- Associated Press - Thursday, January 10, 2013

If you think you have done nearly everything a cook can with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it might be time to talk turkey.

Other than the big bird at Thanksgiving and ground turkey when they are craving a virtuous burger, most people overlook turkey. Fair enough. Ground turkey can be dry and tasteless. And who has time to roast a bird (or even a massive breast) most nights of the week?

But the turkey tenderloin — a thick strip of meat cut from between the bird’s breasts — turns out to be a convenient, delicious and healthy alternative. Because the tenderloin doesn’t get much of a workout when the bird is alive, the meat is particularly tender. Like chicken breasts, it is incredibly versatile, taking well to the grill, skillet or oven, and working well with any flavor or marinade.

The tenderloins — which average from 8 ounces to 1 pound — also are agreeable to a variety of cuts. Slice them crosswise into medallions, lengthwise into tenders for breading and baking, or into chunks for stir-fry.

Because of their size, tenderloins also take well to being stuffed. Use a paring knife to cut a slit along one side into the meat without going all the way through. This creates a pocket that can be filled with a blend of ricotta cheese, egg, herbs and chopped greens.

The real benefits of turkey tenderloins are the flavor and texture. Though they resemble chicken breasts, and can be used in just about any recipe that calls from them, the flavor is more robust and the texture more tender and moist.

You also save a few calories. A 4-ounce serving of turkey tenderloin has 130 calories and 0.5 grams of fat. The same serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast has 144 calories and nearly 6 grams of fat.

CHOPPED SMOKY TURKEY BURGERS WITH MANCHEGO

Banish all notions of dried-out ground turkey burgers. This technique produces truly moist burgers. In fact, when you form the patties, they will be very moist and messy. Once they hit the grill, they hold together fine.

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

1 large egg

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon mustard powder

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

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