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Turkey Pesto Paninis

By Polly Conner

These Turkey Pesto Paninis have been a fan-favorite for YEARS. They come together quickly, make a great lunch, dinner, or last-minute weeknight meal. You can even make them in bulk and freeze them! The pesto brings a great taste and the sun-dried tomatoes add a punch of flavor that puts them over the top.

Freezer Friendly turkey pesto paninis stacked

Considering the simplicity of this recipe, I cannot believe how fabulous they are. They are one of the few recipes from this site that we chose to go into our cookbook, From Freezer to Table. They have proven to be a favorite among website visitors AND cookbook users.

What Makes a Great Turkey Pesto Panini

Let’s talk about the ingredients, shall we?

TURKEY – I prefer to use deli sliced turkey. It’s fresher, healthier (less preservatives), and just tastes better. Shredded turkey would be a delicious alternative too! This can be a great recipe to use up some from a smoked or fried turkey from Thanksgiving! Another great sub for this panini is shredded chicken. Totally yum!

PESTO – The fresher the better! My first choice would be to use our homemade Pesto recipe. And when I say “first choice”, I mean this choice is FAR ahead of my other choices. My second choice would be refrigerated pesto. I found that I like this kind a bit more than the jarred kind.

SUN-DRIED TOMATOES – I’ve used both dry-packed and the jarred kind in these paninis and both will work. I do prefer the jarred kind a bit more than the dried ones but it really comes down to what you prefer.

BREAD – This can be played with a bit too. I do love a good ciabatta roll for this type of panini, but I’ve also been known to use sour dough bread.

Hands assembling turkey pesto paninis

Can You Freeze Paninis?

Many don’t think of a panini as a freezer meal. The great news is, they work great to make ahead and freeze! I especially love them because like many of our Freezer Meals for 1-2 People, they can be individually wrapped before freezing. That way you can pull one out at a time!

TO FREEZE: Wrap the (uncooked) sandwiches individually in foil, place in a large freezer bag, seal, and freeze.

TO PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Unwrap and thaw using the microwave defrost setting or in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Cook as directed.

Hands prepping turkey pesto paninis for the freezer

Do I Need a Panini Press to Make these?

Nope! I don’t even own one. I simply use a cast iron skillet to sit on top of them while they are cooking to give that panini-squished-sandwich feel.

What Goes Well with Turkey Pesto Paninis?

Here are some side dish ideas that would go well with this sandwich.

Strawberry Avocado Salad

Tomato Bisque

Chopped Bacon and Brussels Sprouts

Oven Roasted Broccoli

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Turkey Pesto Paninis {Freezer Meal}

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 minutes
  • Yield: 3 paninis 1x
  • Category: Sandwich
  • Method: Toasting
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Did you know that Paninis can make a great freezer meal?! Considering the simplicity of this recipe, I cannot believe how great these freezer friendly Turkey Pesto Paninis are. To make them a freezer meal, simply assemble them and wrap them up before cooking. You can of course eat them fresh too. So simple and so delicious!


Ingredients

  • 6 whole wheat ciabatta rolls (or 12 slices of sourdough)
  • 612 slices provolone cheese
  • ½ cup Pesto
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 pound all-natural deli turkey slices 2–3 tablespoons softened butter

Instructions

To Make One Sandwich

  1. Butter the outside of both pieces of bread.
  2. Then spread pesto on the inside of both pieces.
  3. Add 1-2 slices of Swiss cheese.
  4. Add turkey.
  5. Heat skillet to medium-high heat.
  6. Place sandwich on heated skillet. Leave long enough for cheese to melt or until the bread gets toasted to your preference.
  7. When you flip it the first time, make sure to press down on the sandwich with a spatula. Do this a few times throughout cooking.
  8. Feel free to play with the ingredients.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze: Follow steps 1-4. Wrap uncooked sandwiches tightly and freeze.

To Prepare from Frozen: Thaw. Follow steps 5-7.

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs

By Rachel Tiemeyer

This chicken burger recipe is a kid and adult fave! Make ahead and freeze a batch for later or make them tonight for a delicious and healthy dinner.

chicken burger on a bun with cheese on a plate

Why Are These the BEST?

I’ve been making these Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs for well over a decade now. In fact, my Freezer Club deemed them a “home run” recipe and it became one that we made for our group several times per year!

Here’s the deal. These miniature patties of ground chicken goodness fit every value I have for a family meal:

Tasty? Check.
Kids like them? Check.
Easy to make? Check.
Healthy? Check.
Freezable? Check.

mini chicken burger recipe

They take just minutes to cook on the stovetop and the taste is out of this world, thanks to fresh garlic, lemon juice, parsley, and the seasoning. The bread crumb coating get toasted on the outside and forms a nice crust that seals in all the juices, too.

Bottom line: No complaints from my crew when I make these. #winnerdinner

How to Make Chicken Burgers

Watch this 1 minute video tutorial to see just how easy it is to make these Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs…

How Do I Freeze Chicken Burgers?

A super smart use of time is to double (or triple) the batch and freeze chicken burgers for later. If you’re already getting your kitchen, bowls, and utensils dirty, why not spend just a few more minutes putting together an extra batch or two for a future dinner?

