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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Food, Recipes, & Cooking, #145

Updated on July 12, 2020
Carb Diva profile image

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

I Wonder Why?

My page views have gone up in the past few months, but I've not really paid much attention to what is getting all of that attention. Just for fun, today I took a peek. These are the titles of my "Top 10" from the past 7 days:

  1. 10 Life-Changing Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
  2. How to Use One Dozen Quail Eggs
  3. Exploring Sauces: The 10 Green Sauces of World Cuisine
  4. How to Cook Perfect Pork Chops
  5. Tiramisu: Folklore and Fun Recipes for a Fantastic Italian Dessert
  6. The 5 Mediterranean Sauces and Why You Need Them
  7. Dungeness Crab: Cook, Clean, and Create Great Recipes
  8. Tilapia With Shrimp Recipe: Another Olive Garden Copycat
  9. How to Make a Perfect Loaf of Bread
  10. Loving Leftovers: How to Use Up Stale Tortilla Chips

For the life of me, I can't detect a pattern. A penny for your thoughts.

Well with that, let's get started with today's mailbox. If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Why Is My Ground Turkey Gray?

My first question came from a neighbor.

"I know that ground turkey (or chicken) is healthier than ground beef, but I hate the way it looks. It always comes out looking gray and ugly."

The problem is that ground beef and ground poultry don't cook in the same way. Ground turkey (the one I've most experience with) exudes a lot of water. If you treat it like ground beef, mashing, and prodding with your cooking spoon to coax it into small bits, you will end up with turkey steaming in its own juices, not browning.

Here's what has worked best for me.

  • Heat your shallow saute pan/skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add a drizzle of cooking oil (olive oil is my preference).
  • Plop in your ground turkey (I don't cook more than 1 pound at a time).
  • Chop that turkey into large chunks. Use your cooking spoon/spatula/weapon of choice to move those chunks apart from each other. (Social distancing).
  • Wait. Really, I mean it. Don't continue to fuss with them or move them around. Leave them alone. First, you'll see copious amounts of water coming out. That's OK. Keep the heat at medium-high.
  • In a few minutes, you will see that the liquid is evaporating. When it is down to just a dribble in the pan, turn over those massive chunks of meat.

Bottom of the pan chunks waiting to be flipped. Top of the pan has already been tossed. (Yes, there is red bell pepper in there too).
Bottom of the pan chunks waiting to be flipped. Top of the pan has already been tossed. (Yes, there is red bell pepper in there too). | Source

You will find that the meat that was on the bottom of the pan is nicely browned. Now you can proceed to chop away with your weapon of choice to create smaller, more manageable bits for your chosen dish.

An added bonus—allowing those pan juices to almost totally evaporate creates fond, that wonderful, amazing browned stuff on the bottom of the pan that makes flavor. Just add a bit of water/broth/wine and stir.

Mashed Noodles (?)

Last week I gave Eric some suggestions on how to rescue a cooking disaster—over-seasoning, under- or over-cooking, etc. In response he said:

Such a great list of corrections. I bet I use them all in the year to come. For some reason this made me think of "mashed noodles". I mean why not? I will let you know. I am thinking mashed noodles pancakes.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pile of sticky overcooked spaghettiLeftover spaghetti frittersLeftover spaghetti frittataClassic spaghetti pie
Pile of sticky overcooked spaghetti
Pile of sticky overcooked spaghetti | Source
Leftover spaghetti fritters
Leftover spaghetti fritters | Source
Leftover spaghetti frittata
Leftover spaghetti frittata | Source
Classic spaghetti pie
Classic spaghetti pie | Source

Eric, I'm never quite sure when you're serious and when you're just messing with me. Mashed noodles. Really? Oh, the things I do for my friends.

I found several variations on the same theme, namely combining leftover spaghetti with eggs to create fritters, or a frittata, or a deep-dish spaghetti casserole-pie.

