With 2018 in full swing many of us (myself included) are back in the swings of healthier eating habits. Meals like the one-pot saucy turkey meatballs at the end of this post are a great way to please the whole family all while feeling good. I suggest doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing for the next time.
When it comes to making better choices regarding the food we feed ourselves and our families it’s often as easy as switching out a meat protein in a favourite recipe for a nutritious powerhouse like turkey. No longer is turkey reserved for special occasions where the bird is roasted to perfection, it’s time to let Canadian turkey be the star of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Going Back to Basics
When I think of comfort food my thoughts usually go to meals my grandma and mom used to make me as a child. They would spend the day in the kitchen cooking these delicious meals from scratch and we would feast as a family on the fruits of their labour. Certain smells can take me back to my childhood in a ‘sniff’. I want my kids to get the same good feelings from their favourite food but I am also trying to make sure that fave food is not the smell of the box of pizza delivery opening.
Starting from the basics I need to make sure I have a fully stocked pantry of staples like beans, tomatoes, lentils, olives, and brown rice. I’ve always been intimidated to cook brown rice so never reached for the bag at the grocers but we recently took the plunge and if cooked in the pressure cooker, it is even lighter and fluffier then white rice—in only 7 minutes.
If you want to incorporate more healthy meals a great way to start is to go back to basics and start cooking from scratch more often. I know this task seems daunting especially when we have become so used to the convenience of premade food but cooking from scratch means you can control the amount of salt, fat and nutrients you and your family consume.
Another great tip is filling the fridge with fruits and veggies that have ‘lasting power’, like carrots, cabbage, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, squash, oranges and apples. Buy spices and herbs to have on hand that you can mix together to create different flavours and marinades. Invest in good quality oils and vinegars that work double time by being good for you and that also make great dressings. And keep your freezer stocked with pre-cooked turkey that is ready whenever you need a protein boost for your favourite dishes like salads, soups, casseroles, and pasta.
5 Reasons to Reach for Turkey
Turkey is a whole, nutrient-rich food (meaning it has a lot of nutrients per calorie) that fits into an overall high-quality diet that’s good for you without compromising on flavour or taste! Swap turkey for any protein in all of your favourite recipes and instantly make a leaner, healthier choice! Here’s why you can feel great adding turkey to all your meals and snacks:
1. Canadian turkey is a lean source of high quality, protein. Eating enough protein at each meal can help you maintain a healthy weight, and provide you with a good source of energy.
2. White meat is a low fat, extra-lean choice with just 3 grams of fat per 100-gram serving.
3. Dark meat is lean too, with just 8 grams of fat per 100-gram serving. Plus, dark meat gives you an even bigger boost of selenium, an important heart-healthy antioxidant mineral.
4. Most of the fat in turkey is monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. In fact, almost half the fat in turkey is monounsaturated – that’s the same type of fat found in heart-healthy olive oil!
5. All fresh cuts of turkey are naturally low in sodium. And because turkey is super tasty, you don’t need salty marinades to make it taste good.
Looking for additional tips, recipes, videos and HOW-TOs? Visit canadianturkey.ca for all your healthy cooking inspiration. The recipe section is packed with a wide variety of amazing recipes for full meals, appetizers and snacks. You can also find a gold mine of ideas for your leftovers and make-ahead meals. There’s nothing better than making some delectable dishes for the remainder of the week or stashing some pre-made meals in the freezer for another busy weeknight.
One-Pot Saucy Turkey Meatballs
These meatballs can be portioned out and frozen for a quick weeknight meal or lunch. Serve over rice, pasta, zucchini noodles or on their own with a hearty salad.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 1 ½ lbs ground Canadian turkey
- 1 large Canadian turkey sausage (1/3 lbs), removed from casing
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped or grated onion
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Pour milk into breadcrumbs and let soak until fully absorbed, 2-3 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook onions until translucent and cooked through but not browned, 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Combine all ingredients in a large-size mixing bowl. Do not overwork to keep the meatballs light and fluffy.
- Use a standard size ice cream scoop to evenly portion out meatball mixture into a large size oven-proof skillet or frying pan. Use the palms of your hands to roll into balls.
- Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven.
- Add tomato sauce to meatballs and gently simmer over low heat for 20 – 30 minutes.
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