Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Freezer Favorite: Perfect Turkey Meatballs

Growing up, I never ate spaghetti and meatballs, pot roast or macaroni and cheese, which many consider the trinity of family dinners. My parents were more the type to make roast chickens and other meat roasts or steaks and lamb chops with salads and other veggies. So, it wasn't until I got to college that my dumbfounded roommates introduced me to these wonders of American cuisine. At the time, they came from the diner or out of a box, but these days I make them myself from scratch and mainly from local and organic meats, produce and dairy.

The easiest to prepare of the trinity is turkey meatballs. I make a huge batch, cook up a few for dinner that night, and then freeze individual meatballs for an easy last minute dinner another time (exactly like I do with my Lebanese Kofte Meatballs with Tomato Sauce). The meatballs are pretty straightforward with lots of garlic, onions and parsley, and perfectly balanced. After a wild Autumn day of work, playground, errands and housekeeping, it's simply wonderful to settle down with a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, a glass of Chianti and baby girl by my side asking for "mah cheese peese?"

Perfect Turkey Meatballs
(You'll thank me on those nights when you don't feel like going out or spending an hour in the kitchen. Plus, if you have children, they're guaranteed to eat it up. Enjoy!)

What You'll Need:
3 medium onions chopped
3-4 large garlic cloves minced
10 sprigs of thyme
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey (equal parts white and dark meat)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (Whole Wheat if you can find them)
1 teaspoon salt
3 medium eggs (or 2 large ones. Add another if it isn't binding properly)
1 cup parsley chopped

Set a frying pan over a medium heat, add a splash of olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onions and thyme and, after a minute, the garlic. Cook until the onions start to brown and caramelize. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients, including the onion mixture, mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands.

To cook, set a frying pan over a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Form two inch and a half meatballs per person and place them in the pan. Brown the meatballs on all sides and then simmer them covered in tomato sauce until cooked all the way through. Another 15-20 minutes.

To freeze, you can do this a number of different ways, but I lay out a sheet of Press'n Seal wrap (not a plug, I just like it), then I form the meatballs and lay them down about an inch apart on the wrap. See Lebanese Kofte Meatballs with Tomato Sauce for a pic of my method.

 Approximate Dinner Cost
• Groceries - $18.00
• Leftovers – Expect 18 servings at a $1 per serving.

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  1. I always make my meatballs with turkey and now if we order spaghetti and meatballs in a restaurant the regular ones taste weird to us!

  2. Love meatballs. and you're right, our kids will eat them up!

  3. Thanks! We were turkey converts a few years ago and I totally agree, the other ones do taste weird now!

  4. I look forward to trying these, I know they will be a big hit in my house!

  5. Being from Sweden, my husband craves meatballs every once and a while. I'm going to make these and absolutely knock his socks off. Thanks!

  6. I'll definitely have to try these, since I don't eat meat. They look yummy. When they were little, my children were astounded when they saw me actually making my own meatballs one day(we used the frozen store-bought ones in the interest in saving time). They didn't know that meatballs came in any other form than frozen-in-a-bag. I know, embarrassing...

  7. Always looking for good recipes w/turkey as I don't eat much red meat. Thanks, Peggy!

  8. Thanks everyone! I actually like the turkey way better than beef or pork or veal. The flavor is more delicate.

  9. I do something almost the same but add about 3/4 cup food processed carrots and 1/2 cup cooked spinach and tomato puree to up the veggie content for baby girl's boyfriend, baby boy.:-P Also, I bake them.

  10. Oh! I love that idea. I'll try it the next batch. Baby boy! I bet he just eats them up.



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