Life Lesson #2965 – The freezer is your friend
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One of the tricks that saves us, time and time again, is having a variety of pre-cooked protein in the freezer. A quick meal at the ready. Additions to sandwiches, wraps, salads, as a main with steamed veggies on the side, on top of brown rice or pasta with a few veggies and a kiss of cheese for good measure
We find it faster than carry-out on a busy evening, not to mention much less expensive. Taking the guess-work out of how our meal has been prepared
So I couldn't help but smile as I read this month's Bon Appetit. Jenny, from dinneralovestory, wrote about having two young children immersed in the world of soccer, and ideas for the scramble to put dinner on the table when everyone gets home.
Every household has its own version, do we not?
So this weekend her recipe for meatballs found its way to our menu, and I'm so glad they did.
To say we were shocked at how delicious they were is an understatement. Turkey meatballs can often be dense and crumbly. Not these. They were incredibly moist, with a great flavor profile. (Whatever you do, please add the fennel and lemon zest because they really did make a difference)
Her tomato sauce is post-worthy by itself, but somehow I couldn't bring myself to add it to the meal. Wanting instead, for the light and different flavors of the meatballs to shine through. A bed of pasta and veggies did the trick, along with a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil, an extra sprinkling of parmesan topped them off.
I have a feeling they'll be a staple in our freezer for a long time to come
ps: More fun recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturdays
pps: A few tricks/ideas I've found when making meatballs
My favorite method of cooking comes from Alton Brown. He first places the balls on a mini-muffin tray (making them big enough, so they don't touch the bottom of the hole) and bakes them.
Chilling the mix first makes the forming process a little easier and also helps them keep their shape while cooking
It's best to reheat them from frozen, again, helping them keep their shape
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~ Adapted from Bon Appetit
Turkey Spinach Meatballs
- ½ Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ small onion, chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
- splash of white wine, optional
- 1 ½ lb ground turkey
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed in paper towels to remove excess moisture
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan
- ½ cup dried breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- In a small saucepan sauté the chopped onion with ½ Tbsp olive oil, until beginning to soften. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add spinach and cook a minute or so more.
- (At this point, for a bit of added flavor, it's nice to add a small splash of wine and let the mix reduce a minute or two more)
- Let cool
- Add all of the ingredients (minus the turkey) to your food processor & pulse two or three times
- In a large bowl, using your hands or a fork, gently mix with the ground turkey until just combined. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour
- Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups (you should have about 20)
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. (For an added bit of crisp and brownness, they can be placed under the broiler for a few seconds)