MONDAY NIGHT DINNERS 1: Turkey Kofte & Tzatziki, A.K.A Turkey Cigars

Welcome to the premier post of MONDAY NIGHT DINNERS. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually eat out on Mondays, nor am I invited to dinner parties on Mondays, and let’s face it, Monday isn’t exactly the day of creativity. For me it is the day of wondering what I am going to do to make it on the Ellen show this week.

I have no idea why, but I have made some really tasty, yet simple meals on Mondays that always surprise me. They are usually consumed in front of DVR’d episodes of No Reservations or Bizarre Foods, but they are usually darn tasty.

Every week, I will post a Monday night dinner idea so you can shop for it over the weekend and have it ready to go Monday night.

People “diss” Mondays, but it is a really important day of the week to eat well and be happy because you have 4 days left in that week to either change the world or hate your job.

Recipe Numero Uno!

Claudia’s Turkey Kofte with Tzatziki!


Turkey Kofte with Tzatziki – A.K.A Turkey Cigars

(This is my interpretation of a Kofte, not the original)
This is a healthy, easy and very tasty Monday night meal. This is a fun dish to make with kids. You may replace turkey with ground lamb and beef or pork. Go crazy. You may also spice this up with cayenne powder or fresh jalapeño. It is the natural sugars in the “juice” from the red bell pepper that causes these guys to caramelize like beef!

1 lb ground turkey
2 T olive oil for moisture as turkey contains very little fat
1/2 red bell pepper minced
1/2 cup finely minced cilantro
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoon onion minced
Sea Salt tt
Olive oil for sauteing


Mince red bell pepper, onion and garlic by hand or in a mini food prep.

Mix all ingredients together with clean hands and no rings.

Take a tablespoon sized piece, flatten into patty and cook up to taste for salt.

Make fat cigars out of the ground turkey mixture. You will flatten the cigars with a spatula once in the pan to make little surf boards.

Saute with a little olive oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes or until opaque through the middle. Flip and repeat.

Remember to wash hands with hot water and soap when playing with raw poultry or school children.

Tzatziki (Cucumber/mint yogurt sauce)

1 cup grated seeded peeled cucumber (strained or it will be soupy)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt Greek yogurt is best
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced very finely


Make sure and strain the grated cucumber either in a metallic mesh strainer or even by squeezing with your hand. If you don’t do this, you will have soupy tzatziki. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Taste for more lemon or salt. Don’t be scared of salt.

Serve over brown rice. I buy frozen organic brown rice at trader Joes that cooks up in 3 minutes in the microwave or you can make your own using this recipe. If I have to make brown rice, I make it  exactly the way I make pasta. I use way more water than I need and I taste the rice until it reaches the right consistency and then I strain. That’s just me.


Form turkey into cigars! Fun for the whole family.

Flatten cigars with spatula to a little less than a 1/4 inch thickness.

Sauté flattened cigars for 3 minutes or until brown, flip and repeat.



By |2018-10-03T11:17:00-04:00October 19th, 2011|


  1. shan October 19, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    Yum! Cant wait to try!

  2. Melanie July 18, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Looks awesome, Claudia! Hope you guys are having a great summer. Can’t believe it’s been over a year, time flies!

  3. […] Click HERE for the recipe for my delicious turkey kofte that is topped with Tzatziki. In the video, I tell you about Raita, Tzatziki’s cousin. It is the Southeast Asian version of Tzatziki. It is absolutely delicious as well. It is the perfect way to cool down a spicy curry dish. […]

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