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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Polynesian Turkey Meatballs ~ And Family Dinner

I do it too...flip through magazines for recipe ideas.  I was inspired to make this dish by a recipe I recently found in a magazine which was promoting Dole canned pineapple and Minute rice.  Just mention pineapple in a recipe and you've got my attention!  I've "doctored" the original recipe quite a bit, and I feel you'll find it really easy and delicious for a weeknight meal.

The magazine recipe called for brown rice in the meatballs.  I'm generally not a fan of brown rice, so I used instant white rice and it worked great!  In hindsight, using brown rice inside the meatballs would have probably been fine with you know you can use either!

You should always read a recipe thoroughly before starting; but I suggest you really read this one first, because a few of the ingredients are divided.

                 Take Them To The Islands In The Middle Of The Week...

                                  And You'll Have A Happy Family!

Makes approx. 16 ea. 2" meatballs - about 6 to 8 servings

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pkg. 20 oz. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 c. instant white or brown rice, uncooked
  • 1 ea. 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice, drained & divided (juice reserved)
  • 1 c. green onion, thinly sliced (tops & all), divided
  • 1/2 c. teriyaki sauce, divided
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. orange marmalade
  • 1 ea. 20 oz. can  pineapple chunks in juice, drained (juice reserved)
  • 1/4 c. seeded & chopped plum or roma tomato (for garnish)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet that has sides with the non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the turkey, salt, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, rice, 1/2 c. (drained) crushed pineapple, 1/2 c. green onion, 1/4 c. teriyaki sauce and egg.  
  4. Using your hands, shape the turkey mixture into approximately 2" balls, being careful not to over handle. 
  5. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake approximately 25 minutes, or until done.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce:  In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining crushed pineapple and reserved juice, the rest of the teriyaki sauce and the orange marmalade.  Heat to boiling and reduce the heat to simmer.  Add the (drained) pineapple chunks and cook uncovered approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 c. green onion.
  7. On a serving dish, place the meatballs over hot-cooked rice and top with the sauce.  In a small microwave-proof bowl, heat the juice from the pineapple chunks in the microwave on high for about 10 seconds, or until warm, and pour over the dish.  
  8. Garnish with the remaining green onion and tomato.
  • The original recipe suggested ground turkey or chicken.  I've not made this with the ground chicken.
  • I confess I used a heavy-duty mixer for the meatballs and gently combined, but the consensus is that hand mixing creates lighter meatballs.  I was happy with the results using a mixer; but whatever your choice, just don't over process.
  • Running cool water for your hands helps while shaping the meatballs.
  • For even more flavor, you can try browning the meatballs in a little oil on the stove top before baking and adjusting the oven time as necessary.  I would have tried this if I'd thought of it before I started; but I was still pleased with the final results of just baking.  Also, you can save time and calories by not browning first on the stove top.

Your family will love a taste of the islands in the middle of the week, and you'll enjoy how easy it is to take them there!

Printable Recipe


  1. Oh, yeah...Bonnie, this looks like a fabulous meal! I adore meatballs, and love that these are made with rice...yum!

  2. Now this is the way to make turkey meatballs delectable! I love how you 'tropicalized' (I like making up words lol) them...the pineapple and orange marmalade undoubtedly adding a bright punch, along with all those spices and savories, especially the teryaki sauce. Very creative!

  3. Oh yum - these sounds so unique and delicious! :)

  4. Hi Bonnie, This looks awesome. Will put on my to try list... Thanks Regina

  5. Yum! I love dishes with pineapple! Looks delicious Bonnie!

  6. Bonnie this looks wonderful. This is similar to a pineapple sweet and sour meatball recipe that I make. I love the added orange marmalade in this. YUM!!

  7. PS...our smoke detector is connected to our burglar alarm. So when I burn something, the smoke can set it off and the fire dept is called whether or not they are needed. I had roasted a chicken at high heat a few nights before and when we started to cook something that night, the oven smoked up. Opening the oven door was not a good move...LOL. I think this is the second or third time in 20 years...but I should know better!!!

  8. Oh, thanks for letting me know Lizzy! Thank goodness my smoke detector isn't connected to my burglar alarm, or I'd have the same problem!