Goat Cheese Stuffed Turkey and Quinoa Balls + Giveaway

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on December 13, 2012

Christmas is just around the corner and my mind has been filled with appetizer ideas for the big day.

Preparing the appetizer table has to be one of my favorite parts about entertaining. I like coming up with unique recipes that will entice people to try new things but be healthy enough for them to indulge and not feel bloated and gross before the main event. Nothing worse than eating your weight in cheesy artichoke dip and realizing you have absolutely no room for that glorious roasted turkey.

Happy Days Dairies Goat Cheese makes preparing easy, delicious and unique appetizer recipes a breeze. I feel great about the ingredients, people enjoy the bold flavor, and it pairs well with just about anything. What I love about it too is that goat’s dairy is so much more easy to digest than cow’s milk so serving it at a large function where there are likely those that have allergies ensures that most everyone will be able to eat the food I create.

Allergenic burden of goat dairy

While goat milk cannot be considered hypoallergenic, several studies show that it does have a different allergenic burden compared to cow milk. There are two factors that have been showed to contribute to this. First up, beta-lactoglobulin (aka whey protein).

Researchers based at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and University of Oslo in Norway used human digestive enzymes to measure the breakdown of cow and goat milk proteins to determine if one was easier on digestion than the other in this study. What’s interesting is that in this study, the cow milk proteins were digested nearly a third slower than goat milk proteins. Meaning the cow’s milk just sat in the digestive system, causing upset, while the goat milk was easily digested and processed. In addition, the researchers found that three times more beta-lactoglobulin from goat milk was digested compared to the same protein from cow milk. We all know that milk is a great source of protein, but if we can’t digest that protein, it’s kind of useless.

What’s interesting is that beta-lactoglobulin is one of the main causes of allergies to milk and is most resistant to digestion. So, the greater the digestion of beta-lactoglobulin, the less allergy response. With the high digestibility of goat milk and it’s beta-lactoglobulin, researchers found that the allergenic burden of goat’s milk was quite significantly lower than that of cow’s milk.

Then there’s casein (the main protein in milk). Research is now proving that it is the structure of casein that also contributes to the digestibility of goat’s milk versus cow’s milk. Casein is present in both, but the way these proteins coagulate to form cheese may determine how our bodies are able to digest the end product. When goat milk is coagulated to form cheese, it is softer and more fragile than the cheese made from cow milk. Researchers at Fort Valley State University USA determined that the casein groupings of goat milk were one and half times larger than those from cow milk which explains the loose, more fragile casein curd structure of goat milk. These larger, fragile groupings are easier on our digestion overall. Pretty cool, right?

Okay, so now that we know how much better goat’s milk is for our digestive systems, let’s make some appies, shall we?

These aren’t your everyday meatball, these babies are stuffed with a cube of goat milk mozzarella and held together with quinoa flakes. No eggs or breadcrumbs!

Head on over to Happy Days Dairies website for the recipe and my step by step instructions.

Happy Days Dairies Giveaway

Canada only giveaway alert! The folks over at Happy Days Dairies have provided me with a holiday basket of my favorite goat dairy products and we’re giving it away to one lucky Canadian Facebook Fan. Enter the giveaway here.

What appetizers are you planning to serve for Christmas or hoping are on the Christmas spread if you’re being treated to dinner?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica { EricaDHouse.com }

I was already a lover of goat cheese but I think now I’m an official convert! I’m glad to see your hosting a Canada-only giveaway. I hate that so many of my lovely Canadian readers are left out of the ones I host!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

Ok, I still haven’t had any sort of goat dairy products but I’m still hunting down the Happy Days stuff! These meatballs sound delicious, and I’m so happy to see that you made them with turkey. We had a potluck at work yesterday and there were heaps of meatballs but they were all beef. :( Shrimp platters are always a staple at our Christmas appetizer table, so those will be definitely making an appearance this year too!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

I LOVE goat cheese! These would be a fantastic appetizer–so much better than the typical meatball! :)

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Jo (livingmintgreen)

Hooray for Canadian giveaways!!! I tried clicking on the giveaway link, but it’s not working on my end. :( (page doesnt open or redirect)

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Jo – that’s weird… do you have Facebook? It’s a Facebook giveaway. Also, you’ll want to be logged into Facebook using your personal account, not a page account. Hope that helps! Worst comes to worse you can enter using Twitter: http://promoshq.wildfireapp.com/twitter/233/contests/307634

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Connie

This is a DEFINITE must try! I’m pretty sure I know already, but when do you add the quinoa flakes/breadcrumbs/almond flour? Or do you not need it?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Connie – thanks for catching that. I’ll get them to change ASAP. In the meantime, add everything to the bowl except the parsley and goat cheese.

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barb

i love the meatball idea. FYI, I just recently found out that Braggs liquid seasoning has tons of sodium! The company says it has 160 mg per half a teaspoon, which is 320 mg per teaspoon, which is 1000 per TB! I know!! I always figured it had none, so was shocked when I did the research.. So, i don’t use it as liberally anymore.

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks for the info, Barb! We don’t eat much pre-packaged foods so we can be a bit lenient on the sodium when we use braggs and such, but very good to know just how much is in there!

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Arielle

I’m curious about your opinion – I have a moderate allergy to whey, so I generally avoid all dairy with the exception of aged cheeses. Is trying goat milk dairy a better option? I assume it’s safer to just avoid the soft dairy all together. Do you know anyone with a whey allergy that can tolerate goat’s milk products?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Arielle – if you’re sensitive to whey or casein you will probably react to cow and goat milk. Each have the proteins. Although goat’s milk is a lot less allergenic, being sensitive to those proteins is somewhat of a done deal. You could test it out, but I’m assuming that you’ll have the same reaction. Sorry!

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Arielle

I thought so. Thanks!

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Dayanna

these look insanely delicious!!!

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