Healthy Crockpot Mini Turkey Meatballs.

Can we talk about a huge issue I had last night?

There was… SO… much good TV to be watched. Yes, TV. As in television. Like so much good TV on that I hated myself and wished I was laying in bed reading because my brain felt like it was going to explode from each show I was waiting for, which made me feel like I was outrageously lazy and boring and excited and such a millennial stereotype all at the same time. It was so much fun.

It also could have been arguably worse. It could have been reality TV.

It was not. I am proud.

I’ve made it no secret that Sundays really aren’t my cup of tea. I mean, I love them… but I hate them… and they’re okay. But I gotta say, my blues get totally beaten with not only good food, but good TV shows. I’ve always been a slave to HBO programming and yes, I totally want to live inside Boardwalk Empire and I’m pretty convinced it is real life and is happening somewhere in the world (sort of like how every time I’m in Jersey I expect to see Tony Soprano walking the streets or something and when I hear about diseases I wonder why they can’t be cured with an injection of V) and you just can’t compete with Homeland and things on a screen that consist of people actually acting. Like acting for real.

I mean, Homeland?

Are.You.Serious. ????

So because of all this nonsense, Sundays usually involved some sort of fun food.

Some sort of comfort food.

Some sort of food that warms you to the soul and that fills you up in the way that only Sunday night can.

Enter: meatballs.

Instead of packing these meatballs with panko (my high-maintenance bread crumb of choice), I used some leftover quinoa stuck in the fridge. Oh my fridge. Ugh. Such a disaster. A mess. Cluttered with so much food. Seriously – do NOT let me buy one more autumn-flavored fruit butter or one more block of cheese or one more tub of hummus or one more slab of bacon. I need to eat all the foods.

But so, I’m sort of in love with this idea now… the whole quinoa in meatballs thing. I know. I’ve been trendily punching you in the face each week with quinoa but I’ve done it. I’ve drank the koolaid. I’m a fan. Even more so now after how delicious these were. It’s like a whole new quinoa possibility world opened for me. How annoying.

Extra health in my meatballs? Winning.


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Healthy Crockpot Mini Turkey Quinoa Meatballs

Yield: makes 40-50 mini meatballs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6.5 hours

Ingredients:

1 pound 99% lean ground turkey breast
1 pound 94% lean ground turkey
2/3 cup cooked quinoa (preferably cooked in flavored stock)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely grated romano cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 large sweet onion, sliced into thin rounds
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine turkey, quinoa, garlic, beaten egg, olive oil, cheese, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly but quickly, just so the ingredients are combined - do not overmix! Roll into mini balls - slightly smaller than a golfball, and place on a baking sheet.

Layer sliced onion on the bottom of the crockpot and add 1 can of crushed tomatoes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (mine was actually almost high) and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add meatballs, searing on the top and bottom until golden, about 1 minute per side. To flip meatballs, gently toss with a spoon. I also shook the pan a few times to roll the meatballs around - if you pan is hot enough this works! Add meatballs one at a time to the crockpot. Repeat with remaining meatballs - it is okay to stack them once they are all finished.

Once all the meatballs are in the crockpot, add the other can of crushed tomatoes, completely submerging the meatballs. Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve!

{don't skip the browning step! it helps seal the juices in so the meatballs are tender and also keeps them from becoming one giant mess of meat in the crockpot.}
{if desired, you can brown the meatballs one day (such as the day before) and then refrigerate until ready to use. you can also freeze the same way!}

[meatballs adapted from my bite sized baked meatballs]

You don’t even want to know how many times I burnt my mouth on these.