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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Asian Inspired Ginger Sesame Turkey Meatballs with Teriyaki Glaze

Asian Turkey Meatballs_menumusings.com
So today is the day after the Super Bowl.  Yeah.  Here's a fun fact. Did you know that "Super Bowl Sunday" is the second biggest eating day of the year following behind Thanksgiving?  Yup.  That's what they say.  That could explain why we all worked so hard to eat healthily during January, but then managed to single handedly eat half a container of guacamole with tortilla chips while cooking for the family just prior to that game.  Oh wait.  Maybe that was just me.  Well whatever the case, it's time to get back on track, my friends!  

These Asian turkey meatballs have so much going for them!  They are super simple to make, baked not fried, gluten free, low in fat and high in protein, and these tender, delicious, healthy little morsels are also kid friendly!  Do yourself a favor and make a double batch, like I did, and freeze some.  You can use any sort of sauce you prefer, but this teriyaki glaze is quick, easy, and both sweet and savory at the same time.  It's super easy to double or triple if you desire more "sauciness" for your family.  These meatballs work great as an easy appetizer or as an entree over rice with extra sauce and a green vegetable.  You know what else this is great for?  A healthy, make ahead meal prep lunch!

#baked #glutenfree #highprotein #lowfat #mealprep #cleaneating #asian #turkeymeatballs #menumusings #kidfriendly
Asian Turkey Meatballs_menumusings.com

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Ingredients: (About 5 dozen, 1/2 inch meatballs)
Meatballs -
Cook's notes.  This is a double recipe.
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (93/7)
  • 1 cup Quick oats
  • 4 green onions, chopped 
    • Green tops and most of white parts
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp ginger paste 
    • (or equivalent amount of finely minced ginger root)
  • 2 Tbsp mince garlic paste
    • (or equivalent amount of finely minced garlic)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce  
    • (use Tamari gluten free soy sauce for gluten free recipe)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil 
Asian Turkey Meatballs_menumusings.comTeriyaki Glaze -

  • 6 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
    • use GF soy sauce for gluten free recipe
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp garlic paste 
    • or equivalent amount of finely minced garlic 
  • 4 tsp ginger paste
    • or equivalent amount of finely minced ginger root
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch + 1/4 cup water 
  • *more water if needed in the end
Step-by-Step:
Combine all ingredients for the turkey meatballs in a large pan or bowl.
2 pounds ground turkey (93/7)
4 green onions chopped, green tops and most of white bottoms
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
2 Tbsp ginger paste or finely minced ginger
2 Tbsp garlic paste or finely minced garlic
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Using clean hands, mix well without "packing" too tightly or over working the mixture.

So... I don't know about anyone else, but the way I personally check seasoning on meatballs is to make a tiny little "Barbie burger."  HaHa!  Just make one small meatball and fry it in a nonstick pan.  Since these do NOT have very much natural fat in them, I sprayed the pan with cooking spray first.  
My "tester"


Yummm.  Tester is successful.  Time to move forward with meatballs.  Loving all the seasonings and herbs in there!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

I'm using a 1/2 ounce scoop to make these meatballs.  I'm placing them on parchment paper for super easy cleanup.  I LOVE parchment.  I HATE scrubbing pans.  See how that works?  The other advantages are that you don't have to add any extra fat, and the meatballs don't stick!   Also, when you're done, simple crumple up the paper and toss it in the trash!  Boom.
1/2 ounce portions
I really like to roughly portion the entire batch before "rolling" them, as I personally feel it's faster.  I also only want my hands dirty ONE time.  Why do I scoop them?  I feel it's very important to have uniform sized meatballs so that they will all have the same cooking time - especially important with this recipe since we are using poultry instead of beef.
Now that I have all the meatballs portioned out, I can actually ROLL them.  I have a little ramekin of water to keep my hands moist.  This will keep the meatballs from sticking to my hands.  Turkey is super tender.
Notice the difference between the rolled meatballs and the shaggy looking, "scooped" ones?
Now we are ready to pop them into the oven.  Cook for about 18-20 minutes on 400F.  Halfway through the cooking time, I rotated my pans top to bottom.  I'm always paranoid they won't cook evenly.  LOL.
At 18 minutes remove and check for doneness.  You can also use a digital read thermometer if you have one.  You need the internal temperature to read 165F.  There should be no more pink areas in the interior but you do NOT want to overcook them!  As I've said, these do not have a lot of fat in them, and you don't want to dry them out.  Also, you are going to put them in sauce.  So don't expect them to have a lot of color on the exterior.
Did I mention that these freeze SO GREAT?!  Allow them to cool, then date and label them and pop them into a freezer bag.  This recipe makes enough for two meals.  One prep - two meals!  :) 
So let's continue this, with frozen, yes FROZEN meatballs!  Oh my goodness, when you open that freezer bag and those Asian seasonings and herb smells come up at you!  Wow!  But I digress.  So -  this is quick!  Dump them into a pan.
We want to gently warm them, so add a little water.  Yes, straight from the faucet.  Maybe 2/3 of a cup or so.  I didn't bother to measure.  I just wanted to create a little bath for them.  It will help distribute the heat from the pan to the meatballs and then disappear.  Sort of like when you make potstickers.
Cooks note:  If you are making this all at once, you obviously don't have to freeze the meatballs first.  Just have a pan ready for as many of the baked meatballs as you'd like for your family's dinner.  They are each 1/2 ounce, so depending on your family I recommend a serving of 6 meatballs each for a 3oz portion of meat.  But you know your family best.  Some of you have grown people and teens while others have toddlers and littles.  

