Buffalo Turkey Slow Cooker Meatballs

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been looking for more recipes with ground meats because they reheat so well in the microwave.  It seems that I’ve always got at least one in rotation each week – chili, meatloaf, shepherds pie, etc always make great lunches because they’re hearty and they reheat nicely without losing too much flavor or texture in the process.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been continuing that research by diving into the diverse world of Paleo meatballs.  If you look at my Favorite Recipes page, you’ll find several versions that have received enough high marks to be listed:

And now I’ve got a couple more to add to the list.  This week I made these Spicy Chipotle Meatballs  with canned chipotle peppers which gave them a real kick, with a nice flavor profile.  And last week, in honor of the Super Bowl, I created my own recipe for Buffalo Turkey Meatballs, best served with our favorite Paleo Ranch Dressing.  They were a huge hit and if you like buffalo wings, you’ll love this portable spin on them!

Buffalo Turkey Slow Cooker Meatballs

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 2 1/2-3hrs
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

All of your favorite buffalo chicken flavor in a portable, easily reheatable format.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb turkey (or chicken) sausage
  • 2 lb ground turkey (or chicken) (higher fat is ok)
  • 2 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Penzeys northwoods seasoning (or add your own poultry-friendly spice mix)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or ghee
  • 1 1/2 cup orignal frank’s RedHot sauce


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. Combine sausage and ground poultry, 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, spices, onion, almond flour and egg together and mix well (clean hands work best for this)
  3. Form meatballs about 1 1/2 in diameter. place on parchment paper lined baking sheet
  4. Bake for 5 mins or until starting to hold shape, flip meatballs over 1/2 turn and another 5 mins until firm
  5. Place meatballs in your slow cooker.
  6. Combine butter or ghee with hot sauce, and remaining tsp of garlic powder.
    Pour over meatballs and cook on low for 2 hours.

Turning up the flavor, Paleo style

Now that we’re back to our regularly scheduled Paleo program, it’s time to turn up the flavor and get back to a little more creativity in the kitchen.

The last 2 Sunday prep days have been adventures in finding new flavors and more Paleo analogues to help diversify our diet and enjoy some of the old foods we used to love in new ways.

  • Primal Cannelloni al Forno – This is an original adaptation of the old Olive Garden dish my mom and I used to eat regularly.  It’s been off the menu a long time now, but I have a copy of the recipe that I adapted to follow primal guidelines (I didn’t remove the cheese, but did reduce the quantity a bit)  Funny thing is I used to think this recipe was just too much work to make regularly – but since all of my dishes typically now require multiple steps, it felt like just another weekend dish.  To make it even more special, I made…
  • Creamed Spinach to go with it – and, yeah, I know it’s silly to remove the cheese from this when I left it in the cannelloni, but again, I really have to be careful with my dairy intake and I can handle aged Parmesan way better than cream cheese.  Plus, this Paleo version was really, really tasty, if I do say so myself.
  • In honor of Chinese New Year, I made General Tso’s Chicken – one of my favorite Chinese dishes.  Generally Chinese food is off the list when it comes to Paleo cuisine, but this recipe was very flavorful and not too spicy.  I served it with a side of caulirice and will definitely be adding it to the favorites list.
  • Bison-stuffed Black Pepper Biscuits – this one came on my radar when I started looking for new and interesting ground meat recipes.  I’ve found that ground meats (meatballs, meatloaf, etc) do really well reheating in microwaves compared to other dishes (like pork and beef) which tend to dry out and get a little rubbery.  I came across some “Paleo Mince Meat” recipes, which led me to this one.  I was also interested in it, because its remarkably similar to our Texas “kolaches” where meat is wrapped in a bread dough and baked.  I still think it should be made in moderation due to the copious amounts of arrowroot required, but the resulting dish was pretty good – I will definitely be experimenting more with this concept in the future.
  • Pear Ginger Muffins – Finally, E.J. had 4 very ripe pears sitting on the counter that needed to be used, so I made a double batch of these Pear Ginger Muffins with this amazing topping.  Very yummy, especially with an added teaspoon of cinnamon.

This week I made a new Super Bowl inspired dish in the crock pot that I’m looking forward to trying before I share with you all.  It’s a new Paleo adaptation I came up with, so we’ll see how the reviews are before I share it.

Have a great week everyone!

Another one bites the dust…

Alright, I’ll confess – I didn’t make it to day 30.  I got to 25 and between the travel and the stress, I just couldn’t make it the last 5 days.  Part of me is really disappointed – I was hoping I could hold out to the end, but sometimes you just gotta lose a battle to win the war.

I haven’t come off of Paleo, short of a few dishes over the weekend with some dairy in them, but I have reintroduced some honey and maple syrup here and there, and the scale shows it.   I’m determined to learn from my latest Whole30 experience, however, and limit my sugar intake a little better than I did over the holidays.

