Turkey Cacciatore Meatballs with Mango Basil Linguine

I never thought I could like ground turkey until I discovered Rachael Ray’s recipe for Turkey Cacciatore Burgers during my summer internship in Vail. I just happened to take my lunch break when 30 Minute Meals aired, and I’d sit in my apartment above the newspaper newsroom overlooking the mountains, eating far less nutritious less than 30-minute meals while taking down her recipes for future reference.
The favorite recipe proved rather flexible this week, too. We’d been wanting to fix stuffed mushroom caps (but I kept forgetting crab as I stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies for juicing) and stuffed peppers (even though I forgot, until now, that we planned that meal to use up the expiring can of Beefaroni in the cupboard, per an old family recipe.) Like I said, the Turkey Cacciatore recipe proved flexible in both cases, plus leftover meatballs for another day.
Here’s the basic recipe, tweaked a tad from Rachael Ray’s original burgers to become…
Turkey Cacciatore Meatballs Recipe
1 1/3 lbs ground turkey
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
the stems of the 6 mushrooms we’ll be stuffing, removed and chopped.
The one thing I clearly remember about the recipe from the TV show is that you combine all the ingredients by hand.
The meat filled 6 large button mushrooms and one large green pepper (de-seeded and cleaned, of course.) There was enough left over for about 6-8 large meatballs. Baked at probably 400 degrees for, maybe, 20 minutes? I don’t remember, just bake it till it’s done.
We had Organic Basil Linguine leftover from Bacon-Infused Seafood Alfredo night, which made the perfect bed for the meatballs, served with a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil, a shake of Parmesan, a snip of fresh basil and splay of fresh sliced mango. Behold, Turkey Cacciatore Meatballs with Mango Basil Linguine:
Welcome to summer, spaghetti and meatballs.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

What’s better than a big, juicy slab of meat? Meat wrapped in more meat, that’s what.

This recipe is ridiculously simple, and it works double-time to quell a hunger twice as big as the effort it requires. So, in five easy steps:

1. Flatten a chicken breast.

2. Spread with cream cheese, top with onions. (The original recipe called for sweet onions. I had red, so that’s what I used, and topped it off with some fresh cilantro.)

3. Meanwhile, fry bacon but remove from heat before it starts to crisp.

4. Roll up chicken and wrap bacon around it, securing with toothpicks.

* Extra step: I thinly sliced a small potato, sprinkling with olive oil, salt, pepper and the remaining onions. If you slice it too thick, they won’t bake as fast as the chicken.

5. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. My oven runs hot, so for me it was more like 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

Here’s what it looks like headed into the oven — pretty fancy already:

And the finished dish, with some sour cream and fresh parsley added to the potatoes: