Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Healthier Meatballs

As I noted in my last journal update, last week we were on vacation with Hubby’s family.  One of the best parts of our family vacations is not only eating, but eating together.  Something we don’t get to do regularly since we don’t live close to each other.  This year, the lake house we rented had a big round table in the kitchen which seated all of us, so no kiddie table needed! 
In addition, to ease the burden of meal preparation, we all plan menu items for the different days that we are there.  Since most of my meals are of the healthier variety these days, I decided that I wanted to try a new recipe out on the family:  Turkey meatballs but with a Swedish flaire – yikes, a gamble!  I worried a bit, but then decided this recipe seemed to be less of a gamble since most everyone likes meatballs…and I served it with pasta and a light gravy for an additional easy winning side.
As I set about getting all of the ingredients together, my dear sister-in-law kindly offered to help.  I later learned that she was pretty skeptical as all of the ingredients were coming together…she’s not a fan of onions and this recipe incorporates shallots.  But she was a trooper since she didn’t tell me until AFTER dinner and she said she really liked them!
These little guys came together so quickly, you can certainly have them on a weeknight – no need to wait for the weekend…you could be eating in an hour.  I had the whole day so I actually used the crockpot (see crockpot note below) but you can whip this up without one just as easily.
I absolutely loved these meatballs.  The recipe below includes a Swedish sauce/gravy, but they were very versatile, so you could add them to any of your favorite sauces like spaghetti or even serve them with BBQ sauce as an appetizer.  They will certainly be the meatballs that I'll be making from now on.  They were delicious right out of the oven.
Ingredients (serves 12 – half recipe for smaller group):
Meatballs
          2lbs lean ground turkey (99% lean is best)
          1 T olive oil
          5 cloves garlic, minced
          1 large shallots, minced
          ½ cup parsley, chopped
          1  tsp sea salt
          1  tsp fresh ground pepper
          1  tsp dried oregano
          2 T fresh basil
          ½ cup egg substitute
          ½ cup dry breadcrumbs
          ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Sauce
          3 cups beef broth
          2 cans reduced fat cream of chicken soup
          3 T Worcestershire sauce
          3 T dry red wine
          ½ cup sour cream
2 packages no yolk egg noodles

Preparation:
In small fry pan, heat oil over medium heat.  When heated, stir in shallots and garlic. 
Reduce heat to med/low and continue cooking until shallots are tender.  Splash with 1 T Worcestershire sauce and stir.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Once cooled, combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out meatballs, and place on foil lined baking sheets sprayed with non-stick spray.  Cook meatballs for about 35 minutes until cooked thoroughly.  Depending on the size of your meatballs, you may need more or less time.
Swedish sauce:  In the meantime, in a large pot or Dutch oven, add the beef broth and heat through.  Add cream of chicken soup and stir to incorporate.  Add the remaining 2 T Worcestershire sauce and red wine.  Continue to heat through until simmering. 

Add
sour cream and mix to incorporate.  Note:  This sauce is not thick, but if you choose, you can thicken it with cornstarch (1 ½ T mixed with either the beef broth or water), then adding it to the sauce during the initial stage of sauce prep.
Remove cooked meatballs, add them to the sauce and heat through for about 7 - 10 minutes.  Serve over egg noodles.
Crockpot Note:  I decided to cook the sauce in a crockpot for most of the day, which actually adds a step.  Mix the sauce ingredients (except the sour cream) in the large pot until all ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the sauce into the crockpot and add cooked meatballs.  Cook on low for 6 hours (4 hours on high) adding the sour cream 30 minutes before you are ready to serve.
Nutrition:
Serves 12 (approx. 5 meatballs each serving)

Nutrition data for meatballs alone:
Calories 171 / Carbs 5g / Fat 4g / Protein 28g / Fiber 1g / Sodium 380mg

Nutrition data for entire serving, includes meatballs, sauce and noodles
Calories 285 / Carbs 27g / Fat 4g / Protein 33g / Fiber 2g / Sodium 676mg

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