Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cheesy Turkey Meatballs with Lemon Basil Quinoa

(This is from a couple Saturdays ago! I've been so backed up on posting my recipes...)
Wow, I loved this dinner! It tasted so... comforting ? but it really was simple and healthy! Perfect for my Saturday night dinner & a movie! I saw a commercial last week for a restaurant offering meatballs filled with cheese (maybe Olive Garden?) and thought, hmm...that sounds fantastic! How can I make it without feeling gluttonous? So I added just enough cheese to give me that "mmm" factor, used ground turkey breast to cut down on fat and added some whole grains into the mix for my fiber! The result was pretty darn good if I do say so myself :)

Also, I've NEVER made quinoa...shocker?? I've been reading so much about how it is this super grain and have even gone so far to recommend it to patients but have not even eaten it myself so I thought it was about time and I am so glad I did! It really reminded me of couscous and I may even enjoy it a little more since it's a bit heartier. It is loaded with fiber, protein and iron and is also gluten free for those of you who can't tolerate wheat/gluten! I added a bit of lemon and basil to add some brightness to go with my meatballs and loved the combo :)


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey, white breast meat 
  • 1tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2tsp kosher salt
  • 1tsp dried onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • Mini fresh mozzarella balls, about 6-8 sliced in half (maybe called bocconcini? a little bigger than cherry tomatoes)
Mix all ingredients together until well combined, except for the mozzarella. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a cookie sheet well with nonstick cooking spray. I also sprayed my hands a bit to help roll the meat into balls without it sticking too bad. Roll the turkey mixture into golf ball size bits and then flatten out like in the picture below. Place a mozzarella half into turkey round and enclose mozzarella with turkey mix and roll in hands to form a meatball. This should make 12-14 meatballs. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • ~1 cup water
  • 2T fresh chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine juice of 1/2 lemon with enough water to equal 1 cup total liquid. Add to a 1qt pot with 1/2 cup quinoa and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and cook about 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool approximately 5 minutes. Uncover and add juice of the other half of lemon, salt, pepper and chopped basil and fluff/mix until combined. Serve! The quinoa makes about 2 servings. 

Total dinner of 1/2 cup quinoa, 3 meatballs and some roasted zucchini is about 325 calories total and 30gm protein.

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