stuffed turkey meatballs wrapped in turkey bacon

That title is a mouthful and so are these meatballs. A “healthy” mouthful I may add.
With football season starting, these meatballs are such a perfect little appetizer and since they are “healthy” you can drink more beer! That’s how that’s supposed to work right?
I kept going back and forth between calling them turkey bacon wrapped stuffed turkey meatballs or stuffed turkey meatballs wrapped in turkey bacon. Either way is a mouthful.
stuffed turkey meatballs wrapped in turkey bacon
I keep saying that these meatballs are “healthy” because it’s ground turkey, no breadcrumbs, turkey bacon, and it’s all stuffed with lite cheese, guacamole, and jalepenos. I mean seriously. And it’s actually quite simple to make too.
stuffed turkey meatballs wrapped in turkey bacon
This recipe was adapted from a recipe in Oxygen Magazine that’s called Turkey Bacon Bison Balls. So much easier to say and type than stuffed turkey meatballs wrapped in turkey bacon. But when I first tried this recipe a year or 2 ago, I couldn’t find bison meat. I think I’ve seen it once since then and it was like $500/lb. I’m joking slightly. So I adapted this recipe using ground turkey. Would it be just as good with ground beef and regular pork bacon? Of course! But then you wouldn’t be able to drink extra beer. HAHA!
stuffed turkey meatball
I tried to link the recipe to the one from the magazine but I searched and searched and couldn’t find it so I linked it to Oxygen Magazine. It was the November 2012 issue. Just trying to give the original recipe it’s props. But then I googled the recipe and found it on a different website so I’ll give the link here.
stuffed turkey meatballs
What’s awesome about these meatballs is that they aren’t just wrapped in bacon but that there is a surprise filling inside that’s spicy and creamy and gooey and Ah-mazing!!!
turkey bacon wrapped stuffed turkey meatballs
Turkey bacon wrapped stuffed turkey meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1 pkg turkey bacon
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp season all or Mrs. Dash or seasoning of your choice
1-2 fresh jalepenos, seeded, sliced and cut in half
1-2 wedges Laughing Cow Cheese (I used garlic and herb)
1/4 cup guacamole
In a bowl, combine ground turkey, worcestershire sauce, garlic, seasoning, and lemon juice. Roll mix into small balls. Take once slice of jalepeno, a chunk of cheese, and a dollop of guacamole and place into each ball. wrap each ball with turkey bacon, pinning it all the way through with a toothpick. Place in a large glass baking dish. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until meatballs are baked through.
turkey bacon wrapped stuffed turkey meatballs

jalepeno goat cheese queso

It’s a snack! It’s an appetizer! It’s party food! And it was my dinner one night.
jalepeno goat cheese queso
The jalepenos from my garden were in full swing and I had previously made a goat cheese sauce for nachos several months ago so…..I made a jalepeno goat cheese queso. And I dipped all my chips in the gooey cheesy spicy goodness and before I knew it, it was all gone. And that was my dinner and I was happily stuffed full. The end. Haha.
jalepeno goat chees queso
I’m also going to apologize to my girl Lori, who is a faithful reader(1 of 2 haha) who just loathes goat cheese. I’m sorry! I’ll make a different queso dip to share soon so you don’t have to cringe or puke when you read the title. But for everyone else that loves goat cheese, you’re gonna love this dip.
It’s so easy to make too. Except for the first batch I made. I burned the roux. Boy did that piss me off. Until I realized I had enough ingredients for another recipe and then all was right with the world.

Don't burn your roux!
Don’t burn your roux!

A roux is just a mixture of melted butter and flour whisked together on medium/low heat. Or in this case- butter, jalepenos, and flour.

a good looking roux
a good looking roux

Next, whisk in your goat cheese and milk. Remove from heat and stir in the salsa.
jalepeno goat cheese queso
Jalepeno goat cheese queso
3 TBl butter
1 jalepeno, diced with seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 TBl flour
3/4 cup milk (I used original flavored almond milk)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup salsa
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and saute jalepenos, about 3 minutes. Turn heat to medium/low and whisk in flour. Continue whisking until sauce starts to thicken. Add garlic and goat cheese and whisk until combined. Then add milk and whisk until combined and heated through. Remove from heat and stir in salsa. If serving a large crowd or you have no self control, such as myself, recipe can be doubled.
jalepeno goat cheese salsa
Just look at that gooey, cheesy goodness!
jalepeno goat cheese queso

caprese tarts

Caprese means prepared with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil leaves, and drizzled with olive oil.  These caprese tarts are exactly that all snuggled in a flaky pie dough and baked to perfection.

