Follow me as I dive into the world that is cooking! There will be mishaps, burns and feasts as you watch my progression from college-student fare (pizza rolls and ramen noodles) to (hopefully) goddess of the hearth! I am always open to new recipes and ideas, so feel free to contact me.

November 24, 2013

Turkey Meatballs and Smoky Tomato Sauce with a Pinch of Me...

I feel like every time I post on here, I'm apologizing for how long it's been since the last post... but seriously I do apologize to all of you who have been asking me about it!  Life is just nuts; you know how it is.
Anyhoo, meatballs!

Yes, turkey meatballs.  I know everything on the internet right now involves fried, basted or injected birds and leftover Thanksgiving with sauces etc., but this falls in neither category and is a staple recipe in my little family.  I started making these a few years back along with the smoky sauce and am always glad when I can pull a batch of them out of the freezer for an easy meal.  This is a pretty flexible recipe, allowing you to use pork or add different levels of smokiness to your sauce as you see fit.

Most of the time I just serve them as a bonus to our spaghetti, but you can pile leftover meatballs with a splash of sauce into a sandwich roll or a hoagie, melt some mozzarella or provolone in it, and top with bell peppers and a shake of oregano and kick Subway to the curb with your Italian meatball sandwiches!

I also feel you guys need to get to know me.   I thought you would want some cooking music to go with the recipe.  I was digging through some old stuff and found this song, and I want to share with you what my brain sounds like.  This is what I listen to when I'm creating these posts, thinking about food, melting crayons together, why clouds insist on looking like something other than just clouds, etc.

Also, here is my dog.  She's my kiddo.

Okay enough of me.  Here's the recipe after the jump:

Turkey Meatballs with Smoky Tomato Sauce

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine

Makes: 12 to 18 meatballs, 7 cups sauce    Takes:  45 mins or so

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C Italian breadcrumbs (I use leftover rosemary bread or plain and add Oregano)
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 lb 93/7 or fatter ground turkey (anything leaner doesn't hold)
  • 1/2 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage (you can use pork if needed), casings removed
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika (I use smoked salt+paprika) or paprika
  • 1 C Smoky Tomato Sauce
  • small fresh basil leaves (optional)
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a large rimmed baking sheet (or two small ones) and set aside.
2.  In a really big bowl, slightly beat eggs.  Add bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Add ground turkey and sausage; mix well.  Slightly wet your hands or use a wet ice cream scoop to make the meatballs, about 2-inch in diameter each.  Try to make them as close in size as possible when shaping so that they cook consistently.  Transfer to prepared baking sheet(s).
3.  In a small bowl, combine olive oil and paprika and brush over meatballs.  Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until cooked through.  While they are baking, make your sauce.

Smoky Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried or 2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 C tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika* or paprika
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt*
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
*I use smoked Applewood salt plus paprika and cut back a bit on the sea salt to balance it out.

1.  In a Dutch oven, heat olive oil over med-high heat.  Add the onion, basil, and oregano and cook 2 minutes.  Add garlic and continue to cook until onion is tender and garlic is fragrant, about 2 more minutes.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to med-low.  Simmer, covered, and stir occasionally for 20 minutes. 

Sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months, and can also be used as a dip for bread or over some breaded chicken. 

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