One of my favorite ways of eating pasta is spaghetti and meatballs. My mother-in-law makes a mean meatball. I’m going to have to get her to share her recipe one day. I’ll admit that I rarely make meatballs myself. We’ve also been transitioning more and more to poultry instead of red meat. The last time I actually cooked beef at home was probably steaks on the grill over the summer. So the answer when I’m jonesing for a meatball is to make turkey meatballs.
Now I have a confession to make. In the great debate over large meatballs vs small meatballs, I prefer small meatballs. I like to make the small, appetizer size. With the big ones, you get 2 or 3 on your plate. They just go too fast. But the same amount of meat that goes into one large meatball will make 3 or 4 mini meatballs. So it makes it feel like you are having more.
So I’ve got mini meatballs, and I’ve got turkey meatballs. What could I possibly be missing? Cheese! Now I love cheese and put it in nearly everything I cook. Hard cheeses such as Parmesean fit nicely into stir-fries and broth-based soups. Softer, melty cheeses work very well for meats, pasta or rice dishes, and cream-based soups.
Many recipes for meatballs call for a ratio of one egg per pound of ground beef or ground turkey. Since I try to keep my recipes geared towards cooking for just one or two, a pound of ground turkey is just too much. And half an egg is difficult to manage. Besides, I’ve found that ratio leads to dry turkey meatballs. So I use one egg per half pound of ground turkey. Combined with the loads of cheese, these turkey meatballs are pleasantly moist and tender.
Preparing and cooking turkey meatballs
Meatballs are one of my childhood cooking memories. My mother would usually unload any kid-friendly food preparation tasks on use to reduce her workload and keep us involved. Peeling potatoes, shredding cheese or cabbage, or just getting our hands all gooey with raw beef (or in this case turkey). Any kid who loves getting their hands dirty will love making meatballs! Younger kids might need help cracking the egg or measuring, but otherwise adults needn’t be involved until the are ready to go in the oven (the meatballs, not the kids!).
This recipe calls for baking the meatballs, but another popular way of cooking them is frying them in a pan. Since most of that fat comes from the meatball itself, baking vs frying really doesn’t change the amount of fat consumed. Fortunately for my waistline, these are turkey, so they are relatively low fat.
- ½ lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- ½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ c. breadcrumbs
- 1 TBSP garlic powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
- Roll mixture into 1″ balls. Place on baking sheet one inch part.
- Bake for 20 minutes until centers are cooked. You can cut one apart to check, or use a meat thermometer to check internal temperature at 165 degrees.
Once they come out of the oven, toss them in a pan with a couple cups of marinara sauce to simmer. Once the sauce is hot, you can use it to cover some spaghetti with it or make meatball subs.
Where do you fall in the meatball size debate: large or small?