Let’s be honest, the quest to eat clean can be challenging when you work full-time. Clean eating requires some advance planning so that you’re not forced to succumb to convenience or fast foods just to get dinner on the table. I’ve found that friends offer great support in my effort to eat unprocessed foods. They share great recipes and tips, like this one for Italian Turkey Meatballs. These meatballs can be made in large batches and then frozen in individual serving sizes. Just pull them out of the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator on the day you plan to use them.
Turkey is a wonderful lean protein, but it can sometimes be a little dry or bland. That’s not the case with these meatballs. The addition of ground fresh mushrooms helps maintain moisture during baking and the liberal use of fresh herbs and other seasonings make for tasty – and healthy — meatballs. Top them with marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella for meatball subs or add them to your favorite pasta sauce for a quick spaghetti and meatballs dinner.
This recipe was adapted from Eating Well magazine; it makes approximately 30 one-inch meatballs. But it could easily be doubled if you’re feeding a large family.
1 pound ground turkey
1 8 oz. package of fresh mushrooms (I used button mushrooms)
½ cup fine breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat crumbs from bread that was made with no preservatives.)
1 small onion
1 stalk celery
4 cloves of garlic
2 TSP dried Italian herbs
½ cup fresh chopped parsley
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 TBSP Olive Oil
½ TSP salt
½ TSP ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil or parchment paper. Finely chop the onion, mushrooms, celery and garlic in a food processor. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the vegetables, Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Cook for six minutes or so, until most of the moisture has evaporated. Let the vegetables cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the fresh parsley.
Place the ground turkey in a large bowl and add bread crumbs, cooled vegetables, chopped parsley and parmesan cheese. Mix lightly and shape into one-inch balls. Place the meatballs on the prepared pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes. I turn them once during the baking process to get them nicely browned.
Cool the meatballs on a wire rack. Once they’re completely cool, separate them into serving sizes and place in plastic freezer bags. Label them with the date. I usually try to use them within two months, although I’m sure they could keep longer.