On Turkey Greek Meatballs

Do you know what I think has been one of the best things to come out of quarantine and COVID? The fact that I have had the incredible opportunity to work remotely and spend WAY more time with my family in Buffalo at the same time (since my mom is busy doing her own things,  my dad is also working remotely, and my brother is schooling remotely, so we can all work in the same household without overstepping one another). In fact, when this post comes out, Frankie & I will have been in Buffalo for about 2 weeks now, with plans to stay right through until just about Thanksgiving, where we will head back West to spend said holiday with Frankie’s family out in Nebraska! But in all honesty, having lived outside of my familial home since I was 18, it’s been really amazing to now be spending MORE serious quality time in Buffalo with my parents, my brother (a junior in high school) and take a drive down to Penn State to visit with my older little brother (a freshman at the aforementioned establishment), which I haven’t been able to do since…well…college, and I’m coming up on ten years now! So while the rest of quarantine and COVID hasn’t really been all that great, this…this has been AWESOME!!!

And when you’re in a house with a lot of people, you need quick and easy recipes you can throw together for lots of hungry mouths! This is one I have now recreated in Buffalo after first trying it in Chicago when we had a number of Frankie’s family visiting their homestead over the summer! This is definitely part of the quick and easy category, on top of being VERY satisfying and light!

Hoping all of you reading this are staying safe and well! And if you have the opportunity to visit your family [SAFELY] then I highly recommend you do so, because I don’t think we’ll ever have another opportunity like this again. (Or at least I hope not…pandemic’s aren’t really something I’d re-wish upon the world.)

— Cooking Maggie

Pita Greek” (Turkey Meatballs)

Ingredients – Serves 4-6

Turkey Meatballs

  •  1 pound ground turkey
  •  ¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs (have a little extra one hand just in case you need a little more)
  •  ¾ cup shredded zucchini, squeeze out excess liquid
  •  ¼ cup finely chopped fresh spinach
  •  ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  •  3 garlic cloves, minced
  •  ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  •  1 large egg
  •  Zest of 1 lemon
  •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (extra for serving)
  •  1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For Serving: Shredded lettuce, Sliced Tomato, Sliced Red Onion, Pita Bread/Small or Large Pearl Cous Cous (boxed is absolutely a good option here)/Wild Rice (also boxed is a good option)
    • For pita bread, cut them in half first, then wrap in aluminum foil, then bake in the oven (same temp) while the meatballs rest (about 5 minutes).

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated cucumber, squeeze out extra liquid
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small/medium bowl, mix all of the tzatziki sauce ingredients together, set aside in the fridge.
  3. In a large bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients and using your hands (because that’s the best way to know if it’s too sticky or not), mix well. Add more breadcrumbs if too wet – it should be sticky, but not so stick you can’t easily roll it into a bowl, but also not too un-sticky they don’t stay in a ball shape.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop or large cookie scoop, scoop about 4 tablespoons worth into your palms (you can wear kitchen gloves for this part, though at this point, if your hands are already dirty…) and roll it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, spacing the meatballs out onto the baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.
  5. Bake the meatballs for 18 to 25 minutes or until cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to ensure they are cooked to 165F in the middle. Let rest for about 5 minutes.
  6. Serve the meatballs with the tzatziki sauce over boxed cous cous or wild rice (top with extra chopped parsley), OR cut your meatballs in half and stuff them into a pita with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and sliced red onion!

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