Ricotta Turkey Meatball Subs

Ricotta Turkey Meatball Subs

I say it all the time, but it has been amazing to see how far gluten- and dairy-free products have come… not only in the past 10-20 years, but even as recently as the past 5-6! I first started experimenting with gluten- and dairy-free products in high school 10 years ago. There wasn’t a whole lot out there, but everyone told me it was so much better than 10 years before that.

Then, my freshman year of college, I was getting sick all the time and had chronic stomach upset and bloating. I went to a doctor who ran some tests, put me on an elimination diet, and I found out I had bona fide wheat and milk allergies. Since then I’ve been obsessive about researching and keeping up-to-date on every new product on the market. Anything that could make my life easier. I hated that most of the gluten-free products out there were super refined (basically the equivalent of white bread), and nutrient-poor. I hated that most of the vegan cheeses out there had a 20-something ingredient list with lots of words I couldn’t pronounce, and tasted rubbery and artificial.

But again… we’ve come a long way! I want to do a round-up of my favorite gluten- and dairy-free products on the blog soon. In the meantime, here’s a product I recently discovered and can’t get enough of: Kite Hill’s new almond milk ricotta. Last week, I used it in a chicken sausage, tomato, and ricotta frittata. This week, I made homemade Ricotta Turkey Meatball subs. You’ve got to add these to your dinner rotation STAT!

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey (I like Trader Joe’s 99% lean, but I’d recommend anything upwards of 80/20)
  • 3/4 cup Kite Hill Almond Milk Ricotta
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 tbsp. almond flour (use unblanched for the most fiber and nutrients)
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, plus more for topping
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 32 oz. marinara sauce
  • 6 small rolls, or 4 larger ones – Sliced in half lengthwise and toasted
  • Optional: Nutritional yeast for topping

Processed with VSCO with ka1 preset

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 450º F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix with your hands all ingredients except the marinara sauce and rolls.
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Roll the batter into meatballs and place on the baking sheet. You should get 12-16 balls, depending on how large you make them. I found the ricotta gives the meatballs a great consistency and helps them bind nicely. But if yours are not staying together, cover your bowl and place the batter in the refrigerator for 20 minutes – 1 hour. Take out, and try rolling them again.
  4. Bake the meatballs for 7-10 minutes. They should be lightly browned on the outside when they come out. The higher fat content of the ground turkey you chose, the more color they’ll get (and vice versa).
  5. Use tongs to transfer your meatballs to a large pot. Pour marinara sauce on top, cover with a lid, and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, slice and toast your rolls. Once the meatballs are done on the stove, assemble your subs, making sure to spoon out some extra sauce for on top. Dress with extra dried oregano and (optional) nutritional yeast.

A Week of Meals: Buffalo Chicken, Loaded Nachos, Waffles, and More

A WEEK OF EATS

I always tell my fiancé — anyone who thinks healthy eating is boring should come spend a week with me. I firmly believe the best thing you can do for your health (and your running and/or fitness routine…) is learn how to cook. Cooking opens you up to so many fun, creative ways to combine foods, and trust me – there are SO many ways to eat healthy outside of just steamed veggies and chicken (AKA what most people think of when they think of eating healthy).

This week I wanted to share a week’s worth of meals for Ryan and I. We have gotten really smart about the way we plan our dinners, how we cook once to eat twice (or sometimes three times). We have been enjoying our food way more than ever before, saving money and wasting way less food, and feeling better than ever (in our workouts and daily life in general).

The trick to making all of this happen is just a little planning and prep work. I’ll start brainstorming meals and looking at recipes on Saturday of the week before, and on Sunday we’ll write our grocery list for the week and go to Trader Joe’s for one big grocery haul. But going into shopping, I always know exactly what our lunches and dinners are going to look like for each day.

I LOVE getting creative in the kitchen, so we have fun mixing it up and trying new recipes each week. The recipes I choose always: (1) are low in refined sugar, (2) use real, whole foods (100% corn chips are about as refined as we get), and (3) have some kind of veggie and healthy protein. We love to treat ourselves once or twice a week, but I make sure our main meals are always packed with nourishing, good-for-you ingredients.

