Mini-Meals: Turkey Meatballs Recipe

By Lanie Towsley

Baby Chick® Contributor

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Lanie Towsley is a wife, mother to her two boys, and has a huge passion for maternal health, nutrition, and fitness.

For those of you that read my recipe about sneaking veggies into toddler food, you’ll recognize the use of a mini-muffin tin. I seriously love the muffin-tin, easy to cook with and then so easy to CLEAN! Anything I can quick rinse off and throw in the dishwasher gets a BIG thumbs up in my book. I also love that anything you make using this method is the perfect toddler-bite size; equally as great for a snack as for a meal when served with something else. (Also great as a mid-day snack for me!)

So, meatballs. Both the boys in my house are a big fan whenever I put these on the weekly meal plan, mostly because there is so much variation in how you can prepare them! Feeling Italian? Throw in some Rosemary and Thyme. (and garlic.) In the mood for Chinese? Ginger, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Green Onion. (and garlic.) A little south of the Texas border, perhaps? Cumin, lime, Paprika. (and garlic.) You can make these as plain or as flavorful as you want and sometimes it’s fun to just experiment with different flavor profiles and types of meat. (We also love a version of nut-free, gluten-free, vegan “meat”balls that I’ll share soon!) Also, these are a very quick and EASY gluten-free item to prepare which is great for our activity-packed days and GF (gluten free) lifestyle! (Both Fischer and myself have Celiac disease.)

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Honestly, the hardest part of making any meatball recipe is the prep work. I like to get it done and over with when Fischer is eating breakfast or a snack so that he’s at the counter watching me cut up all the different ingredients. As I’m cutting each veggie or measuring out each spice, I tell him what it is. Sometimes he’ll repeat it and sometimes he won’t. (Right now everything is “apple”.) And then we like to taste. It’s really multi-tasking at its best! Lastly, and mommas you’ll love this part, meatballs are so easy to “sneak” healthy foods into!

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For this particular meal I was trying to use up things that we had in the fridge and pantry. Before I go grocery shopping, I always make inventory of what we already have then work the meal plan around that and pick up whatever else I need. We try our best to not let anything go to waste, whether it’s from our own garden of exploding pepper plants and herbs or from the store. This is what I found I could use without having to make a trip anywhere… (I should note that Houston was under flash-flood warnings so I didn’t particularly WANT to venture out.)

Ingredients in the pantry/fridge:

  • Organic Green Bell Pepper (1 cup)
  • Elephant Garlic
  • Shallot (1/4 cup)
  • Organic “Power” Greens: Chard, Kale, Spinach, Mizuna (1 cup)
  • Organic Turkey meat (1 lb)
  • Ketchup (2 tbsp)

Staples:

  • Paprika (1 tsp)
  • Fresh Rosemary (1 tbsp)
  • Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast (1 tbsp)
  • Sea Salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Italian Herbs (1 tsp)
  • Canola oil (I use a spray bottle so that I don’t waste much)

Yield: 24 mini-meatballs           Prep time: 20 minutes              Cook Time: 30 minutes

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Directions:

  1. Set oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Chop up bell pepper, greens, shallot, and garlic. I tend to chop them up very fine so I can pack a lot of each.
  3. Measure out spices and nutritional yeast into a small bowl or cup for easy combining. (Note: you can add more or less of each spice, it’s all to taste!)
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the turkey meat, veggies, and spices and mix well. Once mixed, add in the ketchup and mix again.
  5. Scoop mixture into the pre-greased (using the Canola oil) muffin tin. I tend to just use my hands for this but you could also use a tablespoon.
  6. Cook in oven for 30 minutes.

TIPS: These are great to freeze and keep for longer than the few days they last in the fridge. Other types of meat work just as well, we’ve liked variations with chicken or buffalo.

Oh. And can you tell we love garlic?

What meals do you make for your littles that are quick and easy favorites? Comment below with some of your own recipes or how you varied mine!

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x.o.

Lanie

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