Monday, July 22, 2013

Skinny Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

I don't know about you all, but I have been pretty much sweating for several weeks straight. With temperatures being well over 100 degrees (most of the time pushing 110!), I have been melting like a popsicle in the Sahara Desert. Seriously. Not to mention, we decided to move into our new house (that's going to take a whole other post to tell you all about!) on the hottest weekend of the year. Go us. This girl can only take that kind of heat for so long, but at least I can't complain too much - our air conditioning works really well and hasn't given out on us yet (thank goodness!). Needless to say, when it's this hot out, the last thing I really want to do is turn on the oven. As much as I want to use our new oven and stock our freezer, I just can't do it - yet. So, when the hot weather comes like this, the best way to make a yummy dinner is in the crockpot.

I am always on the hunt for new and yummy crockpot recipes (ideas are welcome!), and recently came across one for crockpot meatballs. Sounds intriguing, doesn't it? I thought so. For a Sicilian girl, you'd think I'd have the meatball down cold, but that's not necessarily the case. I've tried several recipes over the years and either they are too big, too dry or just lacking in flavor. I'm still not quite sure how the latter occurs considering I use enough garlic to cure a family of the plague. Nevertheless, when I saw this recipe for crockpot meatballs, I had to try it. I was determine to make a fantastic meatball! To be honest, I think my lack of meatball skills was making the captain question my Sicilian heritage! Now we can't have that, now can we? No way jose.

These meatballs are a snap to throw together (you can even make them the day ahead or freeze them for when you are ready to make this fab dish!)- just mix ground turkey breast, bread crumbs, garlic and lots of it, seasonings and fresh parmi. That's it. Simple right? Now comes the fun part. Rolling the meat mixture into balls. Make sure the meat mixture is well mixed, but don't over mix. Am I confusing you now? The only reason I say don't over mix is because it will make your meatballs tough and no one likes a tough meatball. Ones the meatballs are all rolled out, place them in your crockpot with either a quick and easy homemade sauce (recipe is below and you won't believe how easy it is to make!) or your favorite tomato sauce. You can make your own or use your favorite store brand. Whatever you use, just make sure you like it. It's just like cooking with wine - use what you'd drink! Once everything is in the crockpot, go around the pot once (or twice) with a splash of red wine (totally optional!), put the lid on and in 4-6 hours you'll have some of the most tender and yummy meatballs you've ever made. They are perfect just the way they are with a little fresh parmi grated on top and a salad, in a sandwich or even with fresh homemade pasta - yes, I so went there, but don't worry, I'll show you how to make your own pasta soon! Even better these turkey meatballs ring in at 200 calories for four (yes four!) big meatballs. Now that's what I'm talking about!

the line up

everybody into the pool

meatballs rolled and ready to go (you can totally do these ahead of time!)

don't forget the bay leaf

add the meatballs!

toast up a little garlic

dinner is served!

Skinny Crockpot Turkey Meatballs  (slightly adapted from Skinny Taste)

For the meatballs (makes 24!)
20 oz (1.3 lb) ground turkey breast, lean
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmi cheese, grated
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 egg
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp salt + fresh pepper
1/2 cup red wine, optional

For the sauce (or use two jars of your favorite sauce!):

1 tsp olive oil

4 cloves garlic, smashed
28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or parsley
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and cheese. Using clean hands, mix all the ingredients and form small meatballs, about 1/8th cup each. In a small saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn.  Pour crushed tomatoes into the crock pot with bay leaf. Add garlic and oil.
Drop meatballs into the sauce, add wine (if using) cover and set crock pot to low, 4 to 6 hours. When meatballs are ready, adjust salt and pepper to taste and add fresh chopped basil or parsley. Serve with more parmi, over pasta, enjoy with French bread or even in a sandwich!
Meatballs aren't so scary anymore!

1 comment:

  1. "I think my lack of meatball skills was making the captain question my Sicilian heritage!"
    You leave me wondering too as I am fairly certain that most authentic Italian meatballs use beef. But then you are trying for a skinny version I see. There is such a thing as lean beef.  ≧々≦