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 bettycrocker.com
makes about 16 meatballs

Ingredients:
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

Directions;
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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