  • When I'm searching for a rare (may I say odd?) recipe, I know I can depend on Nagi to solve the problem. For example, she had on her blog a recipe for pasta fritters. I love this recipe because it's so flexible. You can use any type of pasta sauced in any way. Three cups of pasta (it needs to be cold) is mixed with eggs and fried up crispy in just minutes. Eric, if you use your imagination could these somehow kinda sorta be akin to Asian scallion pancakes?
  • Cassie admits that she's an over-achiever when it comes to cooking spaghetti; she always makes too much. There will be leftovers. And so when dinner is spaghetti, her family knows that the next morning there will always be this spaghetti frittata for breakfast. But I prefer to work outside of the box. I love breakfast for dinner (brinner?). Eric, are you with me on this?
  • This classic spaghetti pie actually begins by cooking one pound of spaghetti. This is not the use of leftovers or an after-thought. Davorka cooks spaghetti and then immediately turns it into this savory dish. Be forewarned—this makes a lot of food, but there's nothing wrong with leftovers, right? Eric, big portions for a big guy, and goodness knows that Gabe is a pre-teen with the metabolism of a hummingbird, right?

Are any of these what you had in mind?

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.

Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address:

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2020 Linda Lum


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    • manatita44 profile image


      12 months ago from london

      Our Hubpages audience is only so large, but you will also attract lots of other readers. That's probably one of the reasons.

    • manatita44 profile image


      12 months ago from london

      You should give her a mask. She'll look cute. I have some views on your top ten, but I'm called away. Re-visit again soon.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Wesman, the pork sounds WONDERFUL. Ooh, those burnt ends are the best! As for changing the title on my Q&A--I understand what you're saying, but after 145 of these things I'm not going to change. They never go to the niche site (and never will) and that's OK with me. The others (the ones I publish on Tuesdays) always go to the niche site and are the ones that get the traffic.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      12 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      You want a title to match the content of the article as exactly as possible. So for this article, I would title it "Why is My Ground Turkey Gray, and What are Mashed Noodles?"

      That's how Google wants things. Google sends you readers when your title matches your content as exactly as possible.

      Oak has a VERY distinct flavor, in my opinion. I'm at a loss for words in how to describe the flavor, other than to say I think it is more distinct than hickory, or apple, or cherry, or other common woods people smoke with.

      I'm new at this stuff, so I'm just learning. I'm using oak because I've got a ton of it just sitting right here, we purchased it as firewood, but we never wind up using the fireplace.

      I've read oak on charcoal brings the temperature of a cook way way down, so if you're looking to slow smoke something a long time, that could be helpful.

      The 7 pound pork butt yesterday, well, after about 5 hours, we ate great big slices off the sides of the thing, but the rest was still pink in the middle, and it was finished off in the oven.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Wesman, you've piqued my curiosity. I've developed a "style" or theme of sorts on my articles, which I now pretty much fall back on because I'm too darned lazy.

      That's not to say that this old gal can't still learn a trick or two. Just for fun, of those "Top 10" what would you do to jazz up the titles on any of them?

      Your dog lucks out when it comes to ground turkey but I'll bet he doesn't fare as well with the Cubano. Please tell me how it turned out. I'm especially interested in smoking over oak wood.

      Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate hearing from you.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      12 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      You're a fantastic writer with outstanding content, but your articles are not titled in a way in which I think they should be in order for you to make the most money.

      This actually makes me kind of sad. But I realize you may not need internet income much, and so I just ignore that. I'm into food these days, and you're one of the best of the best.

      Someone thinks ground turkey or chicken is healthier than ground beef? Based on what nincompoop's "science" is that?

      I eat more meat than anything else, and I'm tempted to go pure carnivore sometimes, but ew, ground turkey and ground chicken are things I really struggle to make good use of. It's usually just tasteless. I've cooked both of those things, did my best with other good ingredients, and just wound up giving the most of it to my beloved dog.

      I smoked a 7 pound pork butt over charcoal and oak yesterday, and I'm going to the store to go get Swiss cheese to go with the smoked pork and the ham I already have.

      Cubano. We're doing it.

