5.22.2014

WE EAT | Pesto Turkey Meatballs & Polenta

When Jordan and I finally sat down for dinner last night, I started to think to myself in attempt to remember the last time we had a 'real' meal like the one I'm about to share with you.  

The past month or so have been so busy for both of us, and we've been relying on quick dinners to make due and fill our bellies well enough.  By quick dinners, I mean chicken panini's, egg tacos, and cereal.  

Mostly cereal.  But we get crazy sometimes.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Turkey Meatballs & Parmesan Polenta
Meatballs
1 pound 93/7 lean ground turkey or chicken
3 links Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons 0% Greek yogurt 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
(6 oz) jar prepared sun dried tomato pesto
2 cups store-bought marinara
Polenta
1 cup quick cooking corn grits (polenta)
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)


Meatballs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a foil lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine turkey, sausage, egg, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Stir in the pesto, combining well with your hands. Mixture will be very wet. Add in breadcrumbs, more as needed to form 15 1.5-inch meatballs. Arrange formed balls on the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 30-38 minutes (I baked mine for about 35 minutes). The meatballs can be prepared to this point up to 2 days in advance.

In a large skillet warm your favorite marinara sauce. Arrange meatballs, nestling into the sauce. Cover and allow to cook on medium low until meatballs are warmed through and the sauce is bubbly- about 15 minutes.

Polenta
Bring broth or water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Add the salt, and then add the polenta in a slow stream while whisking constantly. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring with the whisk, until the polenta thickens and slow bubbles "erupt", about 5-15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the Parmesan until melted and smooth.
If you wanted to go out on a limb and make your very own pesto (it is SO easy and I do this often) Cooking Light has about a million (healthy) recipes for pesto, including a sun dried tomato HERE
I cut the meatballs into bite sized pieces and realized it was basically turkey meatloaf.. but they'll never know.  
The girls, much to my surprise, really loved the polenta.  Its sort of like oatmeal, so it was a familiar texture,  And, they are all about the sauce.
Red sauce is their jam.
Can I mention that ‘homemade’ doesn’t have to be completely intimidating.  Really, it doesn’t.  Trust this momma of 17 month old babies- I take the easy route more often than not (see the list of our regular dinner rotation above.. cereal is on the menu 3 out of 5 nights)- especially during the work week.  I prepped and baked these meatballs over the weekend while the girls napped and then reheated them in my favorite tomato sauce on the stove last night for dinner. 
While the adults are eating breakfast for every meal, these little birds have been on a 'food strike' and  living on smoothies for the past 2 weeks - until last night.  They finally finally finally ate a decent meal that didn't end in fruit and yogurt..err, basically a smoothie of the solid form.

More on smoothies next week.. because we bought a Ninja, and that itself is worth a blog post alone.
 Back to the meatballs.
Our first favorites are the Original Turkey Meatballs (HERE), but I think we've found another one we love.


This meatball (meatloaf) was a hit in our house.  When I first developed and tested this recipe the girls were just 15 weeks old (where has the time gone) and still we are loving it.  I have made it with all kinds of pesto, and mixed up the meat options from chicken to beef, and back to turkey.  All these times I have made it for Jordan and myself, I had yet to offer it to Parker and Jolie.
What took me so long?


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