BBQ Meatballs with Zoodles
Raise your hand if one of your New Years Resolutions was to "eat better/healthier"...... Okay. So by Google standards, about half of you have pledged to choose healthier foods this year. And for that I applaud you! My husband and I also pledged to "make healthier choices" this year whether that is food or activity. Congrats to all of us for making a goal!
Now. Let's be real here. We are GOING to slip up. We are GOING to eat that cookie. We are GOING to skip a day or two or three of working out. Instead of beating ourselves up and GIVING up, we just need to make our healthy choices count! That's where this week's recipe comes in!
One of my dearest friends introduced me to this BBQ Meatball recipe. It. Was. SO. Good. At the time, I was one to always steer clear of most meat items, especially meatballs and meatloaf. Unless it was chicken or steak, I'd say "hard pass" to meats that had been ground up and mixed with who knows what. I like to know what's going into my meat dishes, thank you very much. But she showed me the light and I ate these babies up faster than I had ever eaten before!
I altered the recipe a tad by using ground turkey instead of beef, adding a few other ingredients, and serving with zucchini noodles (or my OTHER fave faux carb dish; cauliflower mash!). The BBQ sauce is a perfect pair for the fresh crunch of the zucchini, and the cilantro and thyme add such an amazing pop! Oven baked and ridiculously easy, these can be pre made and frozen for later meals. I've made these for Christmas Eve dinners at the in-laws, for friends who needed a meal or two, and they are also really great as an appetizer! These guys are always a HIT.
I quite literally have a disposable muffin tin of these in the freezer at all times. On those days I just don't have any energy or willingness to cook something, I pull them out of the freezer right when I get home, let them thaw just a touch, then pour that DELICIOUS nectar that is Sweet Baby Ray's all over those suckers. So simple, your teen or responsible child can pop them in the oven and dinner is READY (I don't condone small children cooking alone in the kitchen! Use your best judgement and be there when they put them in the oven).
So THANK YOU, Becki, for showing me the error of my ways and making me see reason. My resolution of eating healthier would be that much harder if I didn't have this gem of a recipe in my holster.
Now. Who's up for a cookie? ;)
BBQ Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles
ADAPTED from Becki Jenkins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4, 3 meatballs each
1/4 red onion, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 18 oz bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
4 medium zucchini
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In sauce pan, sautee chopped red onion in olive oil about 5 minutes, until translucent and fragrant.
2. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey with onions, egg, cilantro, panko, salt, pepper, and thyme. Mix until well combined.
3. Spray a muffin tin (I like to use disposable for this recipe because I'm lazy and HATE washing muffin tins lol), with cooking spray. When forming the meatballs, you can either pack a regular sized ice cream scoop with the meatball mix and place it in the tins, or you can use the scoop to portion out the meat into your hands and you can mold it into balls. I prefer to do this by hand so I know the meatballs won't fall apart as they bake, but if you have an aversion to touching meat, you can use the scoop. Just make sure to pack the meat into it so it's not too loose. Place the meatballs into the tin.
4. Pour the BBQ sauce ALL OVER the meatballs in the tin. I seriously use almost the whole bottle of the sauce. Be generous and don't skimp; this is what brings that amazing caramelized flavor to the meatballs. Pop in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
5. While the meatballs are baking, chop the ends off of your washed zucchini, and spiralize into zoodles. If you don't have a spiralizer, you can also grate them, but use the largest option and grate in one full motion, allowing the whole of the zuchinni to pass along the grater, creating long strips. Place the zoodles on a paper towel and set into a strainer/colander. Lightly salt and toss the zoodles and allow to sit until you are ready to eat, at least 20 minutes. This will bring out the excess water in the zuchinni and will help avoid a soppy mess on your plate.
6. When meatballs are done baking, let sit for about 5 minutes to cool and to firm up. Plate your zoodles and serve the meatballs on top, sprinkling with chopped cilantro or a dusting of parmesan cheese (trust me, its amazing).
7. ENJOY and post with #perfectleehungry!