Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Savory Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

Hi friends!  Hope you are having a marvelous week so far.

Being that we are in the throes of 'winter' here in SoCal (and by 'winter' I mean nighttime/early morning lows in the 40s), I am always on the lookout for tasty warm-me-up meals to take away the winter chill.  Hubby bought ground turkey on sale quite a while back and it had been hogging space in our freezer. I've also been a little obsessed with our slow cooker lately, so slow cooker turkey meatballs fit the bill quite nicely.

I found this recipe in the Rival Crock Pot Slow Cooker Cuisine cookbook.  Hubby's had it for ages from someone in his family (thanks guys!) and it's been a great go-to resource for easy (and pretty tasty!) slow cooker meals.  The recipe is actually listed as "Spicy Turkey Meatballs", but I digress.  I often find recipes to have too little flavor for my taste when I add the suggested amounts of seasoning, so I always add more because I like FLAVOR.  Recipe spicy does not equal fire-in-your-mouth spicy (which I do like).  Hence, these have become "savory" meatballs because I think they have great flavor, not spice.  Okay, enough of that :)

These turkey meatballs were outstanding, really.  The slow cooker keeps the moisture in, which is crucial for turkey meat since it tends to try out if you overcook it or use a leaner cut of meat.  The orange zest and cayenne pepper add a great extra something that makes you go "hmm, what is that?".  I highly recommend these.  We served them over cooked whole wheat spaghetti and had a feast!  Dee-lish.

Here we go.  Gather up your ingredients.  I love how simple this is and we already had everything in our pantry.  Bonus points!  P.S. I highly recommend using seasoned bread crumbs for extra flavor (not spice, remember?) :)

Add your dry ingredients and herbs to your turkey.  Mix it all together until everything is combined.

Roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs.  Aren't they cute? :)

Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the meatballs until they are golden brown on all sides.  Just gotta sear those puppies, not cook 'em all the way through.

Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  I used 93% lean turkey so there wasn't much fat in them to begin with.

Place the meatballs in your slow cooker and cook for 1 hour on high.

After an hour, add a jar of pasta sauce.  Cook for 4-6 hours on Low or 2-3 hours on High.  Here's what you'll get!

Serve over cooked pasta and grate some lovely fresh Parmesan cheese over the top.  


Savory Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
Serves 4-6

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic (I used TJ's Crushed Garlic from the jar)
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. dried sage
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (I used cilantro and it was fine)
  • 1 jar (16 oz. or 24 oz. - I ended up needing 24 oz. to cover all the meatballs in the slow cooker) spaghetti sauce


  • Combine onion, garlic, ground turkey, bread crumbs, sage, egg white, orange peel, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and parsley.
  • Form into 1-inch balls and brown in skillet with 1 tbsp. oil.
  • Drain meatballs and place in slow cooker.
  • Cook on High for 1 hour, then stir in spaghetti sauce.
  • Cook on Low for 4-6 hours or on High for 2-3 hours.
  • Serve over cooked pasta and top with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ham and Chickpea Soup with Israeli Couscous

You know it's been a while when I'm still referring to post-holiday food in my fridge :)  My mom cooked a delicious ham in the oven for pre- and post-Christmas snacking, so of course she sent us home with the obligatory "feed your daughter and son-in-law the holiday leftovers so we don't have to eat them".  But hey, food is food, right? :)  Less grocery shopping for me to do!

Anyway, back to the soup.  I love soup during the winter because it's so comforting and hearty.  I love beans in soup, too, so I hunted around online for a tasty recipe that would incorporate my leftover ham and have some extra oomph to it.  Enter Taste of Home's Ham 'n' Chickpea Soup!  (BTW, I love old-fashioned spelling like that - it looks so old school and homey, don'tcha think?  Just like momma used to make :) )  Hubby's grandma even gifted me with a subscription to TOH's Healthy Cooking series for Christmas.  Their recipes are easy and delicious, and you can find pretty much everything you need already in your pantry.  Woohoo for that!

Okay, I know you're ready for the soup.  It's really easy so take a deep breath and change into your jammies first :)

Cook your Israeli couscous on the stove according to package directions.  I bought mine at Trader Joe's and I love its nutty, chewy consistency.  Think of regular couscous, but bigger and with a taste more like al dente pasta.  Yum :)

While your couscous is cooking, gather everything else together.  Easy peasy, no?  BTW...the peppermint bark does not go in the soup, if you were wondering.

Sauté your onions in your monster soup pot.

Add your ham and spices and heat everything together.

Add your broth (I substituted chicken for beef - I'm not a big beef fan).

Add your tomatoes.

Double bubble, toil and trouble...just kidding.  Well, not does have to boil first :)

Add your chickpeas and simmer it down!

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Mmm.  I love soup.

You can find the recipe here.  Feel free to substitute any kind of small pasta shape for the orzo, like I did with the Israeli couscous.  Good stuff!
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