Jalapeño Pepper-Jack Turkey Meatballs

Y’all know one of my favorite flavor combinations is jalapenos and bacon. Remember my Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili? It’s the stuff dreams are made of. Well, I recently had the idea to make a more main dish version of the well-known appetizer. I mean, I made the chili and it’s become one of my favorite soups/chilis ever! Plus it’s one of our most popular recipes (have you tried it yet?), so it stands to reason that I need more of this in my life. I promise you need this in your life too. Bacon, wrapped around jalapeno seasoned ground turkey, stuffed with pepper-jack cheese? Yes, please!

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When I made these and served them to my family, I asked my youngest if he liked them. He just did this move…

Brady dab

I said, “what is that?!”

“A dab, Mom. That means I like it.”

Ha! Okay, I guess that’s a good review. Clearly, if my 7-year-old thinks these are dab-worthy, they must be good! ~Erin

Ingredients:

1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey breast

3 fresh jalapenos

1 egg, beaten

½ tsp. garlic salt

½ tsp. onion powder

1 c. seasoned breadcrumbs (I used Progresso Garlic & Herb.)

8 slices center cut bacon, cut in half

3 oz. pepper jack cheese, cut into ¼ in. cubes (15 or 16 cubes)

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Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Seed & finely chop the jalapenos (remove all the seeds and ribs if you don’t want much spice – that’s where a jalapeno holds its heat).

Mix the ground turkey, chopped jalapenos, egg, garlic salt, onion powder until well combined.

Mix in the seasoned breadcrumbs until just combined. Do not overmix.

Make a patty about the size of your palm, place a cube of cheese in the center and form the turkey around it to make a ball.

Wrap the meatball in half a slice of bacon. (I find it helps to stretch the bacon a bit, lengthwise, beforehand.)

Place on a baking sheet and repeat until you’ve made about 15 or 16 bacon-wrapped meatballs.

Bake in a preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, until bacon is fully cooked and meatballs are golden brown and cooked through.

Weight Watchers info.: 2 SmartPoints per meatball, on WW Freestyle.

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Make Ahead Meatballs

If you’re a busy mom (or dad) like we all are, or someone who likes to do their food-prep ahead of time, then this is a great recipe for you. It seems like these days there are so many sporting events and meetings that if I waited until we all got home to start dinner….well, let’s just say we might as well eat in our pajamas. One of the things that I’ve found helps a lot is to pre-prep as many of our meals as I can over the weekend. This recipe is one of my favorites because it makes so many meatballs that can be used in a variety of ways. Our favorite way to eat them is with a special semi-homemade barbecue sauce (I’ll include that recipe), but I also leave some dry and freeze them to use for spaghetti or meatball subs — or any other way you’d like them!  ~Tracy

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Meatball Ingredients:

2 ½ lbs. extra lean hamburger meat

1 lb. breakfast sausage (Use turkey sausage for Weight Watchers.)

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. salt

2 c. quick cook oatmeal

2 eggs, beaten

1 c. finely chopped onion

1 12 oz. can evaporated milk

 

Meatball Instructions:

Mix all ingredients well and form into balls approximately the size of a golf ball (for recipe purposes I weighed meatballs in 1.5 oz. servings before cooking).  

Bake meatballs at 350 for approx. 50 min. or until cooked through.

 

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:

2 c. catsup

2 tsp. liquid smoke

1 tsp. garlic powder

½ c. finely chopped onion

1 c. brown sugar

½ bottled barbecue sauce (I prefer Head Country Original)

 

BBQ Sauce Instructions:  

Mix all ingredients in sauce pan and simmer on low for approx. 15 minutes to melt the sugar and blend flavors. Spoon sauce over meatballs during last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking to caramelize sauce onto meat.  

Weight Watchers Info.: Recipe makes approximately 70 meatballs (1.5 oz. each before cooking).  Using extra lean (95/5) ground beef and turkey sausage, these meatballs are 2 Freestyle SmartPoints each (not including sauce).  

 

Bacon Burger Meatballs

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Tracy’s first cookbook was the 1972 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Junior Cookbook. While this cookbook helped us all learn to love cooking some of the options were, shall we say…less than gourmet, such as the “Peppy Frank Pizza” made with cut-up hotdogs and American cheese, or the Cinnamon Twists made with canned biscuits. Nevertheless, one of our favorite recipes, Bacon Burger Meatballs, was adapted from one of these basic recipes.  

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs. 93% lean ground beef

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 T. hamburger seasoning (such as McCormick’s Grill Mates)

half sleeve saltine crackers

5 slices center cut bacon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425.

Slice each piece of bacon into four strips by cutting once lengthwise and then cutting each long strip in half.  Partially cook in microwave for approximately 2 minutes.  Set bacon aside.

Mix ground beef, egg, salt, pepper, and hamburger seasoning in large bowl.  Stir until mixture is well combined.

Crush saltine crackers and place crumbs into shallow bowl.  

Shape beef mixture into approximately 10 large meatballs.  Roll each meatball in saltine cracker crumbs coating all sides.

Wrap two slices of bacon around each meatball and place on lined baking sheet.

Bake meatballs for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked through.  

Hint: If bacon begins to become too crisp, loosely cover the top of pan with foil to avoid over-browning.  

Weight Watchers Smart Points: These meatballs are 4 SmartPoints each (even if you stuff a small cube of cheese inside)!