Creamy Cheddar Potato Soup - A Dinner Favorite

It is here! It is here! The recipe for the Creamy Cheddar Potato Soup you all have been asking for. I shared this soup a few months ago on my Instagram Stories just to see if you guys would like it. It was my first time using the Stories as a way to "cook" with you all and walk you through a recipe. I though it was so much fun and everyone loved it. The problem was, the stories disappear after being up for 24 hours. So people who didn't watch from the get-go were missing out. I ended up getting tons of emails and Instagram comments asking for "that soup you made on Instagram." So, since this recipe was in such high demand I decided to put it here on the blog. At the end of this blog post you will find the recipe which you can even print if you'd like to keep handy in your kitchen. 

This soup recipe is a staple for my family, especially during the Winter months. It is hearty, decadent and just comforting all around. The best part truly is that you can whip this soup up in less than an hour! Which, come the end of the day, an easy dinner is life changing! 

Ok enough talking ... here is the recipe friends! Enjoy :) 

Photos by Lily Ro Photography 

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CREAMY CHEDDAR POTATO SOUP

  • Prep time: 10 minutes

  • Cook time: 30 minutes

  • Servings: 6 servings of soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 onion finely diced

  • 6 medium sized yellow potatoes diced into bite sized pieces. *You can peel them if you'd like. We keep the skins on.

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon salt + 2 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water

  • 6 tablespoons of softened cream cheese cut into small cubes

  • 1 cup extra sharp cheddar shredded

  • 2 cups half & half

  • 1 cup of corn

  • 2 garlic cloves grated or finely chopped

  • 3 green onions chopped for garnish

* To make this soup vegetarian use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock!

STEPS

1

In a large stock pot on medium heat melt your butter. Once better is melted, add your onions, salt, pepper and garlic. With a wooden spoon, stir and cook down the onions until they are opaque or see through. 

2

Once the onions are cooked down, add your potatoes and chicken stock. Bring everything to a low boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. This takes about 8-10 minutes. Once you stick a fork easily in and out of a potato you know it is time to move on to the next step. 

3

While the potatoes are cooking, mix together your corn starch and water in a small bowl. Set the mixture aside.This little mixture is very important as it will make your soup nice and thick as well as help bring all the soup ingredients together. 

4

Also while the potatoes are cooking gather and prep the rest of your ingredients. Chop your parsley, cube the cream cheese, measure out the shredded cheddar cheese, half & half and corn. You can also start to cook off some bacon for a savory soup topping!

5

Once the potatoes are fork tender stir in the corn starch mixture and half & half. 

6

Now add your softened cubed cream cheese. It is important to add the cream cheese when it is soft so it melts evenly into the soup. That is also why you add it in small cubes rather than in giant pieces. Keep stirring the soup until the cream cheese is fully melted. 

7

Next add your cheddar cheese. Again, keep stirring until the cheese has fully melted. 

8

At this point you can either keep the soup chunky as is OR place it into a blender and blend it for a smooth soup. This move is totally up to you and what texture you enjoy most. I will say, in our house we like it chunky ;)

9

Now, add the corn and fresh parsley. Stir and serve hot. Top with crispy bacon and additional cheese + parsley or chopped green onions. 

10

Store extras in an air tight container for up to 3 days. 

Quick Turkey Meatballs + A Weekly Dinner Pep Talk

Anyone else feel like making dinner every night can be a bit (aka very) stressful at times? Even for me, I love to be in the kitchen! However, coming up with dinner every night can get to be a bit much especially after a long day. Even a long day when Mila and I only went for a walk and a Target run. I’m just being real here. I have really great weeks when things are working like a machine. Dan and I stay on top of our joint Google calendar, I’ve prepped dinner ideas on Sunday like a boss and come the end of the day I get a second wind. BUT there are some weeks when things aren’t working, Dan and I are confused about our daily schedules, I’ve skipped any sort of meal planning and ordering take out becomes our back up plan. Like most things for me, organization comes in waves and I either hit a home run or foul ball. I can’t be the only one right? 