      I've never been able to make a reasonable amount of pasta either. It's always a wow. OMG. Just look at how much of it this turned into. Well, it's a good thing I like the stuff.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Whoo hoo, I have a question! Denise I'll be glad to tackle this one next Monday. And, the penny is on its way to your PayPal account.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      12 months ago from Fresno CA

      I know with people staying home and working from home... again... they are into more homecooking than going out to eat more than before. Maybe the surge in some of your articles has to do with people cooking for themselves and encountering problems they didn't anticipate. I know there was a surge in breadmaking for a while there and yeast was hard to find. Luckily I was stocked up here at home or I'd have been out of luck. That's my thought... you can send my penny to my PayPal account... haha. To be honest I don't see any rhyme or reason for some of my articles to get more views than others either. It's the same on my YouTube account. Some get triple the views and I can't see what's different.

      As for me, I was wondering recently about vitamins. I remember when my grandmother used to swear by them and must have had 10 bottles next to her at any one time; everything from Vitamin C to all the Bs to Iron and Magnesium. I was wondering about the benefit of Vitamin C. Can't I just drink orange juice and get just as much Vitamin C that way? It is one of those vitamins that is eliminated every day and only what the body needs is used anyway, right? I haven't a lot of confidence in pills. However, I am getting older and I have to take Vitamin D every day because the dr. said I'm not getting enough sunlight and my body isn't converting what I am getting like I used to... so.



    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      12 months ago from Brazil

      I love the idea of cooking with leftover spaghetti! Next time I make spaghetti, I will cook a bit extra.

      Maybe the reason for extra views is people are looking for more inventive ways of cooking. Maybe the time spent inside has made them rethink their eating habits and encouraged them to cook at home more. Also you have the words, "how to" which people often use when they search for a tutorial. Plus you also have numbers in some of your titles which people like. Those are good SEO techniques.

      Funnily enough, you didn't list your quiche article which appears on the front page of

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      My mom used to fry leftover spaghetti, just enough to heat it and get a little crispy on the edges. Butter and milk with pasta sounds like you're on the way to alfredo--mmmm!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you, Ann. I'll have something a bit different for everyone to "chew" on tomorrow or later today.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I'm glad that your numbers are going up. You certainly get lots of comments.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      12 months ago from Central Florida

      Linda, I don't see a common thread in your top ten, either. At first I thought it may be the various sauces, since do many people are now cooking at home. And of course, macaroni and cheese are always a family favorite. But when you throw in crab, tiramisu, and tilapia - well, that's where I'm stumped.

      I never thought of making eggs, pancakes, or casseroles using left over spaghetti. I usually just reheat it with some salt, pepper, butter, and milk.That was one of our favorite ways to eat pasta when my brother, sister and I were kids.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Good morning Bill. Yes, I'll be out there shortly (how else could I be?); it's time to prune rhodies.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Pamela, Eric certainly comes up with some good questions, doesn't he?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      12 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Thanks, Flourish. You know how I love my kitties.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      12 months ago from SW England

      I must say the mashed noodles cooked up a storm of things! The idea doesn't appeal but then maybe I'm not adventurous enough.

      Your top ten articles mostly have an exotic ring to them, apart from numbers 4, 9 & 10 which refer to basic ability, so maybe people enjoy the extremes?

      Always informative, amusing and useful, Linda. This is a great series.


    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I have always had problems with ground "other" meats. Thanks for this, it makes perfect sense.

      Noodles - fantastic. I can hardly wait to try some, I will be back to you on that one.

      Hey me too on the page views - way up. Also my scores are up several digits. And also the Google search. I will never know why.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      12 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no answer for your question. HP confuses me on a daily basis. Happily I don't give much time to finding the answers to those questions, or I would have no time to write.

      Happy Monday my friend! The weather beckons us. Go forth and love nature!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      12 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Linda, I am not even interested in tasting mashed noodles, I do appreciate the instructions for turkey gravy as it is nice to know how to make it.

      Thanks for another interesting article. Happy Monday!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      12 months ago from USA

      Sometimes there is no detectable rhyme or reason to people’s interests. I’m glad you are getting the views you deserve. I like the wash your paws advice. Cute!


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