Recipe: Turkey Meatballs

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Freezer meals are a lifesaver. To me, a well-stocked freezer is key to mealtime success because you never know if that chicken has gone rancid (has happened), if the broccoli has gotten moldy (all the time), or if there is not enough rice left in the bag (whoops!). While I do stock my freezer with whole, finished dinners like baked ziti or salmon cakes, I also like to freeze one main recipe component–and my absolute favorite recipe–that can be used in many different ways: turkey meatballs.

These turkey meatballs are a fabulous freezer recipe because they can be made in bulk (I usually double this recipe!), freeze perfectly EVERY TIME, and they can be used in several different ways–whether they are topping pasta for dinner, served on rolls for sandwiches, or added to soups, these turkey meatballs are a delicious alternative to the traditional beef meatball. Plus, they are simple to whip up! So grab the recipe below and make them tonight.

These meatballs start with the flavorful “slurry” that infuses the meatball with different herbs and spices. It consists of an egg, some Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. (note: when I was taking this picture, I was making a double batch – that’s why there are two eggs photographed!)

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Whip the slurry ingredients together with a fork to thoroughly combine them. Please don’t skip this step–the spices and herbs won’t evenly distribute throughout the meat without this pre-mixing the slurry ingredients.

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When everything is combined, it is time to add in the ground turkey! The recipe calls for three pounds of turkey, but like I said, this recipe can easily be doubled (which I normally do). So, if you have the time and ingredients, I highly recommend making a huge batch to freeze. **Side Note about the turkey I’m using – we use the regular ground turkey, not the extra lean ground turkey breast. The meatballs need a bit of fat to keep them from getting dry and tough!

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Using a fork, break up the turkey and start to fold it gently into the slurry mixture. Then sprinkle over some seasoned dried breadcrumbs–although you can use any brand of seasoned breadcrumbs, I have found that 4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs give a better taste and texture to the meatballs (P.S.: no one has paid me to say this, it’s my personal kitchen finding!). Then ditch the fork and dive in with your impeccably clean hands. This allows you to really thoroughly combine all the ingredients.

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Now it’s time to make the meatballs! Using a tablespoon, portion out heaping tablespoons of the meatball mixture and roll it between the palms of your hands to form the meatballs.

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Place the formed meatballs onto a broiler pan set over a foil-lined rimmed cookie sheet. No broiler pan? No problem! A cooling rack set over a foil-lined rimmed cookie sheet works too! (we usually need to use one when we’re making a huge amount of meatballs).

When all the meatballs are on the pan, take a moment to wash your hands with soap and warm water. Then pop the pan into a 375 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.

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Then flip the meatballs over and return the pan to the oven. Bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes and then begin checking for doneness (which can vary depending on how big your meatballs are)–turkey meatballs should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. And then they’re all done!

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Eat them right away alongside some roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli for a quick dinner (yum!) or pop them on top of a plate of spaghetti (a classic!). Or let them cool completely and then place them into freezer zip-top bags and freeze for up to 1-2 months!

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Check out more of Catherine’s delicious recipes by visiting Simply A (RD) Foodie and come back here every Wednesday for new recipes!

Recipe: Turkey Meatballs

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Serves: 60-80

Serving Size: 3 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 pounds ground turkey--not the extra lean turkey breast!
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grab your broiler pan--cover the bottom pan (the one without holes) with heavy-duty aluminum foil and then place the top pan on top (the one with the holes). Spray the top pan with cooking spray. If you don’t have a broiler pan, cover a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil and then place a cooling rack on top--spray the cooling rack with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, add in eggs, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  3. Add in the ground turkey and begin to mix all the ingredients together with a fork. When the turkey and the liquid mixture just start to combine, sprinkle over the bread crumbs. Using your clean hands, mix the meatball mixture together to thoroughly combine.
  4. Using a tablespoon, measure out heaping portions and roll in between your two palms to create a meatball. Place the formed meatballs on to the broiler pan. When all the meatballs are formed, wash your hands with warm soap and water and then place the broiler pan into the oven.
  5. Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes, then remove them from the oven and flip them over. Return the pan to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes--after 15 minutes, begin to check for doneness (how long they take to cook depends on how big your meatballs are!). Turkey meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees before serving!
  6. Serve immediately or let cool and place into freezer bags and freeze for 1-2 months. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information:

270 calories | 18gm fat | 3gm saturated fat | 6gm carbohydrates | 357mg sodium | 0gm fiber | 24gm protein | 117mg cholesterol

http://im-perfectmagazine.com/recipe-turkey-meatballs/
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Catherine is a registered dietitian, whose love of all things food and cooking started during her study abroad in Italy. She believes that all foods fit into a healthy diet (even chocolate cake), food tastes better when you cook it yourself, and that a well-stocked pantry is a lifesaver. Check her out at Simply a (RD) Foodie.

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