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I usually only ever make blackraspberry tarts.  But then one day I had a friend from work BEG me for some tarts or a pie.  She was all like “it’s my birthday!” “It’s my adorable son’s birthday!” That was enough to convince me, so I decided to experiment and I made a variety of tarts.  Mixed berry, strawberry rhubarb, redberry cherry…..

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They turned out amazing.  But since I always make “sweet” tarts, I wanted to try savory ones instead.  I finally had some regular tomatoes in my garden not just the gross cherry tomatoes that came out of nowhere.  I was eating a lot of caprese salads and I was going to make a white pizza but changed my mind and thought how about a caprese tart.

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Caprese tarts

Fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and I used garlic infused olive oil.

You can use homemade or store bought premade pie dough.  just roll out the dough and  quarter it.  I find that it’s easiest to hold the quartered piece of dough in your hand to fill it with ingredients then you can tuck the dough around it easier too. Layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil then drizzle with olive oil.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until dough starts to brown slightly.  Let cool and devour with a nice glass of white wine.  (Wine optional of course.)

This is my pie dough recipe that I use ALL the time.  It comes on the Crisco container if you don’t feel like writing it down.  I’m strictly a Crisco pie girl.  I’ve tried butter and even butter and Crisco combinations.  I like flakiness of the pie dough that my Crisco recipe creates.

standard pie dough recipe

3/4 cup Crisco

1 tsp salt

2 cups flour

3-5 Tbls ice cold water

combine flour and salt in a bowl.  cut in Crisco with a pastry blender.  Once it looks like coarse meal add water 1 Tbl at a time until mixture just barely comes together.  combine mix with hands and form into a ball. wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

 

nutty goat cheese grapes

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im not going to fool you into thinking this cute little appetizer is easy to make.  simple- yes.  time consuming-um yea. sorry.  they’re oh so cute though.  the tangy goat cheese paired with the sweet juicy grapes and the texture of the crunchy nuts just meld together nicely.  I took these grapes to several different parties and happy hours.  they hold up well and make a great snack to have with drinks.  I usually forget what a pain in the ass they are to make until I decide to take them somewhere and then think to myself “why did I decide to make these?” what’s sad is that they’re not that hard to make.  I just lack the patience to make them.  kind of like those cute cream cheese stuffed strawberries I see all over pinterest.  or cake balls.  this coming from an award winning pie baker who makes pie dough from scratch.  and once baked 140 pies at thanksgiving.  ill save that story for another time.  patience for pies- yes.  patience for much else- no.  im one of those chronically late people because I don’t have the patience to wait for other people.

so these grapes.  the last time I made them was for a party with my new coworkers.  the grapes were kind of a hit except for 2 of my “picky” but sweet coworkers who couldn’t wait to try them and then politely tried not to spit them out because they realized they hate goat cheese! I actually made them with a soft Havarti cheese before and it worked well since it’s a tangy cheese too.

nutty goat cheese grapes

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

1/2 cup chili lime almonds( I used blue diamond brand), chopped

8-12 ounces creamy goat cheese

40 (approx. depending on size) seedless grapes, red or green, washed and patted dry

scoop about 1/2 tablespoon of goat cheese and press it evenly over all surfaces of grape.  roll the grape for a few seconds in the palms of your hands until the coating is smooth and even.  roll the grape in either the chopped pistachio or chopped almonds and place it on a large plate.  repeat with remaining grapes.  cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

recipe adapted from betty rosbottom, author of “sunday soup” and tribune media services

made a great appetizer to take to a winery
they made a great appetizer to take to a winery