Again with the honesty thing, lately I’ve felt more like a mess than anything and dinner around these parts have been cereal, salad or ya, take out. So, I’ve been trying to kick my own ass into shape and what it comes down to is … Is it easy? If not, I’m not doing it! Last week I focused on dinners that took 30 minutes or less to make and I also gave my husband the task of dishes. Which quite possibly is the equivalent to a home run in my opinion. I HATE doing dishes. It is that whole, asking for help thing. I hate to do it because I want to do everything myself. But when I do everything myself I get a crazed look in my eye and end up running around the house throwing things back in their place. Mumbling "I am the only one around who cares!" Which isn't true, so Dan does the dishes now. End of story. 

I am combing through my dinner recipes and adding new twists to things I already know how to make. I’ve also taken to sharing quick dinner ideas via my Instagram stories (@babyboybakery) if you are interested. Plus, the recipe here today Quick Turkey Meatballs is a family staple and I think it could become one in your house too! Back to creating twists on things we already know how to make, I think that is KEY. Why try to learn a whole new recipe when we can take what we know and just switch up the protein, add a veggie or grain, take away the carb and toss it on a bed of greens? Life is hard you guys and all about improvising! Let’s improvise dinner! 

Ok, some tips you can follow when you have the headspace to …

-Meal Plan On Sundays. Yes, this is great! When I can I like to plan our meals for the week. Take inventory on what you have in pantry and grab the groceries you need to make said week night meals. Sometimes its fun to write out the weekly menu and post it on the refrigerator or somewhere in the kitchen. Doing that is fun for the kids to see what they are having for dinner. (and also holds you accountable ;)

-Pasta, Spinach, Quinoa or Rice. These things I always try to have on hand. To me adding one of these can instantly make food a meal. To make these more interesting, try making your rice or quinoa with chicken stock and a couple of chopped garlic cloves and use sea salt when boiling your pasta. I’ve made the switch from iceberg and romaine to spinach in our home because it packs more of of a nutritional punch. Plus when in doubt make it a salad! 

-Brinner. This one I think most families are familiar with. As a kid I used to LOVE when my mom made breakfast for dinner, ‘Brinner’. Pancakes, scrambled eggs anything goes when it is Brinner! 

-Dinner On A Platter. You know those fancy cheese boards? Those can be such a fun and easy dinner. On a giant cutting board slice cheeses, add meats, grapes, olives, crackers basically whatever it is your family loves to snack on. Be sure to include nice and filling things on there with hints of fun too like chocolate covered raisins or candied nuts. Is it dinner? If it has protein, dairy and a vegetable it is dinner. Also, you make the rules in your house! If you say its dinner, it is dinner! 

-Don’t Sweat It. A lot of the time I find myself apologizing to Dan about dinner. I’ll say things like “I’m sorry about dinner.” “I’m sorry I didn’t make dinner tonight.” or “Is it OK? I know its just rice and grilled chicken.” and Dan 100% of the time is like “I don’t care! It is good!” So, I’m finding out that it is me who puts the pressure on myself. I’m trying hard to loosen up and be nice to myself. If dinner isn’t going to happen, it isn’t the end of the world and take out can be fun sometimes! Also, you aren’t a bad mom if your kids eat goldfish crackers and cheese for dinner one night. To me that is awesome and says, “You are doing life mama! Keep pushing because what you are doing is enough.” 

Happy Weeknight Dinners Friends! Try my recipe below for the easiest Turkey Meatballs and add them to your week day dinner arsenal. 

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QUICK TURKEY MEATBALLS

  • Prep time: 10 Minutes

  • Cook time: 30 Minutes

  • Servings: 15-20 Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 finely chopped or grated yellow onion

  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped or grated

  • 2 tablespoons chopped FRESH parsley

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (3 for the meatball mixture, 1 to top the meatballs prior to going in oven)

  • shaved Parmesan cheese to top meatballs *optional

  • hearty pinch of salt and pepper

You can whatever type % lean ground turkey you'd like.

