Monday, January 31, 2011

Barbecue Bacon-Cheddar Meatballs

Let's Get Our Game On!  (Even if that "game" is playing Cand Land with my three-year old daughter instead of watching the Superbowl event.)  But anyway, I can still eat and pretend like I'm at a party.  So let's start this week off right with some healthier choice appetizers, snacks and desserts.

Today let me introduce you to these delicious bacon-cheddar meatballs that I adapted from Taste of Home.  I used ground turkey and even snuck some carrots inside.  I cooked them in my slow cooker instead of frying them.  And guess what?  They turned out great!  You have to have meatballs at a sports party, am I right?  Serve these up for your guests and see if they taste a difference or know that a vegetable is hidden inside.  I bet they don't notice but gobble them up instead!

"Better For You" Barbecue Bacon-Cheddar Meatballs

(Makes about 24 meatballs)

Adapted from Taste of Home

1 pound of ground turkey
1 package of onion soup mix
1 cup of reduced fat shredded cheese, 2% cheddar or Mexican variety
1/2 cup of pureed or shredded carrots
1/2 cup of bacon bits
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp reduced fat milk
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
dash of Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup of barbecue sauce, any kind - whatever your favorite is

Set your slow cooker to low heat while preparing the meatballs.  Mix the onion soup mix and beaten egg in a large bowl.  Place your ground turkey, pureed carrots, seasoning, salt and pepper over the liquid.  Blend the ingredients well with a large spoon or your hands.  Shape the meat into round balls.  I made 24 with mine.  Set aside. 

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and milk.  Stir until smooth.  Then add the shredded cheese and bacon bits.  Blend well.  Shape these into smaller round cheese balls.  Then you will place the other meat and carrot ball around the cheese-bacon ball.    Continue doing this until all of your ingredients are used up.

I did one at a time, making one cheese ball and shaping the other part around it.  It looked like this as I was half-way through shaping each meatball:

Mmm, cheese and bacon in the center?  How can that be wrong!?

Place meatballs in slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.   Don't worry if your meatballs seem to stick together or have that slimy looking stuff between them, like this:

They pull apart easily and they will taste great.  When the tops are nicely browned, you know they are almost ready.  

During the last half hour of slow cooking, add the barbecue sauce.  Just pour it over the tops of the meatballs and spread it out evenly. 

Mmm, mmm good!  Remove the meatballs from the slow cooker and serve.

We had ours open-faced style on homemade bread.  They are great as they are, on a sandwich or even mixed in with leftover spaghetti noodles. 

Three cheers for these meatballs!   Here's another one of my past meatball recipes that you may want to consider as well - sweet and spicy orange meatballs!

Tomorrow I will share another great twist to a traditional, easy appetizer!  After that, I'll tackle snacks and desserts.  Let me know if I score a point with you, the readers!  :-)


  1. Those look really good. I tried making cheese stuffed meatballs they other day but Mike insisted I mike 8 big ones instead of a lot of little ones and they just didn't turn out so hot.

  2. Yum, they look great! I think I'd skip the bbq sauce, but would definitely cook them in the crock pot!!! Nice job! I saw a Sneaky Chef cookbook for $6 at the grocery store last night, but her purees are more involved than just a single veg, so I passed :P I need more cookbooks like a hole in the head!

  3. I've never thought of baking them in the crock pot. Great idea!!!