In other news, I had my best 5k run time ever (beat my Jingle Bell Run time) on Saturday, and am feeling pretty good otherwise.

If you’re still hanging in there for the last few days, I applaud you!  Keep it up!

Run Report: 1/22

So in the great tradition of E.J.’s PaleoMarine posts, I’m happy to report I didn’t die during my run yesterday morning.  In fact, I had the best run time since the Jingle Bell run and no pain to speak of when I was done.

Yay for small victories!

Whole 30 Week #3

Ok, I thought last week was hard, but I was wrong.  This week was actually the worst – and it really didn’t have as much to do with the diet as it did the job, but that’s when I miss sweets the most.

I mentioned last week that the low energy was getting to me.  That and an an unexpected upward swing on the scale had me ready to chuck the whole thing.  I was tired, grumpy, and just wanted some damn chocolate.

Then finally on Friday morning, I woke up before my alarm with a decent amount of energy.  I had a great run (best one I think in months) and finally felt like I had turned a corner.  The day seemed to be going so well at work too – I had managed to handle the current crises, had a clear plan and a communicated vision to the team… only to get some really bad news at the tail end of the day right before I headed home.  Sigh.

Why did I decide to do a Whole30 during the busiest month of the year?  I must be slightly unhinged.

At least we had some good food this week:

Next week I’ll be travelling for work for a couple of days, so we’ll see how well I’m able to stick to plan.

Is it over yet?  A glass of wine would be the ticket right about now.

 

Whole 30 Week #2

As usual, week 2 was a bit harder than the first.  Extra stresses at work made it especially hard to avoid the sugar, but I managed to make it.

I find it’s particularly hard to find the energy to exercise during the 2nd week of a Whole 30.  Low energy levels and headaches kick in – certainly not nearly as bad as the first time, but bad enough to make me a little grumpy and want a little extra sleep. The grey skies and warmer temps that seemed to linger all week didn’t help either.  I prefer the cooler weather.

For meals this week we enjoyed a mix of old favorites and new adventures:

  • We found pork shoulder on sale, so we did a smoked pulled pork with our favorite simple rub of mustard and black pepper  from this, we made sliders with sweet potato buns, baked pork stuffed sweet potatoes, and our favorite pork and apple breakfast casserole.
  • A double batch of Paleo Chili
  • Slow cooked bolognese sauce with sweet potato noodles – OMG this sauce is a bit painful to put together because of the time commitment, but it rivals any restaurant version I’ve ever had.  Like you’d expect, it really gets better over time, and we’ve continued to enjoy this one all week.
  • Paleo Gyros – this was really pretty good, though pretty dry compared to the ones we get at our neighborhood Greek place.  I made a paleo tzaziki sauce and served this with caramelized onions and asparagus.
  • Paleo Barbecue Chicken Casserole – this was pretty good – even my mom said it had a good flavor, and it was pretty easy to make.  The star of the show, however, was the prerequisite Whole 30 BBQ sauce which is really awesome, and was slathered all over our pork dishes all week too.

img_2286The other thing I’ve been working on is limiting my meal portions.  I was rewarded with a weigh-in on Thursday that was lower than before the holidays by a couple of lbs.  As the weekend kicked in and my portions grew, the scale got ugly again, but I think it’s safe to say I’m back to my pre-holiday position and in a great place to finally lose that last 8 lbs that I originally wanted to drop.    We’ll see if I can keep the stress and the large portions at bay this week.

Whole 30 Week #1

Ok, well it’s been a short week, but I’m feeling a lot better.  Way less swelling, more energy, and generally feeling more like myself.  Down within a couple of lbs of my pre-holiday weight now – and not suffering too much from lack of sweet.

All in all, not a bad place to be.

Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed this week:

  • Paleo Tex Mex Casserole – a perennial favorite.  We have this one about once a month or so and it’s still really good and filling
  • Slow Cooker Butter Chicken with Indian Style Cauliflower – wow, this one was really good, and I think will be one of our new favorites.  As a slow cooker dish, the chicken is really easy and the flavors are pretty awesome.  The cauliflower is pretty simple too but the spices really blend well
  • Roasted Pork Loin – I basically followed this recipe, except used a rub of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh sage.  Served with half a sweet potato and roasted broccoli.  This turned out way better than I thought it would and may be my new go-to recipe for pork loin.
  • 20-Minute Shrimp & Sausage Skillet Meal – This was really easy to whip up for dinner on a weeknight and was very tasty.  Brendon joined us for dinner so there weren’t any leftovers.

This weekend the temperature is going to mostly be down around and below freezing, so I’m not sure how much adventuring we’ll be doing.  My plan is to finish putting away the Christmas decorations and start thinking about Valentine’s. I think I’m going to miss the garland on the banister most of all – I love the glow when I come home on dark evenings.  Maybe there’s a way to do a Valentine themed banister with lights?