Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Clean Eating Sweet and Savory Turkey Cheddar Meatballs in the Crockpot (OAMC)

Makes approx 35 meatballs
My mouth is watering right now just thinking about these. They are my personal favorite. They are so good that I want to make them and go door to door to share them with everyone in a ten mile radius, LOL :) Not only are they delicious but they combine a lean protein with a green veggie AND an orange veggie. What more could a mother want?! Plus my kids get really excited because they have raisins in them and they feel like dinner involving raisins is just the coolest thing ever. I got the idea for these meatballs from THIS totally awesome crockpot blog.

These are one of my top go-to items for a quick and easy dinner. I serve them crumbled into a bowl of brown rice and they are so moist and tender that you don’t need any type of sauce. I scoop a cup of rice from my freezer stash, plop 3 or 4 meatballs on top, microwave for a minute and a half and presto, a complete meal :)

Ingredients: (Can be doubled... which I do every time because otherwise I am immediately bummed that we've eaten half of them. I like seeing a big bag of meatballs in the freezer.)
  • 1 ½ pounds 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt OR ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • 1 ½ cups pureed broccoli *
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup raisins
*If you are making a small batch of pureed broccoli for this recipe and you are using a blender instead of a food processor (especially if your blender isn’t very good…Mom), you can add one or two egg whites to the broccoli for easier pureeing. Broccoli is sometimes hard to puree without adding liquid but adding water will make the meatball mixture very sloppy. The egg whites will make for a slightly wetter and stickier “batter” but will not negatively affect the firmness and cohesiveness of the finished meatballs. It will work best if you put the egg whites into the blender first and then add the broccoli in a little at a time, pureeing as you go.

ONE: In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mix VERY well (I use my hands… which I HATE doing but it really does do the best job).

TWO: Scoop out a level 1/8 cup and use your hands to roll it into a ball.

CROCKPOT: Place formed meatballs into your crockpot, stacking them gently on top of each other once the bottom is covered (like a bucket of golf balls). Cook on high 4-5 hours or on low 6-7 hours.

OVEN: Place formed meatballs in rows on a cooking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. (I’ve cooked a batch in the crockpot but kept just enough out for dinner and baked them in the toaster oven before. They came out great!)

Remove from the crockpot or baking tray and cool on a wire rack over a double layer of paper towels (to catch the drips). Freeze using the flash freeze method.

TIP: When cooking them in the crockpot, don’t worry that they don’t look brown at first. I promise you that they will eventually brown and you will be able to gently separate them when they’re cooked. The bottom ones will be slightly moister and mushier than the top ones but we mash them into brown rice anyway so that doesn’t bother us. If you want them firmer you can use a turkey baster to remove the juices from the bottom of the crock halfway through cooking. You may need to increase the cooking time if you do this due to heat loss from uncovering the crock.


Per serving (4 meatballs) -  236 Calories (88 Calories from Fat), 10g Total Fat, 4g Saturated Fat, 75mg Cholesterol, 348mg Sodium, 17g Total Carbohydrates, 3g Dietary Fiber, 8g Sugars, 21g Protein, 107% Vitamin A, 51% Vitamin C, 18% Calcium, 10% Iron.



  1. This recipe sounds good! I think I'm going to try it next week!

  2. Do you cook the broccoli first? Or puree it raw??