STEPS

1

Start by pre-heating your oven to 375 degrees and prep a baking sheet with either non-stick cooking spray, parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. 

2

Next prep all your ingredients. Place your ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Chop your parsley. Finely dice or grate your onion and garlic. I have found that grating these offers a nice texture and flavor through out the meatballs. Measure your breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, herbs and spices. 

3

Add all your ingredients into the large mixing bowl with your ground turkey. Add the egg and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. 

4

You can use a wooden spoon to mix, but I think using your hands is easier. Try mixing everything until just combined. If you over mix the turkey mixture it could make your meatballs a little too dense. 

5

I use an ice scream scoop to measure out each meatball. Then form them into a ball with the palms of my hands. 

6

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over all the meatballs. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and cooked through. These typically take around 25 or 30 minutes and I like to rotate each one in the middle of their bake time. 

7

Enjoy with marinara sauce and toasted bread. I love to double this recipe and freeze the meatballs to defrost for quick lunch and dinners too. If you freeze, be sure to store in an air tight container for up to two weeks. 


Crispy Baked Chicken Bites

With Mila being one year now and fully interested in solid foods, our run with purees have sadly come to an end. Making baby food is seriously one of my most favorite hobbies. I’ll miss blending up goodness for Mila, though I have to say she seems more excited about “real” food. My baby sure does love to eat and I thank my lucky stars everyday. I'm sure her picky stage will sneak up on us at some point.

Though Mila adores any type of chicken nugget, I put together this recipe in honor of my littlest brother Jacob. My brother Jacob is now 21 and very much a mans man. But I love remembering those simpler days when my sister and I tormented him! Jacob was basically our doll and we may have loved messing with him too much. ;) Anyways, ever since he was a toddler he was obsessed with chicken nuggets and for a few years it was all he ate. Honest, ask my mom. That was all she could get into his lanky frame. Chicken nuggets smothered in BBQ sauce. Now a days he eats anything, but I bet bite sized chicken would still be on his favorites list. Today I'm showing you how we make our own version of tasty bite sized chicken. I keep the dredge and coating pretty minimal. Plus, I bake them rather than fry to keep them more on the healthy side. (This recipe is also gluten free and dairy free.) These are pretty simple and quick to throw together too. Be sure to have these ingredients on hand because in a pinch you can throw together Crispy Baked Chicken Bites and your family will totally love it! Enjoy!

CRISPY BAKED CHICKEN BITES

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 25-30 bite sized pieces

INGREDIENTS

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tsp each of salt & pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbs olive oil

2 cups corn flake cereal

1 cup any dairy option. (I used dairy-free Lactaid)

You'll need a baking sheet lined with silicon mat or a layer of parchment paper

STEPS

1

Dice your chicken breasts into bite sized pieces. Be sure to dice each piece around the same size so they all finish baking at the same time.

2

For this recipe I used a dairy free substitute - Lactaid. However, you can use whatever dairy option you wish. Mix the chicken and your milk option in a bowl. Let the two sit for at least 10 minutes. Use a spoon to be sure your milk option coats all the chicken bites.

3

In another bowl, use your hand to crush the corn flake cereal. You'll want to use your hand and not a grinder or smash them with anything. This way you get a nice coating texture, rather than a fine dust. Crush the cereal until the flakes are a uniform texture. Add in your salt, pepper and garlic powder.

4

Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees and ready a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or with a layer of parchment paper.

5

Set up an assembly line! Start with your dredged chicken, your cereal coating and end with your baking mat. Take one piece of chicken at a time and coat it in the crushed cereal then line them up on the baking sheet.

6

Use a fork to help you coat your chicken pieces and place them on the baking sheet. This way your hands stay clean

7

Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken.

8

Bake for about 20 minutes or until crisp and the chicken is cooked through.

9

Enjoy! These don't store well, so enjoy within the same day.

