Saturday, January 11, 2014

Apple Glazed Turkey Meatballs and Roasted Buttercup Squash

I think I have a new obsession. I want to buy every variation of squash, bake it, and taste the difference in them all. Yesterday I was looking for a side vegetable to go with tonight's Apple Glazed Turkey Meatballs (original recipe found at OAMM) and I spotted the squash in my grocery store. I already had picked up some butternut squash for a lunch recipe, so I thought I would go with acorn squash since we have tried it and liked it. While I was looking at them I saw a different squash, the buttercup squash. It's similar in size to the acorn squash but is a slightly different shape. I picked up two because that's plenty for us for one meal.

I washed the outside of the squash down, preheated my oven to 350 and got a pan out. I sliced the squash in half and removed the seeds and flesh. I placed them cut-side down on the pan and let them roast for 40 minutes. Which was the perfect amount of time for me to prepare the rest of dinner.

The apple glazed turkey meatballs were extremely easy to prepare. 20 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook the meatballs. In a bowl I mixed ground turkey, diced apple, 2 cloves of minced garlic, applesauce, sliced green onions, almond flour/meal, sea salt and cinnamon. I used Himalayan sea salt because I'm still in love with the flavor of it.

Now, when I say mix it up, you can't just stick a big spoon in there. No, no, no. Time to get your hands dirty. Ground turkey sticks to everything like there is no tomorrow. It's seriously icky to work with. But if you don't get your hands in there and really work the ingredients in, you'll end up with cinnamon and salt patches that didn't incorporate into the turkey well. You don't want to bite into that.

Time for my PC love. Break out you medium Pampered Chef scoop and form that mess of turkey into meatballs. With the medium scoop I made 20 meatballs out of this recipe. Pop that in a preheated 400 oven and it's time to start the glaze.

Yes, I did say 400. I happen to have a double oven, so I can cook the meatballs at 400 and have the squash at 350. You could split the difference and go for 375 and up the cooking time on both.

In a large skillet (I used my BIG cast iron, but it was a little too big) combine apple juice, ginger (which I forgot but this still tasted great), more applesauce, arrowroot powder, more sea salt and cinnamon, and coconut aminos -- or in my case soy sauce. Yes, I know I ruined the Paleo dinner for us tonight because soy sauce is a no-no on Paleo, but hey, it's either soy sauce or coconut aminos. Little cheat or die of anaphylaxis. hmm... I think I'll cheat.

This is really liquidy when you pour it into the pan, and it's supposed to be a glaze. I whisked it up to break up the arrowroot powder and walked away for a moment to put away the soy sauce and applesauce, came back and it was thick and boiling. That quick it had thickened up. Turn the heat down and let it slowly boil. When the meatballs are finished pop them in the skillet and coat them with the glaze. Serve immediately.

Verdict: The meatballs and glaze were delicious. There were no leftovers. This was an easy meal to throw together and bake. Will definitely make them again. As for the buttercup squash, it was ok. It was more on the savory side rather than the sweeter butternut squash or acorn squash. I think if we had used them as a bowl putting the meatballs with the glaze in them, the squash would have soaked up some of the glaze and made it sweeter. I found a couple of recipes for buttercup squash and they all said to roast like I did, but then cook for 10 minutes more with butter and brown sugar in them. Well, that's not exactly Paleo, so I just wanted to try the full flavor of the squash. I'll do some more research on buttercup squash recipes and maybe I can find something to really utilize the flavor. If you've got one, please share it!

Makes 20 Meatballs

1 pound ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP applesauce
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
1/3 cup almond flour/meal
1/3 cup apple, peeled and minced (1/2 a medium apple)
1 tsp sea salt (you’re choice of type, I used Himalayan)
2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup apple juice
½ cup coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated (I omitted this and it was fine)
1 TBSP applesauce
1 ½ TBSP arrowroot powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400. In large bowl combine all meatball ingredients and mix well.
2. Using medium Pampered Chef scoop, form into 20 meatballs. Place on pan and bake for 20 minutes.
3. In large skillet, combine all glaze ingredients. Cook over medium heat.
4. Whisk well until the glaze suddenly thickens up and turn down very low. Let slowly boil and keep warm until meatballs are done cooking.
5. Drop meatballs in glaze and roll to coat. Serve immediately.

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