Turkey/Zucchini Meatballs with Feta

Another great NY Times recipe find! And this one taught me a new skill – turns out meatballs cooked in the oven are great and extra easy. Note: this recipe called for ground chicken, but I used ground turkey since I knew we were eating chicken the following evening. Great substitute; no complaints.

Start by grating one zucchini and one shallot. Add it to a bowl, along with 1/2 c. panko, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, herbs (I had fresh basil and dried parsley – dill would be great), and 1 lb of ground chicken or turkey. Toss by hand and form into 16 meatballs, placing them onto a baking sheet (mine was lined with silpat). Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 425 for 10 minutes. While you wait, prepare the rest of the dish. Chop up a half shallot and cover it with the juice of a lemon. Add some zest in there, too. After it sits a bit, crumble some feta into the bowl and mash with some crushed red pepper and olive oil. Just add a bit of oil at a time til it reaches the texture you like. Also slice up 1-2 zucchini. At this point, your 10 min timer should ding. Push the meatballs to the side of the baking sheet and add the sliced zucchini with a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper. Return to the oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with the feta.

HOT TIP: I also made a quick tzaziki with Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, garlic powder, dill, and salt. Highly recommend.

Ok so first of all, cooking meatballs in the oven opened up a whole new world for me. The silpat is so easy to clean and since you cook the veggies on the same baking sheet, it’s an ultra easy meal to throw together. Also, thanks to the panko and zucchini, the meat was nice and juicy – and we all know chicken and turkey has a tendency to dry out. These flavors took me right back to Greece, which is appropriate since we were there around this time last year. Will we ever get to travel again or will my only travels be via the oven from now on?