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Left Over Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pies

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! My family always either makes turkey sliders with our left over Thanksgiving turkey or mini turkey pot pies. I am partial to the pot pies and we have a pretty simple recipe. I wanted to share it with you all in case you needed a yummy idea. Enjoy friends!

TURKEY POT PIE

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 8 mini pies or 1 large pie

INGREDIENTS

2-3 cups left over Thanksgiving turkey either diced or shredded.

pre-made pie dough (2 rolls)

1 diced onion

2 chicken bouillon cubes

5 cups of chicken stock

2 sticks of butter

3/4 cup flour

1/4 heavy cream

3 peeled and diced carrots

1 cup peas

5-6 small red potatoes diced

1 cup corn

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon pepper or more to taste

STEPS

1

In a small saucepan warm the chicken stock and dissolve the chicken bouillon cubes.

2

In large pot melt the butter and sauté the onions for about 10 minutes or until extremely soft and see through.

3

Whisk in the flour and continuously whisk for 3 minutes. If it seems too dry add a tablespoon more of butter. Whisk the flour until it dissolved and cooks within the butter.

4

Pour in the warm flavored chicken stock and whisk for another minute or so or until thick. Add in; salt and pepper to taste, heavy cream, turkey, carrots, potatoes, corn, peas and parsley.

5

Cook the pot pie mixture until the carrots and potatoes are fork tender.

6

Add the pot pie mixture into a pie pan or small ramekins.

7

Roll out your pie dough and cut out dough circles that fit on top of your pies. Punch out a cute shape to make a vent for your pie.

8

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

9

Crack an egg and whisk it. Use a pastry brush and brush the tops of your pies.

10

Bake your pies for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

11

Enjoy right away. Store unbaked pies for up to a week in the fridge.

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Sweet Potato Tostadas

I recently was asked “What is your go-to dinner option when you are low on time?” My immediate answer was “IN AND OUT DRIVE-THRU!”, but that wasn’t very inspiring. My next thought was, what do I make the most? The answer then was “TACOS”. I love tacos. I’d have to say it is my favorite food to eat, order and cook. (Aside from ordering a double double ;) Tacos for me is such a no brainer and offers the best backdrop for creativity. I love switching up the filling or shells. You can go super authentic and spicy or totally healthy with a side salad instead of chips and guacamole. They don’t even have to be Mexican or Spanish flavors! I made these Wonton Tacos once last year and people are still emailing me about them! You guys! Tacos Rock. Before I keep talking your ear off about how much I love T A C O S…I’ll just tell you my brilliant idea, give you my recipe and let you be on your way!

My husband is obsessed with sweet potatoes and we always have so many. I buy the bags of sweet potatoes from Trader Joes, but if it isn’t in a fry or chip form I have no love for the sweet potato! Until now. Sorry for the awful language, but my husband refers to my grand ideas sometimes as a “wild hair up my butt”. When he says this it always makes me laugh, and I do believe it to be true. A lot of times my grand ideas are trash, but sometimes they are truly grand. I decided to chop up sweet potatoes into bit sized pieces and cook them just as I would taco meet. THATS IT! THATS MY WILD HAIR! I’ll share exactly what I did below. But you guys, I want to see you make these because they are really, really grand! (and really easy ;) Also, I call these tostadas instead of tacos…but they basically are tacos. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Tostadas

What You Need

4 sweet potatoes peeled & chopped

1 packet of taco seasoning

4 chopped green onions

corn tortillas

6 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying tortillas

3-4 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing sweet potatoes

black beans cooked from scratch or from a can

*if you use black beans from a can, try this - in a small sauce pan warm up a tablespoon of olive oil and teaspoon of crushed garlic. Add the black beans along with; pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, 1/4 teaspoon cumin. Stir until warmed through. Add chopped cilantro or parsley at the end for additional flavor & color.

1/2 cup cheese

handful of cilantro chopped

1/3 cup sour cream

*try mixing a couple dashes of hot sauce into your sour cream!

sliced avocado

What You Do

Start by peeling and dicing your sweet potatoes. You’ll want to make each piece about the same size (bite sized) so they all cook at the same time.

