Friday, March 26, 2010

Turkey Meatballs

There is nothing I like more than a nice plate of spaghetti and meatballs or a meatball sub topped with mozzarella cheese. These two dishes are also huge hits with my adorable kids and hubby!
Lately, I have been using ground turkey in place of Hamburger. I rarely use Hamburger in my meals anymore and my kids aren't the wiser. My hubby and I have decided that we like ground turkey more than hamburger, plus it is better for you. This recipe is one to take the plunge and try switching from ground beef to ground turkey. When cooking with ground meats, I always drain my meat after cooking it. After comparing the grease of ground hamburger and ground turkey, I would have to say that you can just tell cooking with ground turkey is better for you! Have you ever compared the difference between the two greases? Try it. I bet you would choose using ground turkey rather than hamburger after you compare the two.
I am very adamant about using turkey now and I know that my family is healthier in the long run for making the transition.
My version for meatballs uses lean ground turkey and egg whites to keep things light and comes loaded with the classic flavors or Parmesan, onion and garlic, plus a little minced carrot for added sweetness and nutrition. Instead of refined white bread crumbs, I use whole grain oats as my binder. I have learned that the trick to getting super-moist meatballs is cooking them directly in the sauce rather than baking them first. Plus, it means fewer pots and pans to clean. Who isn't in favor of that? You can Cook these meatballs in a store bought marinara sauce or make your own. When it comes time to serve, serve them with your favorite pasta or serve them on whole grain buns topped with mozzarella for an out of this world meatball Hero.

Turkey Meatballs

2 Jars of 26 oz. store bought marinara sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped or grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 c. Grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. Italian herb blend (or 2 tsp. dried basil plus 2 tsp. dried oregano)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
2 Large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 c. old fashioned or quick cooking oats

1. Prepare store bought sauce and bring to a gentle simmer in a 5 qt. saucepan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the onion, carrot, garlic, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and pepper flakes.
3. Add the ground beef, egg whites and oats. Mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well combined.
4. Shape the meat mixture into approximately 20 meatballs about 1 1/2 inch in diameter.
5. Carefully place all the meatballs in the marinara sauce. DO NOT STIR; stirring will cause the meatballs to break apart. Don't worry if some of the meatballs are not submerged in the sauce. Cover the pot an simmer gently for 20 minutes.
6. Remove the lid and gently stir the meatballs to thoroughly coat them with the sauce. Simmer, uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.
7. Pour meatballs and sauce over your favorite pasta or place on a bun for a meatball hero and top with mozzarella cheese. Enjoy!


Ashlee, The Culinary Queen


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