Friday, April 27

Easy Turkey Meatballs

When is the last time you had homemade meatballs? I mean homemade, like, at your house, by you. If you never have, get ready to try, and if you are pretty familiar with makin' meatballs, you should definitely give this easy, lighter turkey version a go.
Truly, you can make super delicious, moist and flavorful meatballs in less than an hour that don't taste like chewy meatloaf begging for an extra scoop of sauce. This meatball recipe is practically foolproof and only takes a few minutes to pull together. I'm not a huge fan of ground beef (unless it's organic and recently ground), so I choose to make mine with ground turkey. Bonus, it's healthier too. I've also used ground chicken, which is a bit more delicate.
 Roll em up.
 Brown em up.
 Give em a flip.
 Drench em.
Once cooked, these meatballs are great with spaghetti, in soup, sliced on pizza or eaten any other way you like. For an even healthier option, swap pasta for spaghetti squash or broccoli slaw. For the complete opposite, do what I did and bake them with penne and a good pound of cheese. I'm exaggerating. No I'm not. See above.

Easy Turkey Meatballs
1 package ground turkey (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
1/2 C breadcrumbs (italian version, plain or homemade are all great)
1/2 C good grated parmesan cheese (NOT the stuff in the green bottle)
1/4 of a medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 egg
1-2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 T milk
1 T chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or basil
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
At least 3-4 Cups of a prepared marinara sauce of your choice

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix with a fork or your hands until everything is completely incorporated.

Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. I use a dutch oven, which really works the best. If you do not have one, I suggest using a pot that is non-stick. Place a tablespoon of olive oil in the hot pan.

Working quickly, roll golf ball sized meatballs in your hands and place each one gently into the pan, being sure to get it in a spot with some oil. Continue to roll meatballs until all of the mixture is gone. The whole batch makes about 15-17 meatballs, depending on the size, of course. Since we usually eat only about half that amount, I take the extra uncooked, rolled meatballs and place them on a cookie sheet in my freezer for a few hours. Once frozen, I pop them in a plastic bag and save them for another night. You could also just cook them in two batches in your pan if you'd like.

After you have placed all of the meatballs in the pan, it should already be time to flip them. You are looking for a golden brown crust on each one. Starting with the first meatball you placed, turn each one over and allow to cook for another minute. Do this carefully as they are not cooked through and may break open. I use tongs to release the crust of the meatball from the pan and then flip it. If you are making all of the meatballs, remove the browned ones and start your second batch now. When the second batch is finished browning, add the first batch back into the pan and continue.

Take the marinara sauce you chose and pour it directly over the meatballs. Be careful, it will splatter, so turn the heat down as soon as you do it and use the lid to shield as much as possible. You want the sauce covering the meatballs most of the way, so add more sauce if you need it.
Bring the sauce to an almost boil and then turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover the meatballs and let them cook for about 20-30 minutes.

We ate this batch of meatballs as a bake, which was basically layers of cooked pasta, mozzarella, parmesan and cut up meatballs. I baked it for 30 minutes, then left it under the broiler for 5 extra minutes to create the crispy, cheesy topping. Ah.May.Zing.


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