For breakfast, I tend to eat the same thing every morning. I go through cycles depending on what I’ve been feeling lately. For a while I was doing oatmeal every morning. Lately, my go-to breakfast has been two slices of avocado toast with two fried eggs, and two slices of turkey bacon on the side.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


What a Full Week of Eats Looks Like for Us

Sunday was the start of the NFL season (my fiancé is a huge football fan), so I made Paleomg’s Buffalo Chicken Casserole for us with corn chips and homemade Chili Sweet Potato Wedges. The casserole serves four, and I purposefully made a big batch of sweet potato wedges so we wouldn’t have to worry about lunch the next day. The Buffalo Chicken Casserole was out of this world, and we both agreed if you placed it in front of someone without saying anything, they wouldn’t believe it was healthy. In reality, though, it is packed with veggies — onions, red peppers, and a base made out of spaghetti squash! The ground chicken also gives it lots of filling protein.

Monday lunch: Leftover Buffalo Chicken Casserole + Chili Sweet Potatoes

Monday dinner: A Fall-Themed Power Salad

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

Trader Joe’s mixed greens blend, grilled chicken breast, quinoa, dried cherries (unsweetened), and pecans, tossed in a homemade Maple-Dijon Dressing

To make, all we had to do was cut a few chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, roast them on a baking sheet for ~20 minutes at 400°. While that was in the oven, we made a BIG batch of quinoa (enough for a big salad + quinoa bowls tomorrow night). Quinoa cooks up in 15 minutes. We combined the dressing ingredients in a mason jar, shook it up, tossed all the salad ingredients together, and poured the dressing over the salad. Voila… a little over half an hour start to finish. Again, we made way more than we needed for two people… this gave us four large, meal-sized salads (two for dinner tonight, two for lunch tomorrow).

Tuesday lunch: Leftover Fall Power Salad

Tuesday dinner: Deliciously Ella’s Mexican Quinoa Bowls (from her cookbook, but you can also find the recipe online here)

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

I put a pound or two of chicken breasts and a little chicken stock in the crock pot in the morning. They slow-cooked for eight hours, until they were super tender, and when Ryan got home from work we shredded them with a fork. The quinoa was already made the night before, and Ryan and I tag-teamed the rest of the ingredients – the cashew cream which blended up in <5 minutes, the guacamole which came together in <5 minutes, and the tomato salsa which also came together in <5 minutes. The recipe serves four people, which meant we had extras of all the ingredients (except the quinoa) for the next day.

Wednesday lunch: Mexican Chicken Salad

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

We made salads out of the leftover ingredients from last night.

Wednesday dinner: Take-out from a Thai restaurant around the corner. I got the stir-fried broccoli, carrot, garlic, and chicken in one of their lighter, healthier sauces. Served over rice.

Thursday lunch: Big green smoothie bowl – Mint Matcha Chip (recipe coming soon). I used protein powder in it to make it more satiating.

Thursday dinner: Homemade turkey burgers (unpictured). I ate mine as sliders, and Ryan ate his on Trader Joes’ whole-wheat buns.

Friday lunch: A big “kitchen sink” salad, with mixed greens, extra chicken from the week, and pre-cut veggies I had bought for exactly these kinds of days.

Friday dinner: Dinner at my future in-laws’ house

Saturday lunch: Take-out from By Chloe… a healthy vegan “fast food” restaurant and one of my all-time favorite places.

Processed with VSCO with c6 preset

I got their Kale Caesar salad with shredded kale, chopped romaine, shiitake bacon, avocado, almond parmesan, sunflower seeds, and caesar dressing. Air-fried sweet potato fries, and coconut water (straight out of the coconut) on the side.

Saturday dinner: Loaded Vegan Nachos and Homemade Salted Watermelon Margaritas

Processed with VSCO with al1 preset

Perfect for Saturday date-night-in (AKA movie night). The Loaded Nachos are made with corn chips, black beans, a homemade vegan queso sauce (which was out of this world), pico de gallo, sliced black olives, homemade guacamole, and fresh cilantro. The recipe is from the Minimalist Baker cookbook… my newest obsession. (Every recipe in there is gold.)

Sunday brunch: Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Waffles from Minimalist Baker (recipe is also from her cookbook)

Processed with VSCO with fr4 preset

The stats:

  • I went grocery shopping once. (Because I had a plan… this is key!)
  • I cooked only six times for twelve lunches and dinners, and one brunch.
  • I ate out twice.
  • I saved a lot of money.
  • I had no cravings. (Because the food I eat satisfies me, and I genuinely love what I’m eating!)
  • And health and happiness are both very high.