Three years ago, my husband and I flew from Maryland to Texas to choose a place to live in the Houston area. Having never stepped foot in Texas prior to this excursion and having always had a Maryland address, I was just a bit overwhelmed. We spent our time riding around with a wonderful Realtor checking out communities in Katy, Sugarland, and Cypress. Although I don't remember much from that trip, I do recall that our Realtor kept pointing out HEB's. Finally I said, "Excuse me, but what is a heb and why do I care?" He replied, "H-E-B is a local grocery store that you will surely love when you become a Texas resident." My first thought was it better be just like Trader Joe's or I'm not going to like it at all. Yes, I was resisting change and was having a wee bit of a bad attitude.
Now, of course, after living in Cypress for the last two and a half years, I love Texas and I love my H-E-B! It's not similar to Trader Joe's but, it is my favorite place to buy groceries. I enjoy the variety of products that they sell including many healthy and organic choices. Once I was in Wal-mart searching for dried cherries when I bumped into an acquaintance. "If you were a dried cherry, where would you be?" I asked her. "At H-E-B!" she replied. In addition to fresh produce and quality meats, H-E-B also has pleasant and knowledgeable employees. At the check-out there is always a checker, a bagger, and sometimes a cart unloader. I wish I had lived near a H-E-B when I used to grocery shop with a preschooler, two toddlers and an infant.
My very favorite thing about H-E-B, however, are the samples. You know the old adage "never grocery shop hungry". That doesn't apply here because there are little tasting stations with fresh pineapple, cheese, hummus, chicken salad, and sushi. In addition, each side of the store has a cooking area where a chef prepares a hot dish and serves it to the shoppers along with a recipe card.
The recipe for these Turkey Cranberry Meatballs comes from the H-E-B monthly magazine that has coupons, articles, and recipes. I made these for my family on Sunday and we were all impressed. These meatballs are lighter than my usual ones because they are made with ground turkey instead of beef or pork. Also, they call for an egg white instead of a whole egg. I love the flavor that the cranberry sauce and orange peel add to the meatballs. Although these would be perfect as an appetizer, we had them for our Sunday dinner. Along side them I served H-E-B brown rice which is sold in the frozen foods section, orange wedges, and steamed broccoli. In addition to having plenty for our dinner, there were enough leftovers to package in containers for weekday lunches. This is one of the benefits of portion control.
Even though grocery shopping is not one of my favorite household chores, I do enjoy my trips to H-E-B. I look forward to picking up the monthly circular to find some new, seasonal, and often healthy recipes. I don't call it heb anymore and now I understand why my Realtor saw "being close to an H-E-B" as a selling point for a community.
Turkey Cranberry Meatballs
adapted from the H-E-B recipe
1 can (15 ounce) whole berry cranberry sauce (divided)
1 can (15 ounce) jelly cranberry sauce
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs)
1 large egg white
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon Italian Herbs or Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
- Combine 1 cup of the whole berry cranberry sauce and the entire can of the jelly cranberry sauce with barbecue sauce in a saucepan. Simmer over medium low heat and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
- In a small bowl beat the egg white with a wire whisk until it is foamy.
- Combine 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, foamy egg white, ground turkey, herbs, orange zest, bread crumbs, buttermilk, salt, and pepper. Mix lightly to combine, but do not over mix.
- Form into 48 half inch balls (about 1 tablespoon each) and arrange on coated baking sheet.
- Bake meatballs for about 15 minutes or until browned.
- Add cooked meatballs to simmering sauce and lightly stir to coat.
- Serve with brown rice, steamed broccoli, and orange wedges.