In a large skillet over medium high heat warm up the olive oil. Once hot toss in the sweet potatoes & chopped green onions. Stir until each sweet potato is coated with oil. Cook until fork tender. Keep stirring every few minutes. You might have to lower the heat a little to prevent burning. This whole process takes about 15 minutes.

Once the sweet potatoes are fork tender, add the taco seasoning. Fill the empty taco seasoning packet with water and add that to the sweet potatoes and seasoning. Lower the heat and cook sweet potatoes for another 8-10 minutes. You don’t want to cook them too long or else they will begin to mash.

In another skillet heat up the vegetable oil. Fry your corn tortillas until crisp and golden brown. Let them cool and drain on paper towels so the oil can soak up.

Once your crisp tortillas and sweet potatoes are ready, begin prep for your toppings. Prep the black beans, place shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and seasoned sour cream into small serving bowls. Slice the avocado.

Have your family put together their own tostadas. Mix up the toppings to fit your family best! Try chopped tomatoes, corn or flavored rice!

These also taste great as left overs the next day. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

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Honey Garlic Chicken & Cauliflower Rice

Last week I mentioned on my Instagram that Dan and I quit bread, rice, pasta and tortillas. Just for a week though! Sometimes I find ourselves making the same things for dinner and it can get a bit boring. Omitting a few starchy gluten based items helped get my creative juices flowing. I was able to map out an entire weeks worth of meals! I asked you all on Instagram which recipe you'd like to see the most and the following received the most commented votes. Which was pretty thrilling. I had so much fun scrolling through and reading your comments. Turns out, a lot of you already don't eat bread, pasta etc. I am hoping to write down a few more of my recipe ides and share them here within the next few weeks too. So, if you are interested keep an eye out.

Chicken is such a staple in our house. Chicken is just one of those easy things that can take on any flavor thrown at it and taste great. It is also great as left overs for Dan to take to work. The best part about chicken recipes is that in most cases it can easily be substituted with tofu or a hearty vegetable. This recipe was inspired by my love of savory and sweet combinations. I love the sticky sweet honey perfumed with a hint of garlic. Surprisingly, cauliflower rice is extremely easy to make! I jazzed up the flavor and cooked till it was warm and fluffy, much like real rice. My husband did say it takes a bit getting used to...but it is so healthy for you. I say, give it a try!

Let me know if you create it for dinner!

Honey Garlic Chicken & Cauliflower Rice

What You Need

...chicken...

4 chicken breast

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh crushed garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

...cauliflower...

4-5 chopped green onion

1 head cauliflower

1 teaspoon olive olive

pinch of salt

What You Do

-Whisk together the; honey, soy sauce, crushed garlic, ginger, pepper and cornstarch. The cornstarch will thicken your sauce.

-Put aside a few tablespoons of the honey sauce to drizzle over the finished chicken.

-Cut the chicken breast into cubes or bite sized pieces. Place the chicken into the bowl with honey sauce. Let the chicken marinade in the sauce for at least an hour. I like to prep this step in the morning or early afternoon. This way it is ready to cook come dinner time.

-In a large skillet on medium heat cook the chicken through. Careful to not burn it. Since the sauce has honey as the base the sugar tends to caramelize quickly. Be sure to stir often while the chicken cooks.

-For the "rice", cut up a head of cauliflower into small florets. Use either a food processor or blender and grind up the cauliflower florets a few at a time.

-Heat up a teaspoon of olive oil in a sauce pan and toss in the ground cauliflower.

-Keep the cauliflower rice on medium heat as you add 3/4 of your green onion and pinch of salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix every few minutes. I like to cook the cauliflower for at least 15 minutes or until hot and fluffy through out.

-Place the cauliflower rice on the plate and top with the glazed chicken. Drizzle a little extra honey garlic sauce and top with the left over green onions.

-This makes yummy left overs too! Keep in an air tight container for up to 2 days.

