I’ve been a bit absent lately, and for that I apologize! October was a blur—cooking classes, project deadlines and five weeks of shooting (hands-only) cooking videos for AllRecipes.com and Better Homes & Gardens (yes, it’s kind of like being a hand model, which is hilarious if you knew the average state of these klutzy digits). All that coupled with being a mom and having a husband on deadline, and whooooa, life was hectic. To help ease the chaos, each weekend I cooked a few make-ahead meals to get us through the week, usually a big batch of soup (this and this and this….) and some things that could be thrown in the freezer. These turkey and spinach meatballs made it into the rotation a few times. They’re simple and straightforward, but deeply satisfying and even nutritious—I consider them my workhorse meatballs (workhorse balls, ha!!). Stuffed with spinach, herbs and plenty of garlic, then roasted until browned, they’re easy and fuss-free. The cooked balls (hehe, can’t resist!) can be frozen for up to a month, making them perfect for when emergency strikes. Pop them into a saucepan with some homemade or store-bought marinara sauce to warm through (if you’re buying a jarred sauce, go with Rao’s, which is as close to homemade as I’ve found), and you’ve got an enormously pleasurable meal at your fingertips. Pile the meatballs on spaghetti that’s been tossed with olive oil, garlic and parsley, or stuff them into hoagies with mozzarella and basil. Either way, it’s an old-school kind of meal—comforting and damn tasty, especially after a long day when the last thing you want to do is cook.
Turkey & Spinach Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey (preferably dark meat)
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots (about 1 small shallot)
- 2 garlic cloves , grated on microplane
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup packed baby spinach , minced
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (I use Celtic sea salt)
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs (regular or gluten free)
- Optional: 1-2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- Homemade or store-bought marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
- Throw everything into a large bowl and mix together using a fork. You don’t want to work the meat too much, otherwise you could end up with tough balls (giggle, giggle). Form the meat in 15 1 ½ -inch balls (they’ll be sticky) and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do Ahead: The meatballs can be covered with plastic wrap (right on the baking sheet) and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before baking.
- Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes. Turn them over and bake 6-10 minutes longer, or until cooked through. Do Ahead: The cooked meatballs can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to a month. Defrost frozen meatballs in the fridge overnight.
- To serve, simmer the meatballs in marinara sauce until warmed through, and pile them on top of spaghetti or stuff them into hoagies. Serve with a glass of good Italian red wine for a mid-week pick-me-up.