ground turkey

Turkey-Spinach Meatballs

Two of the most common misperceptions (excuses, maybe?) of everyday healthy cooking is that it takes too much time, and it costs too much. (That, or if it is good for you it tastes like crap.)

These meatballs prove that doesn’t have to be the case. Three servings of vegetables, plus lean protein, from kitchen to table in about 30 minutes.

image

First, the time. I try to cook or prep as much food as I can over the weekend. I am really good at coming up with excuses during the week, and I’m especially likely to talk myself out of cooking something that takes more than 30 minutes. My timesavers for this recipe: I roasted and shredded a spaghetti squash Sunday, and I bought  jarred spaghetti sauce. I like homemade sauce, but this saved a lot of time for not a lot of money.

Second, the cost. Here’s a breakout of what I spent (realizing that prices vary by market and brand, and season).

Ground turkey: $4.29
Frozen spinach: $.59 (1/2 box)
Egg: $.16
Onion: $.13 (1/4 of an onion)
Parmesan: $.47
Breadcrumbs $.40
Spaghetti squash: $1.99
Jarred spaghetti sauce: $2.00 (on sale)
Total: $10.03
Cost per serving: $2.52

If you’re looking to cook healthier without breaking the bank, make friends with the frozen food aisle — specifically, frozen vegetables. It’s not unusual to find any number of vegetable varieties on sale for $1 per bag. Unlike canned vegetables, frozen retain their nutritional value. A small amount of cheese adds flavor, as do inexpensive dried seasonings.

Turkey-Spinach Meatballs
Adapted from Bob Appetit

1 1/4 lb lean ground turkey
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 oz. frozen spinach,  thawed and well-drained (1/2 of a 10 oz. box)
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Coat a broiling pan or a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Adjust oven rack to the top one-third.

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl. Shape into 12-15 meatballs and arrange on broiling pan. Brush with olive oil. Broil 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

Serve meatballs with spaghetti squash and marinara sauce. Top with additional cheese if desired.

Advertisements

Turkey Meatloaf Cups

20140810_191849

Meatloaf: the ugly workhorse of the comfort food family. It certainly doesn’t look beautiful, but it gets the job done.

Meatloaf freezes fairly well, but if you freeze all the slices together, it’s not very convenient to remove a single serving later. I adapted my regular meatloaf recipe slightly to make individual servings in meatloaf cups, which I can then reheat as many as I want at a time. Use ground turkey or beef that’s higher in fat content, or it can get really dry.

They’re not going to look beautiful coming out of the oven, but I promise, you’ll like them.

20140810_180721

Turkey Meatloaf Cups

Serves 6

1/2 medium yellow onion,  diced
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef stock (or more)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 pounds ground turkey (80-85% lean) (or substitute ground beef)
2/3 cup dry breadcrumbs (or more)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray 12 muffin cups.

In a small saute pan, cook onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme over medium-low heat until translucent, about 12-15 minutes. Add Worcestershire, stock, and tomato paste. Mix well. Let cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine meat, bread crumbs, eggs and onion. Mix well. Add more broth or breadcrumbs as needed. Divide into 12 portions and place in muffin tins. Top with ketchup (1-2 teaspoons per meatloaf cup, or as desired).

Place muffin tin on a large baking sheet and put in the center of the oven. Bake until internal temperature reads 160 degrees, about 40 minutes.

Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from tins. Serve with additional ketchup, if desired.