Sunday, July 21, 2013

Italian Turkey Meatballs (With a Secret!) for #SundaySupper

My mom always used to make us meatballs when I was growing up. I'm sure her recipe was relatively basic, but I'll always remember them as the best tasting things to ever grace pasta and tomato sauce. Like her meatloaf, there was coarsely grated onion, black pepper and garlic powder, and likely some sort of dried herb with the breadcrumbs and eggs. There may have been paprika. She did teach me how to make both meatballs and meatloaf as a kid, but since I haven't eaten meat in almost 10 years (and my family doesn't eat what I cook... sigh) it was a skill that kind of fell by the wayside. Even when I started cooking at my school, the time crunch factor was such that we just couldn't do scratch - not that we did spaghetti + meatballs anyways (it was meatballs and Diana sauce over rice, usually).

Italian Turkey Meatballs (With a Secret)That last week, though, with two packs of ground turkey breast in the freezer and a spare evening at home, I re-taught myself how to make meatballs... with a twist. These were basically the "miser's meatballs", since they used up a bunch of odds and ends in the pantry - including wholegrain waffles and a can of kidney beans (ah, the great protein-stretcher). The idea to use the beans came after some creative Googling landed me on the blog With a Freshness, followed by Taste.com.au's version. The breakfast waffles, left abandoned after being "too toasted" for the kids' preference as morning snack, made a fantastic binder - just like I had seen on Gluten Free Goddess. Bits and pieces of veggies, high protein gluten flour, a couple eggs and a handful of Italian-themed seasonings made up the rest of the mixture, which looked eerily like ground beef at the end even though it started life as pale ground turkey.

I scooped a few mini-meatballs onto the trays before getting the "lightning bolt" idea to give it the "piping bag" treatment instead - squeezing balls onto the sheets through the corner of a Ziploc really sped up the tedious process of making over 100 balls! By pre-baking them, I eliminated the chance of being rushed the day of using them and undercooking them by accident, and it also helped them stay together when I braised them in the homemade tomato sauce I had canned last year. In short, they were absolutely fantastic - I just wish I had reason to make them again!

Italian Turkey Meatballs (With a Secret)

This #SundaySupper is all about bringing breakfast back... to every meal of the day. A well made breakfast is a thing of beauty, so why confine it to a period of time when almost nobody is awake enough to appreciate it? I don't know about you, but I'd be a glad dinner guest at any of our group's homes tonight!

Here's what's cookin':

And of course, here's what's drinkin':

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Italian Turkey Meatballs (With a Secret!)
Makes about 110 small meatballs, serves 22 (5 meatballs each)
¼ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
4 whole grain waffles, well toasted (or 4 slices toasted bread)
¼ cup vital wheat gluten flour
1 (19-oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red pepper, chopped roughly
3 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
3 tbsp green peas, thawed if frozen
2 eggs
2 tsp onion powder
1 clove minced garlic
½ tsp fennel seed
1 tbsp salt free Italian seasoning
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
1 kg ground turkey breast
  1. In a food processor, combine the breadcrumbs, waffles and flour. Process until finely ground, then pour into a bowl.
  2. Add the beans, pepper, tomatoes, peas, eggs and seasonings to the processor (no need to clean) and process until completely pureed.
  3. Add the breadcrumb mixture and puree in.
  4. Place the ground meat in a bowl and add the food processor mixture. Combine thoroughly with a spatula.
  5. Scrape into a plastic zip-top bag and chill 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°F and line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Cut one corner off the plastic bag and pipe balls (about 1” in size) onto the sheets.
  8. Bake 20 - 25 minutes, until no longer pink inside.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 122.8
Total Fat: 4.4 g
Cholesterol: 49.0 mg
Sodium: 178.4 mg
Total Carbs: 8.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 12.7 g