Turkey Cannelloni

IMGP3379 Hello, children! Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, the rulers of the fair United Kingdom (and some of their counterparts in the neighbouring kingdoms) got themselves all in a tiz over how ill some of their moocows had become. They were really worried that if the people of the land ate the moocows, then they would become ill, too.

One day, Good Mother Nell, decided that she'd feed her family something different, so that Prince Charming might grow up big and strong, and not become a mad moocow (20+ years later, the Jury's still out!)

She travelled far, she travelled wide, in search of good nutritious meat to keep the family fighting fit and healthy, and eventually stumbled across a farm owned by a kindly old farmer and his wife. They had no children of their own to care for, and so when Good Mother Nell told them of her plight and quest, they took pity, and slaughtered one of their very own turkeys for her.

She promised one day to repay their kindness, and hurried off home to prepare a fine feast for her fair family. She ground the meat of the turkey to make a mince, which she cooked in a lovely, rich tomato sauce, a little like a bolognaise or lasagne. She used the mixture to stuff tubes of Cannelloni pasta, which she later baked in the oven with some béchamel sauce and cheese.

She presented the dish to her husband and son (and took some back to the kindly farmer-folk, because she'd promised to repay their kindness etc. etc. yada yada yada) and they were mightily impressed with the tasty tasty goodness.

After many  years went by, the moocows of the kingdom became well again, and Good Mother Nell reverted back to cooking with beef instead of turkey, but Prince Charming never forgot those days when a humble meal, made out of love and desperation, delighted him so much.

And so he decided to chronicle the details of the culinary adventure so that other families could also enjoy the tasty tasty goodness.

And they all lived happily ever after, forever and ever, amen.


500g turkey breast mince

400g chopped tomatoes

400g pasata

4tsp lazy garlic

2tsp garlic granules

2tbsp worcestershire Sauce

4-5 drops of tabasco

1tbsp granulated sweetener

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely chopped

250g mushrooms, finely chopped

1 chicken stock cube

1 pack of cannelloni

500g fat-free natural yogurt

2 eggs

200g half-fat cheese

1tsp ground nutmeg

This recipe should do four... I'm pleased to say that with some potato & sweet potato wedges, it served three with a little left over! I stole the béchamel substitute idea from a Slimming World lasagna recipe, but I'm pleased to say the rest I more or less knocked together myself!


1. start by softening the onions in some oil or frylight, over a moderate heat, with the lazy garlic. Then chuck in the pepper and mushrooms, too, keeping them on the move to make sure they don't catch.

2. Add the turkey mince, and break it up into small parts, to brown. It's important to get it as small as you can to make it easier to stuff the cannelloni later!

3. Pop the oven on to heat to 200ºc (or 180ºc fan assisted).

4. Add the tomatoes, pasata, stock cube, worcestershire sauce, garlic granules, tabasco, and sweetener, along with a good seasoning of salt & black pepper. Stir it all together, and keep it on a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes. You don't want it to thicken up too much.

5. Once your sauce is done, it's time to stuff the cannelloni. I find the best technique is to take the pot off the heat, and stand a tube on-end in your roasting dish. Use a teaspoon to spoon the mixture inside, and the handle of another to force it down. Make sure you get plenty of the liquid in there too, as that's more or less what's going to cook your pasta! Lay the stuffed tube down in the roasting dish.

6. Repeat the above until you've covered your roasting dish in a single layer of filled cannelloni. You may well have sauce/meat left over. I rectified this situation by eating it directly from the pot before proceeding. It seemed only right.

7. Lightly whisk the two eggs, and add the yogurt and nutmeg, stirring through thoroughly.

8. Pour the egg/yogurt mixture over the cannelloni and gently smooth out.

9. Top with the cheese, and pop it in the oven for about half an hour.

10. Serve immediately, with a nice side salad or some wedges for a carb bomb!


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Tidy Savings

Well this is certainly an interesting one!

Sainsbury's (yes, Sainsbury's!) should've won this week... but it would all hinge on the price of their Half Fat Cheese... which they don't sell! Assuming their price was the average price they would've come in at a leading £18.66 but sadly they have been disqualified, and thus miss out on their moment of glory!

Instead, Tesco take the gong with their £19.07.

Morrison should have come third, but have also been disqualified as they only sell turkey thigh mince. It would probably be very tasty, but due to the higher fat content, isn't a suitable like-for-like substitution for a healthy recipe. Assuming they did sell it at the average price, they'd have come in third at £19.71.

ASDA therefore end up second at £20.24 by far the highest price. However, that was largely down to their pack size for the turkey mince. Had they sold their packs at their current price per kilo, but in 500g packs, they'd have come in first, even a penny cheaper than Sainsbury's.

Strange times, indeed!

Tidy Tweaks

First up, my attempt at this (as you can probably tell from the pics) was a bit on the dry side. I've therefore upped the quantity of pasata a little (I originally used about 350g) and added the advice about not letting the sauce thicken up too much - I spent a lot of time letting mine thicken, as you would if making bolognaise, but hadn't really factored in the consideration of cooking the cannelloni. I think the Good Mother's oven overheats as well, which probably wouldn't help, and it had been in the oven a little too long, so those considerations should help it stay a little more moist. The other thing you could consider would be to add the left-over sauce/meat in a layer on top of the cannelloni, but I hadn't wanted it to bleed into the white sauce.

Another consideration is that I wasn't sure of the point of the egg. It baked a little and dried up the white sauce, where I'd wanted it to be more like a classic béchamel. I realise there are compromises to make when you're trying to be healthy, but I'm not convinced on this one. I'm unsure if the yogurt on its own would work. Anybody have any ideas? Again, the over-baking and over-heating won't have helped here! You could always cheat and chuck in a jar of white sauce... or make a proper béchamel... or maybe even a cheese sauce could be nice!

There's nothing to stop you using, lamb, beef, or pork instead of turkey, and could even make a vegetarian version with Quorn mince. If you're going veggie, though, I'd be more inclined to ditch the mince and use sweet potato, maybe feta, spinach, something like that.

If you can find "jumbo" cannelloni, I'd thoroughly recommend it! It's somewhat of a faff, filling the smaller tubes!

This same recipe could be used for a lasagne (with the obvious swap in pasta type & construction) or as a base for a nice bolognaise. I've wanted a fat-club spag-bol for a while, so may well give this a go. It's so easy, and tasty too!

You could also go flat-out and take away the fatclub element - using normal cheddar may help with the drying out issue, as would a normal béchamel.