coated. Shut off heat and serve or cover until ready to serve.

Honestly it was a keeper, I’ll make it again when it’s just me and the little guy, he really liked it! Just look how pretty it is!

turk-a-roni in skilletmore turk-a-roni

Approx Nutritional Information per serving
Servings Amt per Serving
4 About 1.5 Cups
Calories Fat Fiber WWPs
272 5g 7g old: 5 new: 7
Sugar Sat Fat Carbs Protein
9g 1g 42g 20g

See other recipes using: carrots, ground turkey, onion, pasta, peppers, sauce, tomato, turkey, zucchini

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There are 21 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    September 5, 2008

    Cute shirt! I have friends at Bloomsburg. I even used to spend a week there every August throughout high school for field hockey camp! Oh the good old days.


    September 5, 2008

    I was trying to boost the MD hits, and I did a double take when I saw the BU t-shirt. Props to you, Roni!!


    September 5, 2008

    Looks delish! I make a similar dish, only it's baked. You line a casserole dish with your veggies, then cover them with a milk mixture and a few bread crumbs. You can also add cheese and it turns out just beautifully!


    September 5, 2008

    Great recipe -- I'm sure my hubby will love it! Look at Ryan! He's such a cute and grownup little man!


    September 6, 2008

    I have made a similar dish. Adding frozen mixed veggies and splah of balsamic vinegar sweetens the mix a bit. It's a great way toget "my toddler" to eat her veggies.

    Allison K

    September 6, 2008

    Ryan is growing up so fast! What a cutie! I was wondering if you've ever considered cooking the pasta in the same pan as the veggie mixture? I saw this "one skillet" thing on America's Test Kitchen, tried a recipe and it was crazy fast, simple and delicious. They add either water or broth and then throw the pasta in, and the pasta absorbs all those yummy flavors already in the pan. I guess it's the same principle as your Roni's Chicken Surprise.. but with fresher ingredients? This looks great, it reminds me of your Quick Pepper Pasta thing that inspired me to experiment with all the weird leftover veggies in my fridge!


    September 6, 2008

    That looks delicious!! I'm making next week's menu tonight, and we're definitely gonna have that! Thanks Roni!!


    September 7, 2008

    I made this last night for dinner. My dh asked where I got the recipe...and (of course) I said, "Same place I've been getting all my new great stuff - GreenLiteBites!" He loved the recipe! I think it was really a comfort food for him. He's been working full time and going to school all weekend. He came home needing a home cooked meal, and this fit the bill just perfectly for him. (It definitely helped that it was quick and easy to make!) Thanks again, Roni! : )


    September 8, 2008

    Great recipe! I definitely have to try this!

    Tina O.

    September 8, 2008

    Oh, I LOVED the turkey gravy that you could get over rice or mashed potatoes! I just tried to re-create it recently and actually did pretty well, I thought. My kids liked it a lot, but I had to use 'jar' gravy which I usually find pretty gross. My older son has informed me that they do NOT serve that in school. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but I will make it again!


    September 9, 2008

    I bet this is so tasty! I love using whatever is leftover. Those dishes usually end up being in the regular rotation at our house. And oh my goodness, I used to be OB.SESSED. with Beefaroni. I still have little moments when I pass it in the store. I'd probably throw up a little if I ate it now since things from childhood rarely taste as good as you remember. So I'll stick with the memory, and it's oh so good.


    September 13, 2008

    Okay, my husband and I made it tonight, and it is so stinkin' good!!! After we had taken our first few bites, we both looked at each other and nodded in agreement. It's a definite keeper!! What's even better is that it took VERY little time! YAHOO!! I LOVE that!!


    September 14, 2008

    I had a package of ground beef in the fridge that HAD to be used. The hubby didn't feel like going out to pick up hamburger buns to make his burgers, so I decided to do this and if he didn't like it, well he could just eat a can of tuna. I had some peppers, but he vetoed the zucchini so I ended up throwing some frozen vegetabels (caluiflower-broccoli blend) in, as well as some frozen peas. It was so great! I ended up making about three times the amount of your recipe since there was so much ground beef, but we just measured it out and froze a bunch of portions for quick meals this week. The only thing I might try is using our favorite spicy pasta sauce next time (which we were out of) for a bit of added kick. But LOVED it!

    Sandy Hoppenrath

    September 15, 2008

    Hey, I'm LOVING your recipes. I've shared it with so many friends. Lots of your ideas are getting kid approved in our house...the husband here eats about anything. Anyway, do you have any lite ideas with "white sauce" instead of red sauces? My kiddos aren't much into red sauce, unless forced and I'm always looking for a healthier option than the high fat alfredo. Thanks for your help!


    September 15, 2008

    Tamara - Glad you guys liked the idea!


    September 15, 2008

    Sandy - I’ve never been a “creamy” sauce kind of gal so I don’t have any ideas off the bat. But I do know of people who use Laughing Cow light cheese to make an Alfredo knock off. For example…


    September 16, 2008

    This definitely got the thumbs up from both my husband and my 21 month old. I added some pinto beans because we love beans and I used a red pepper but otherwise stuck to the recipe. Really great! Thanks Roni.

    sandy hoppenrath

    September 17, 2008

    thanks for the laughing cow ideas. I'll try it really soon!


    November 5, 2009

    Oooo, pretty. Looks like a nice dish for spring or summer too.


    July 7, 2010

    We had this for dinner last night and it was a big hit in our house. Trying the 15 min red beans and rice tonight! Thanks Roni!


    November 15, 2010

    Oh, WOW. My hubby came into the kitchen and said that it looked and SMELLED great. If given the choice, the only veggies he'd eat would be the mushrooms on his pizza, but this recipe was so awesome he didn't care there were any in there. He said it tasted like hamburger helper but GOOD. I'll so make this again! Thanks for sharing your cool recipes, this isn't the first/only one that I've tried and loved :)