a bowl of food on a plate: Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner © Provided by Real Simple Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Ground turkey can replace ground beef in all kinds of recipes, from burgers to pasta to tacos. In fact, in many recipes, it'd be hard for someone to tell which kind of meat you're using. Ground turkey is also a great base ingredient for a lot of quick and easy dinners—it cooks up quickly, so you can shave minutes off of your prep time.

Have a pound of ground turkey in your fridge? Here's everything you need to know to prepare it safely, plus five recipes to try for easy ground turkey meals.

RELATED: Following This Meat Temperature Safety Guide Is One of the Best Ways to Avoid Food Poisoning

Ground turkey vs. ground beef: What's the difference?

People tend to use ground turkey or ground beef interchangeably in recipes, and they contain similar fat and calories when you're comparing beef vs. turkey with the same fat content. (For instance, beef that's 85 percent lean/15 percent fat has 218 calories and 24 grams of protein, while comparable turkey is 219 calories and 21 grams of protein.)

a bowl of food on a plate: Get dinner done fast with ingredients you have in the fridge and these super-easy ground turkey recipes. © Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner Get dinner done fast with ingredients you have in the fridge and these super-easy ground turkey recipes.

Gallery: Dairy-Free Casseroles That Are Full of Flavor Without Any Cheese or Milk (Better Homes and Gardens)

Nutrient-wise, these ground meats are relatively similar—beef has iron, selenium, and zinc, and turkey is higher in potassium and phosphorus.

What's a safe ground turkey temperature?

You never want to serve ground turkey (or ground chicken) rare. A safe ground turkey temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USDA. You should use an instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature. Also make sure the meat is cooked completely—the ground turkey should be brown throughout, without any spots of pink.

RELATED: How to Tell if Turkey Is Done Without A Meat Thermometer

How long does ground turkey last in the fridge?

Ground turkey doesn't have a very long shelf life in the fridge—only one to two days refrigerated, or three to four months in the freezer, according to FoodSafety.gov.

Meals to Make with Ground Turkey

Turkey and Rice Meatballs

Lemony tahini dressing dresses up these ground turkey meatballs.

get the recipe a plate of food on a table: Turkey-and-Rice Meatballs Recipe © Provided by Real Simple Turkey-and-Rice Meatballs Recipe

Turkey Lasagna Rolls

This clever way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers can be made any time of year with ground turkey.

get the recipe a bowl of food on a plate: turkey-lasagna-recipe © Provided by Real Simple turkey-lasagna-recipe

Grilled Turkey-Zucchini Burgers

Adding in shredded zucchini helps keep these tasty burgers moist (and adds additional vitamins, too).

get the recipe a plate of food on a table: Grilled Turkey-Zucchini Burgers © Provided by Real Simple Grilled Turkey-Zucchini Burgers

Turkey and Bean Chili

Ground turkey helps lighten up this tasty take on chili.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ground Turkey Recipes

get the recipe a bowl of food on a plate: Turkey and Bean Chili © Provided by Real Simple Turkey and Bean Chili

Turkey Taco Salad

If you have leftover meat, this fast and easy ground turkey recipe can be on your table in just a few minutes.

get the recipe a plate of food: Turkey Taco Salad © Provided by Real Simple Turkey Taco Salad
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