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Wonton Turkey Tacos

It has been nearly three weeks since I've posted on this little blog of mine. I guess that means February was a long and busy month. We definitely celebrated, struggled and grew ... I have so much to say and feel. I'll set aside some time to process it all and write a few a things down as it helps me. Thank you to everyone for sticking by my side as I hustle through the depths of my grief. It can feel so lonely at times and then I'm swiftly reminded of the immense support.

I recently posted a photo of these yummy little things and a lot of people asked for the recipe. It is something I made up on a whim. Dan and I love tacos and decided to switch it up one night. I always ask for extra wontons on my salad at Tender Greens so I decided to try my hand at working with wontons at home, since I love them so much. My mom always taught me to throw together things you have on hand in case you find yourself with out a packet of taco seasoning or whatever it is you may think you need to make your food taste good. So, I figured out how to make a sauce from scratch that made my food taste dang good. Anyways, thats how this weird creation started and turns out a lot of you were curious.

Let me know if any of you make these in your home. I saw all the pancakes and cinnamon rolls on Instagram and it just makes me feel so happy! You all are the absolute best ...

Wonton Tacos

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What You Need

- one pound of turkey (you can use whatever meat/meat substitute)

- 3 green onions

- tablespoon of roughly chopped cilantro

- wonton wrappers

- 1/4 cup of canola oil

- 1/2 cup shredded carrots

- 1/2 cup shredded broccoli (I use the pre-shredded broccoli slaw mix from Trader Joe's)

For The Sauce

**You can totally buy a bottle of 'General Tso' sauce if you don't want to make it yourself**

- 1/2 cup of soy sauce

- 3 tablespoons of rice wine

- 1 1/2 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar

- 1 tablespoon of Siracha

- 3 cloves of chopped garlic

- 2 teaspoons of cornstarch

- 1 teaspoon of chili flakes (we like it spicy so don't add if you don't like a little heat)

What You Do

- The first thing I do is fry all the wonton shells. To be honest they are a pain in the butt, but I hope that doesn't turn you off. They are so tasty, crispy and delicious it will be worth it. I promise. In a frying pan heat your 1/4 cup of canola oil on medium high heat. You can also use veggie oil if that's what you have on hand. Once the oil is hot put one corner of the wonton in. (It is a square so act like you are folding it corner to corner.) Use tongs to hold onto a corner of the wonton while the other other corner is frying. You fry one side of the "taco" and once it is light brown you flip it over and fry the other side. You have to use the tongs to hold one side while you fry the other so it stays open like a taco. Does this make sense? If not email me and I can walk you through it. I feel crazy typing this. I just made this up one night in my kitchen and figured it out on the fly. Once both sides are crispy light brown place on a paper towel and continue frying.

-Once all your wonton shells are finished frying start browning your turkey meat. You can use ground beef or really any kind of filling you want. It would be great with just vegetables too. Again, I'm all about getting creative. Hopefully a few of you do! Let me know.

-While your meat is browning start on the sauce. Again this sauce can be found in a bottle at any store and would cut dinner prep in half. It is called 'General Tso' at Trader Joe's and is really good as a marinade too. So go for easy if you can. If you are like me and make everything hard for yourself ;) prepare from scratch like this;

- In a saucepan on low heat warm all but the sugar & corn starch.

- Stir in the brown sugar and whisk until it dissolves.

- Whisk in corn starch (this will thicken the sauce).

- Toss in chili flakes at the end...If you want.

- Take off heat and store in fridge for up to three days or use right away.

- This amount is good for about one pound of turkey.

- So, your turkey is brown and you've drained all the fat. Add your sauce and stir.

- Add your chopped green onions, shredded broccoli and carrots. Cook until the veggies soften. I do like to keep the veggies a little crispy but that is totally up to you. Once everything is coated with sauce and cooked to your liking ... carefully put the filling in your wonton shells. I say carefully because the wontons break easy.

- Just top with chopped cilantro and enjoy!

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