Ground turkey is a staple in our meals in this household. I make a ground turkey dish at least once a week. This makes repetition and boredom hit quickly. Very quickly. I had taken some out last week for dinner one night and was really struggling with coming up with ideas what to do with it. I wanted to do something different but you only have so many options and I didn’t want to have to go to the grocery store for additional ingredients. Right when I was about to fall back on one of my usual recipes, my neighbor (re: my brother) brought by a package of bacon that he had and wasn’t going to use. BINGO! That’s what I needed to inspire me. I toyed with the idea of making a bacon wrapped meat loaf but that just didn’t seem like a meal for 80+ degree weather. Turkey meatballs seem to be delicious in any season especially when served with a lighter alternative to spaghetti or heavy pasta. I decided to whip up some bacon turkey meatballs with cheesy orzo and broccoli. Yum.
This is what I came up with…
1lb Lean Ground Turkey (I never use Jennie-O because it always turns a gross gray color and has a different taste it seems)
6 Large mushrooms chopped
1 Carrot chopped
1 TBL Minced Garlic
1/2 Medium onion chopped
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/4 Cup CousCous
1/4 Cup Shredded parmesan cheese
2 TBL Parsley chopped
6 Pieces of bacon chopped (Turkey bacon is fine but will yield a slightly different taste)
1 Large egg
Salt & Pepper
Normally I would hand chop all of my veggies & herbs but this time I decided to use my mini-chop so that everything was uniform & nice and small for the meatballs.
Add in the remainder of the ingredients (NOT the bacon) into the bowl of chopped veggies & herbs and mix well.
Fry the bacon until crispy. If you have time I’d recommend baking the bacon so that it is less greasy but that takes a bit more time. Pat the bacon dry with paper towels and then chop them all up; use your knife skills or throw them in your mini chopper! I used 6 pieces because I wanted to keep these relatively healthy. You can definitely add more and get a more abundant bacon flavor.
Fold the bacon into the mixture. Try and get bacon throughout the bowl so that you’ll have a few pieces in each meatball. I used a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and formed balls and put them on a slightly greased baking pan. I baked them at 400 for 30 minutes.
The liquid from the veggies comes out a bit as seen above. No biggie, just discard it was your take the meatballs off the pan.
These were really yummy. I think they definitely could have had more bacon and/or bigger chunks of it! But you can taste the little amount that is in each one very subtly. I’d probably add more when I know that my 15-month old won’t be eating them for dinner, too! ha. But, she did very enthusiastically enjoy and approve the one she had!
Tip of the day: When making a meatloaf, a few mini meatloaf, or meatballs I always use whole wheat pearl couscous instead of breadcrumbs. Sometimes I even use quinoa. They are both great alternatives because it seems to make them lighter, fluffier, and moister than the breadcrumbs. This is the couscous that I use: