Thursday, February 6, 2014

Slow Cooker Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs

Sometimes I will find a new recipe to try, make my own "creative" adjustments to it, and it does NOT turn out the way I had envisioned. That is exactly how this Slow Cooker Turkey and Zucchini Meatball recipe came to be...

I found a recipe for Cheesy Slow Cooker Meatballs by Betty Crocker. Instead of sticking to the recipe, I tried using light string cheese as the cheesy center instead of fresh mozzarella, swapped the ground beef for lean ground turkey, and added a bit of shredded zucchini to the meatball mixture. Well, it seems that Betty does know best in the case of Cheesy Slow Cooker Meatballs. My adaption of the recipe yielded a cheesy center that was not cheesy at all... it was more like a hard, unidentified, weird colored thing in the middle of my meatball.

HOWEVER.... the Slow Cooker Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs I created (aside from the weird, hard cheesy centers) were so delicious! Super moist and flavorful, these turkey meatballs were great atop some cooked Spaghetti Squash. I love being able to sneak veggies into foods... you don't even know the zucchini is there and the spaghetti squash is a great replacement for pasta! Yum.

The morale of the story... just because a dish doesn't turn out the way you expected it to, doesn't mean it's a bad dish! Look for the GOOD (and yummy) in everything. :)

Slow Cooker Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs
adapted from a recipe by
makes about 16 meatballs

1.25lb lean (93%) ground turkey
1/2 medium zucchini, shredded and drained*
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs 
3 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 jars (25 oz each) tomato pasta sauce

In large bowl, mix ground turkey, zucchini, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, basil, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and eggs.

Shape into 14 to 16 (2-inch) meatballs.

In 10- to 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs; cook just until browned on all sides.

Pour 1/2 jar of the pasta sauce into 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Carefully place browned meatballs over sauce. Pour second jar of pasta sauce over meatballs.

Cover; cook on Low heat setting 5 to 6 hours.

*  Make sure to drain the excess water and moisture from the zucchini. I shred the zucchini into a paper towel, then wring it out over the sink. You'll be amazed at how much water a zucchini can hold!

I can't wait to make these Slow Cooker Turkey and Zucchini Meatballs again!!!

So yummy.....

- Janel

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