Turkey cutlets are incredibly lean, tender and quick to prepare. Whether you're in the mood to fire up the grill or need something that cooks fast on your stovetop, turkey cutlets are the way to go. Their mild flavor pairs seamlessly with salads, pastas or any type of vegetable you're craving for dinner.
Grill or Broiler
Turkey cutlets are very thin pieces of meat that cook quickly on the grill or in the broiler. Before exposing the tender cuts to extreme heat, place them between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound the thicker sides down with a meat tenderizer or a heavy skillet. This step isn't necessary if the cutlets are relatively even in thickness. Whisk up a marinade with mustard, brown sugar, olive oil, cider vinegar, salt and black pepper -- or purchase a premade poultry marinade. Allow the flattened cutlets to soak in the marinade for at least an hour in your refrigerator before cooking. Fire up the grill or preheat the broiler when you're ready. Cook the marinated turkey cutlets for just a couple minutes on each side, until they're at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking turkey cutlets on the stove is quick and requires minimal prep work. Season some all-purpose flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder or other flavors. Heat a pan on medium-high heat and pour in a small amount of cooking oil. While the pan heats up, pat-dry the turkey cutlets with a paper towel. Coat them with the seasoned flour, covering both sides thoroughly. Gently lay the coated cutlets in the hot pan, putting the edge closest to you down first. This way any oil splatters away from you. Allow each cutlet to brown on both sides until fully cooked at 165 degrees F. Serve them with mashed potatoes, over pasta or with a simple side of steamed veggies.
Bake seasoned cutlets on a cookie sheet in the oven, rather than pan-frying them on the stove. This frees up your hands so you can prepare other components of your meal while they cook. Another option is to bake turkey roulades. Pound the cutlets until they are completely flat and thin. Pile spinach, minced garlic, diced onion, dried cranberries or other toppings on one side of each flattened cutlet. Roll each one tight, starting with the side that has all the ingredients. If they're falling apart, use cooking twine to tie up each roulade. Bake the roulades in the oven until they reach 165 degrees F.
Serve turkey cutlets as an alternative for chicken nuggets. Get some oil heated up on the stove -- or in your fryer -- and line up three medium-sized bowls. Place flour seasoned with salt and pepper in the first bowl. Break and whisk a couple of eggs in the middle bowl. Add bread crumbs seasoned with grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in the last bowl. Pat dry the turkey cutlets and cut them into strips or cubes. Dip each piece in the flour, the egg wash and then in the bread crumbs. Set each piece aside until you've coated all of the turkey. Slowly place nuggets in the hot oil. Allow them to cook until they are golden brown and reach a temperature of 165 degrees F. As a lighter alternative, bake coated nuggets on a hot cookie sheet in the oven.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.