While those little gems are heating up, lets get this Teriyaki Glaze going.  
Combine everything listed before the cornstarch and mix well.  
6 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tsp garlic paste or finely minced garlic
4 tsp ginger paste or finely minced ginger root
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Mix sauce components together well and bring to a boil in a small/medium saucepan.  Boil for two to three minutes to reduce slightly.
Combine 1/4 cup water (4 Tbsp) and 2 Tbsp cornstarch to make a slurry.  Mix until cornstarch is dissolved.
4 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp cornstarch
Add the cornstarch slurry to the teriyaki sauce.  Stir to combine.
 Bring to a boil for another one to two minutes.  The sauce may thicken very quickly.
If the sauce is thicker than you'd prefer, feel free to "loosen" it up with the addition of more water.  Stir or whisk as you go until you get the sauce to the consistency you desire.
Add your teriyaki sauce to the warmed turkey meatballs.  Notice the water has cooked out.
Let me take this opportunity to point out that while I've been making the sauce, I've turned the meatballs so that they've browned slightly on all sides.
Now we can get those meatballs bathed in that beautiful sweet, savory, tangy sauce!  OH!  Let me warn you about something. While you are doing all this stirring and bathing... did I mention that turkey meatballs are SUPER tender?  So stir gently, please.  Otherwise, you make break them.  Yeah. 
As far as serving, you have options!  Don't we love options?!  For my family I chose to serve them over rice.  Well duhh.  But let me mention that first, you should grab some sesame seeds and green onions so that you can make it super PRETTY for your peeps!  I mean, is this not GORGEOUS?!  Add a green vegetable and you all set!
Some #lowcarb options though, would be to serve these over cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
Did I mention you could just put these out on trays with toothpicks in them (with sauce) and serve as a tray of appetizer meatballs?  That would be AMAZING!  Still... don't forget the garnish, please!
But why so many, you ask?  Because these are the BOMB.com to make for lunch!  The pretty pictures above show the meatballs on white rice.  However, as a healthier option, let's get serious for a second.  The photo below is 1/2 cup of brown rice, 6 meatballs (3oz).  Portion control!  Again, add a green veg and you are all set.  You and your friends could get together one day and have an Asian turkey meatball prep day.  Then everyone goes home with a few of these.
*This recipe will make ~ 10 of these lunches! 

Here are some bonus recipes for you! 
Grilled Zucchini Rolls_menumusings.com
Curried Chicken Salad_menumusings.com
Chicken Fajita Burrito Bowl_menumusings.com
Easy Beef Lo Mein_menumusings.com
Orzo Artichoke Pasta Salad_menumusings.com
Written Method:

Step-by-Step:
Meatballs - 
Combine all ingredients for the turkey meatballs in a large pan or bowl.  Using clean hands, mix well without "packing" too tightly or over working the mixture.   The way I personally check seasoning on meatballs is to make a tiny little "Barbie burger" and fry it in a nonstick pan.  Since these do NOT have very much natural fat in them, spray the pan with cooking spray first.  


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Use a 1/2 ounce scoop to make the meatballs.  Place them on parchment paper for super easy cleanup.  The other advantages are that you don't have to add any extra fat, and the meatballs don't stick!  Why scoop them?  It's very important to have uniform sized meatballs so that they will all have the same cooking time - especially important with this recipe since we are using poultry instead of beef.  Now that all the meatballs portioned out, you can ROLL them.  Keep a little ramekin of water to keep your hands moist.  This will keep the meatballs from sticking to your hands. 

Bake 18-20 minutes on 400F.  Halfway through the cooking time, rotate pans top to bottom.  You do NOT want to overcook them!

Teriyaki Glaze - 
Combine everything listed before the cornstarch and mix well.  Bring to a boil in a small/medium saucepan.  Boil for two to three minutes to reduce slightly.  Combine 1/4 cup water (4 Tbsp) and 2 Tbsp cornstarch to make a slurry.  Mix until cornstarch is dissolved.  Add the cornstarch slurry to the teriyaki sauce.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil for another one to two minutes.  The sauce may thicken very quickly.  If the sauce is thicker than you'd prefer, feel free to "loosen" it up with the addition of more water.  Stir or whisk as you go until you get the sauce to the consistency you desire. 

Combine -
Add your teriyaki sauce to the turkey meatballs that you have added to a large saucepan or skillet.  Now we can get those meatballs bathed in that beautiful sweet, savory, tangy sauce!  OH!  Let me warn you about something. While you are doing all this stirring and bathing... did I mention that turkey meatballs are SUPER tender?  So stir gently, please.

Serve as you please over white or brown rice, and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.  For lower carb options,  choose cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.  Add a green vegetable and you all set! 

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