Turkey-Veggie Meatballs

IMG_5329Confession time: I don’t really like ground turkey very much. Most of my experiences with it have been dry, bland, and I find it very disappointing as a substitute for ground beef in things like chili or spaghetti sauce. But, in terms of a protein option, it’s lean, relatively inexpensive and very versatile – so I’m working on turkey recipes that will change my mind about it.

This one was a definite success! Not only do the vegetables significantly improve the nutritional value of these quick and easy meatballs, but they also lend moisture and flavor to the otherwise bland poultry. Instead of a traditional filler, I added flaxseed meal to bump up the fiber and omega-3 values, and I like the little bit of nuttiness it adds. Flaxseed meal is relatively easy to find, but if you don’t have it or don’t want to spend the money on it, then feel free to sub ground oats or whole wheat breadcrumbs! You can add up to a 1/2 cup of filler if you want sturdier meatball. Another bonus with this recipe is that the measurements here do NOT have to be exact! I gave you approximate measurement sizes, but if you have a little less/more of something, they will still turn out great.

I’m obsessed with my food processor, IMG_5333so it was an easy choice when it came to making these. I just roughly chop all my veggies (I had baby carrots today, so no need to chop those!) and give them a whirl until they are finely ground. I prefer to mix the veggie mixture and meat by hand, however, because I don’t like the texture if the meat is “extra” ground in the food processor. If you want to toss it in there and just mix everything in the food processor, it won’t hurt, but your final product will turn out differently.

Now these are not the most beautiful meatballs, so if you’re planning to enter some sort of food photography competition, choose a cake or something instead. Without much filler, they don’t roll smoothly and will flatten some in the oven, and the addition of the spinach turns them slightly green. However, if you’re looking for an easy, versatile staple that you can prep quickly and then keep in your freezer for later meals, they will do the trick. Plus, once doused in a yummy, rich tomato sauce, you can’t even tell what they look like!

Turkey-Veggie Meatballs

Makes approximately 2 dozen medium-sized meatballs

Ingredients

IMG_53311.25 pounds lean ground turkey (the leaner the better)

1/2 c. onion, roughly chopped (any color)

1/2 c. carrot, roughly chopped

1/2 c. celery, roughly chopped

1 c. spinach

2 cloves of garlic, peeled.

1/4 c. flaxseed meal

1 egg

2 T. seasoning of your choice (I love this mix from The Gracious Pantry, but you can use whatever you have on hand – Italian seasonings are also great in these)

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or grease lightly with cooking spray or olive oil.

Throw vegetables into the food processor, and process until finely ground (if you are using oats for filler, process them as well until they are a similar size). In a large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients using your hands – dig in and get everything well incorporated into the meat! Scoop out the meat into generous 2 tablespoon portions, and roll into balls. Bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of meatballs reaches at least 165 degrees.

Use immediately out of the oven, or cool and then place in a plastic bag, label and store in the freezer until needed.

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Cooling and ready to freeze!

 

Enjoy!

What are your feelings on ground turkey – delicious, or disgusting?

Turkey-Veggie Meatballs

Recipe Review: Sweet Potato Banana Bites from The Lean Green Bean

Somehow, out of the three of us, I seem to be the only one in my house that likes sweet potato.

Everyone else’s feelings are more like this:

Sweet PotatoThe good news is that means more sweet potato for me. The bad news is that it also usually means I have leftovers. So when I found a delicious looking recipe for Sweet Potato Banana Bites on The Lean Green Bean (a great blog from a fellow mom and healthy eater!), I figured it would be a perfect use for the sweet potato sitting in my fridge!

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I mixed them up this morning in less than 5 minutes (while entertaining the baby! That is skill!), and popped them in the oven before the Little Man’s first nap. For the record, while sweet potato by itself causes the sad face, sweet potato + banana is apparently baby approved!

Verdict: Quick and delicious! I drizzled a few with honey and enjoyed them for a pre-workout snack. The Lean Green Bean put dark chocolate in hers, which I think would have been AMAZING, but since my challenge is working on cutting out added sugar, I went with chia seeds for some texture. I think they are better with a little bit of crunch, so mixing in chopped nuts or chia seeds is a good option. Next time I may try them with crunchy peanut butter to get the same effect! The original recipe makes 14 mini muffins, but I have a weird almost OCD thing about not using all the muffin slots, so I made smaller muffins and got 24 out of the recipe – each was a perfect two-bite treat!

IMG_5224Sweet Potato Banana Bites

Recipe from The Lean Green Bean

Makes 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

1/2 c. cooked sweet potato (approximately 1 medium sized potato)

1/2 c. banana

1/4 c. nut butter (I used almond butter)

2 eggs

Cinnamon, to taste

Optional: Chia seeds, or other mix-ins

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash sweet potato and banana together until smooth. Add in nut butter, eggs, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine. Spoon into greased mini-muffin tray, and bake – 18 minutes for 14 muffins, or 14 minutes for 24 muffins.

IMG_5223Enjoy! And check out The Lean Green Bean for more great recipes!

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Recipe Review: Sweet Potato Banana Bites from The Lean Green Bean