To freeze for later, place the burgers on a sheet pan and flash freeze them for an hour or so. Once they are hard, toss them in a gallon-sized freezer bag or container and seal well. Freeze for up to 3 months.

How Should I Serve Chicken Burgers?

white plate with chicken burger on bun, sweet potato fries, and grapes

We have two suggestions for how to serve chicken burgers.

  1. Serve them a la carte with Avocado Aioli on top or on the side. Dipping each bite of my mini chicken burger in the avocado aioli is my hands-down favorite way to eat them! The sauce is super easy to whip up.
  2. Serve them on a bun, topped with your favorite cheese if you want. I would suggest Provolone or Havarti cheese over the top, but pick whatever kind you love. Kids especially love the burgers served this way. You can also top them with lettuce (or arugula), tomato slices, and that amazing Avocado Aioli I mentioned.

As for side dish ideas, we enjoy sweet potato fries or Oven Fries and some fruit for a simple weeknight meal.

More Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals

Looking for more easy, kid-friendly freezer meals like this one? We have a whole round-up of 30+ Kid-Friendly Freezer Meals here or get started with a few of these favorites…

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Baked Italian Meatballs

Baked Penne Pasta

Easy Ham and Cheese Sliders

Make or Print This Chicken Burger Recipe

You and your family are going to love this tasty yet light chicken burger recipe! Be sure to Pin it, share it, or print it now.

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chicken burger on a bun with cheese on a plate

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (2 mini burgers per person) 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs are kid-friendly, healthy and tasty! Freezer meal instructions included. This meal is a winner dinner again and again!


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground chicken (sub: ground turkey)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (recommend: whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs) (*For Gluten-free option see note below.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • Optional: cheese slices (i.e. provolone, cheddar, mozzarella)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. In a large bowl, use a fork or your hands to gently combine the ground chicken, garlic, parsley, oregano, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into 16 small patties.
  2. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Coat each patty in the crumbs on both sides; set aside. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmery. Add some of the patties (try not to overcrowd the pan) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until browned and cooked through. They are cooked through when there is no longer any pink inside or they reach 165°F internally. (Note: If the patties brown before they’re cooked through, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and continue to cook for a few minutes more.) Repeat this step with the remaining oil and patties.
  4. Serve the chicken burgers a la carte or on mini buns with a cheese slice on top, if desired.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Place the patties on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet in a single layer and set in the freezer to flash freeze for about an hour. After they are frozen, transfer to a large resealable bag and store for up to 3 months.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the patties overnight in the refrigerator. Follow Steps 3-4.


Notes

*For a Gluten-Free Option: Coat the mini chicken burgers in almond flour or gluten-free breadcrumbs. If serving on buns, use gluten-free buns.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potato and Black Beans {Freezer Meal}

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Look no further for a comforting slow cooker freezer meal. This lean turkey chili is not only hearty and absolutely delicious, but it’s also chock full of fiber, protein, and nutrients. This crock pot chili is delicious fresh but is also a great make ahead meal.

‘Tis the season for a good, healthy slow cooker recipe!

In the midst of heavy holiday meals and baked goods, this Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans is…hmmm…refreshing. Can chili be refreshing? Well, not like refreshing in as a cold drink on a hot day. But, it definitely qualifies as a welcomed break from the overindulgent foods of late. It was a winner and will be a regular in our winter menu planning for sure.

Slow cooker turkey chili
This lean turkey chili is not only hearty and absolutely delicious, but it’s also chock full of fiber, protein, and nutrients. The jalapeño lends just the right amount of heat without being overpowering. It’s perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner and then leftovers for lunch the next day.

Turkey chili in the slow cooker

Be sure to double the batch and freeze one for later (instructions included below). And, let me assure you, your house will smell incredible when you arrive home around 5 p.m. Thank you slow cooker!

Crock pot turkey chili in a bowl

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Healthy Turkey Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili with Sweet Potato and Black Beans

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Chili
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This lean chili is not only hearty and absolutely delicious, but it’s also chock full of fiber, protein, and nutrients. The jalapeño lends just the right amount of heat without being overpowering. It’s perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner and then leftovers for lunch the next day.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeño pepper, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, liquid and all
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounce) cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Topping for serving: hot sauce, diced avocado, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, shredded cheddar, diced onions, salsa, thinly sliced green onion, etc.

Instructions

  1. In a large pan over medium to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté diced sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes, until just softened. Season lightly with salt and pepper while sautéing. Add sweet potato mixture to slow cooker insert.
  2. Turn up heat to medium-high. In same pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté the onions, jalapeño pepper, garlic and ground turkey, stirring and breaking up the meat. Cook until meat is cooked through (no longer pink) and onions softened, about 4-5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper while sautéing. Drain off any grease. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Add meat mixture and remaining ingredients (chili powder through black beans) to the slow cooker insert, stirring until well combined.
  4. Slow cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts. Add hot sauce to increase heat at the end, if desired. Serve topped with your favorite chili toppings (diced avocado, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheddar, diced onions, etc.).

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze: Complete recipe through Step 2. Add the cooked and cooled meat and vegetables to a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Then, add the remaining ingredients (chili powder through black beans) to the same bag. Seal, toss gently to mix, and freeze.

To Prepare From Frozen: Thaw for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Cook according to instructions beginning with Step 4.