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Mama’s Kitchen: Baked Turkey Meatballs

baked turkey meatball recipe

Some nights making two dinners, one for my husband and me and one for the Tiny Dancer is just too much. I like to make things in batches for the Tiny Dancer and freeze them. That way, when she’s unexpectedly hungry I could quickly reheat something rather than whip something up from scratch.

One of the things I make in batches and freeze are meatballs. I used to make my family’s recipe but my family uses ground beef and the meatballs are fried and I wanted to make a healthier alternative using turkey and baking the meatballs for the Tiny Dancer. My family’s recipe didn’t translate that well in turkey and baked so I thought I’d try to find another recipe I could work with. I found a Tyler Florence recipe to use as a base. He also used beef (and pork) and fried the meatballs but he had some extra ingredients that I thought would help keep the turkey moist in the oven. Here is my version of his recipe made for turkey and baking instread of frying.

Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 slices of white or wheat bread, crust removed
just enough milk to soak the bread
1 pound of ground turkey thigh (ground turkey breast gets really dry)
1 egg
1/4 grated cheese (Parmigiano, Pecorino, whatever you have)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.

Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Place the turkey in a large bowl. Add the egg and grated cheese and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl (crumbling the bread as you do it) along with the cooled onion mixture. Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don’t overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Shape the mixture into golf ball size meatballs.

Place the meatballs on a lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

These meatballs freeze really well – I just put them in a ziplock and seal tightly. I usually also have a stash of tomato sauce in the freezer as well. I’ll have an updated tomato sauce recipe coming soon but you can also reference my original tomato sauce recipe.

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