So last year we went and visited a childhood friend, Karrie and her husband Jamie for a night. They live close enough to go from one night and the boys LOVED going. Karrie made an amazing Italian dinner for us that has not become a family FAVORITE!
Giada De Laurentiis' Turkey Meatballs! I make a bunch and freeze them so we have them on hand for easy dinners later in the month too! This recipe makes about 3 dozen meatballs depending on the size you make them.
1/4 c plain dried bread crumbs (I use whole wheat bread and put them in the Cuisnart to make my own!)
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 T whole milk
3/4 c grated Parmesan Cheese
2/4 t salt
1 lbs ground turkey (I use the Jennie-O brand, the leanest you can buy!)
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
5 C Marinara Sauce (see my notes later on that!)
In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk and 1/2 the cheese, salt and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, but do not overwork the meat. Shape the meat into bite size balls.
In a large skillet, heat oil over a medium / high flame. Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving or turning the meatballs, until brown on the bottom(about 3 minutes). Turn the meatballs over and brown the otherside, about another 3 minutes. Continue to cook until all sides are brown.
NOW....If you want to freeze some, let them cool, COMPLETELY and put them in a zip lock bag. I store about 6 - 8 per bag so I have a few meals for the future.
If you are continuing with dinner, add the marinara sauce to the meatballs and bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes. Serve with pasta (we use whatever we have in the house!) and lots of Parmesan cheese!
As for the sauce to use....We have debates around here about that. Giada makes a good sauce, but in a pinch Karrie (and now me too) agree that Emerils Marinara that you can buy at the grocery store is JUST as good as hers (and easier!) I do make a "cheaters sauce in large batches for my freezer as well...it's super easy!)
My Cheaters Sauce
2 large cans of pureed tomato sauce
1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1T of red pepper flakes
1 pkg of frozen spinach (defrosted and drained well)
1 package of button mushrooms, diced, and sauteed
Salt & Pepper
Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer for 1 - 2 hours, stirring often. I let it cool completely and divide it into round GLADWARE containers for my freezer.
We will eat this tonight and have meat and sauce for at least 2 to 3 meals in the future! I love it when I have food in the freezer for those busy days / nights or if I am just not up to cooking!