Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tangy Turkey Meatballs

I had the kind of week that proves The Universe has a sense of humor.

I knew something had to be coming because last Friday was almost too good. And you can't sit at a peak-of-life forever.

I've been working on a project that has the potential to change the course of my career. It's my baby. I carried the idea inside me for months and struggled through a long and painful labor to get it into the world. And now that it's here and has had time to mature, it's exceeding my expectations, and I couldn't me more proud.

But back to Friday.

Last Friday, I left work drunk-with-joy over Baby achieving its next major milestone (we're way past first steps now, more like taking the training wheels off Baby's bicycle). I transitioned quickly from work to play and met a few of my #1 Loves from grad school at a concert. Shortly after arriving, I added drunk-with-alcohol to my joy and carried my bliss through the night. The concert was great. The company was as-always-amazing. And the night ended unexpectedly late after an over-the-top good time.

See what I mean? Peak-of-life.

Then. This week. I was knocked out hard by an allergic reaction. I've cried to you before about my weird list of allergies and annoyingly sensitive skin. But this time was bad! Emergency-appointment-at-the-dermatologist-skin-biopsy-two-stitches-blood-work bad. Thankfully my dermatologist is Grade A and she hooked me up with some aggressive medicine. And double-thankfully it was just an allergic reaction and not something much more serious (that blood work was well worth the lab fees!).

But it still took me all week to get myself under control. And it's not like I could hang out at home and suffer in peace. That basement cubicle isn't going to sit in itself!

And that is where The Universe and its devilish sense of humor comes in... Last week, Baby started doing even better than great: popping wheelies and riding with no hands (wearing a helmet, of course). I'm starting to gain the respect of people I thought would forever see me as That Little Girl. And a few long-suffering science projects are proving they were worth the effort. Basically, all the work is still working at work. And not only is it working, it's thriving and changing (my little) world.

I see what you did there, Universe. Thanks for keeping me humble!

There's no easy way to transition into describing this recipe. So I'll just plough forward. Turkey and sweet potatoes were a special request by TDH for this week's lunches. And because I think turkey tastes best when it tastes like Thanksgiving, I thought this would be a delicious twist. As always, I was right (that humility didn't last long, did it?). Enjoy!

Tangy Turkey Meatballs

I also served them with green beans, to get a little bit more nutrition into our lunch boxes.


2 lb ground turkey
2 eggs
3 celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon herbs de provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper


Place a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and diced onion and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté veggies over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they become soft and start to brown. Add garlic and continue sautéing until everything is caramelized (and your whole house smells amazing).

Meanwhile, run a knife through the dried cranberries to break them into about 25%-size pieces (this will help more evenly distribute the tang throughout the meatballs).

Once the veggies are caramelized, add the cranberries and herbs de provence and mix until fully combined. Remove from heat and let cool so you don't scald yourself in the next step.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, eggs, and cooled veggie mixture. Roll mixture into evenly-sized meatballs.* My rule of thumb is to take the amount of meat I can fit balled between my two hands and quarter it. Then roll that quartered amount into a ball and place it in the baking dish (does that make any sense? If not, just go with your gut). 

Bake meatballs at 400 degrees until fully cooked. Mine took about 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

*Note: This also would be delicious as a meatloaf if you're too lazy to roll it into meatballs.