A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Italian Turkey Meatballs

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Italian Turkey Meatballs

My husband is a very good sport. I love to poke fun at him when we are at restaurants or when I ask him for meal requests while planning our weekly dinner menu-- I can count on him ordering or requesting one of maybe 6 different meals (including tacos, pizza, and Buffalo chicken anything, to name a few). What can I say? The man knows what he likes.

Another one of those meals is spaghetti and meatballs. He just can't get enough of this Italian American classic and I rarely oblige. Making meatballs from scratch takes a bit of planning and sometimes I don't feel like I have the time to pull together a spaghetti and meatball dinner and do it justice. However, Alex had a long week of late nights and the office preparing for a big deadline so I figured that giving in and making one of his favorite meals was a good way to lift his spirits. And it worked!

These turkey meatballs are pretty easy to prepare-- just make sure the meat is adequately thawed (this is usually where my lack of planning comes into play) before you get started. After you have cooked them, let them simmer in the sauce for as long as possible... it makes the meatballs tender and gives great flavor to the sauce. These meatballs also freeze well. I only cooked half of this batch and froze the others in a freezer safe zip-locking bag for a future dinner.

  • 1 lb. ground turkey *I use regular ground turkey, not turkey breast. Ground breast is healthier, but very dry.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs *You could also use plain breadcrumbs and sub in 1 Tbs. of dry Italian seasoning or a combo of dry basil, oregano, and parsley
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbs. milk *I use skim (since I always have it on hand) and it works fine
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey and next 8 ingredients through pepper flakes. Add 1 Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil to the turkey mixture and mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix.

Using your hands, form into about 16 meatballs.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and the canola to the pan and swirl to coat. Add meatballs to the pan and brown, carefully flipping occasionally to brown on all sides.

Once browned, transfer skillet full of meatballs to the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, until meatballs are just cooked through.

If you're serving these with marinara sauce and pasta, remove the skillet from the oven and drain most of the fat/oil from the pan. Return skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Add marinara to the skillet and stir to coat the meatballs. Place the lid on the skillet and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over pasta and serve warm.

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