We are far enough out from Thanksgiving to be able to think about turkey and dressing without groaning. Plus we are still close enough to January to still be marginally thinking about fat intake/calorie consumption. If you are glancing back up at the picture and are thinking about that creamy gravy, read on without passing judgement just yet.
I got a bee in my bonnet last week when I went shopping at Costco and bought some things that I don’t normally buy, such as ground turkey. I know that a lot of people use ground turkey frequently, but I have generally shied away from it because of a seeming lack of flavor.
A few days ago as I stood staring at the six pounds of ground turkey awaiting my attention I started getting nervous. Afterall, I had made a commitment to use it and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. I got as far as thinking about meatballs and then stalled out. I’m used to working with beef and pork for various types of meatballs, but turkey was new waters for me. I opened my spice cabinet and stared at the array of spices for a while. (I did lots of staring that day.) Finally, those voices in my head that are usually babbling incessant streams of non-sense started saying things like, “finely chop an onion…now finely mince some garlic…add some poultry seasoning…”. Holy cow, those voices were actually making sense. I LOVE it when they get their act together. Woohoo!
As a somewhat ironic, nearly comedic side-note, I looked up from my turkey meatballs and watched my backdoor neighbor’s turkeys and chickens marching around in their several acre pasture. Do turkeys have pastures? Is that what you call it? Anyway, the tom turkey was strutting his stuff–tail and wing feathers splayed wide. He does that frequently. All of the hens, both turkeys and chickens, ignored him and went right on with their idle pecking for whatever it is free range chickens and turkeys peck. I looked down at the bowl of ground turkey with which I was working and thought that most likely the ridiculous tom strutting out back would taste much better than the random store-bought turkey hanging out in my mixing bowl. The voices in my head agreed with me.
These meatballs are seasoned with poultry seasoning and smoked paprika, plus a few other standard seasonings. They were so flavorful that my husband thought he was eating beef or pork. They are reminiscent of Thanksgiving and are great served over dressing. To make things super easy I used a poultry flavored dressing/stuffing mix.
Don’t let the creamy looking gravy fool you–it’s actually much lower in calories than you may think because it uses cream cheese instead of cream to give it that luxurious taste and feel. And guess what–you can use low fat or fat free cream cheese. Additionally, if you use a dressing or stuffing mix, leave out the butter and just make the stuffing with the directed amount of liquid. One more thing (I’m not finished yet), the meatballs are baked, not fried. So, as you can see, this is actually a surprisingly low fat meal. Ta-da!
Turkey Meatballs With Dressing
Recipe by Terri @ that’s some good cookin’
Makes 24 meatballs.
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 onion, finely minced (I used a food processor)
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup soft, fresh breadcrumbs (I processed two pieces of bread in my food processor to make the breadcrumbs.)
- 1 box poultry flavored dressing or stuffing mix, prepared according to package directions, minus the butter. (I used Stove Top brand.)
For the Gravy
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 4 ounces (weight) cream cheese (light or fat-free may be used), softened
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- sprinkle of pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs until well blended.
- Shape the turkey mixture into 24 meatballs and place, spaced evenly, on the baking sheet. Put in oven and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until cooked through.
- While the meatballs are baking, prepare the gravy.
- In a large sauce pot, whisk together the chicken stock and the corn starch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium low.
- Cut the softened cream cheese into chunks and whisk or stir it well in the broth to break up the cream cheese. There may be tiny lumps of cream cheese. Don’t worry about it. Add the poultry seasoning, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Bring back to a simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Remove the turkey meatballs from the baking pan and put them in the gravy. Stir to coat. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir as needed.
- Serve meatballs over dressing.