I bought organic ground turkey from Whole Foods in July, thinking I'd make tacos, but, somehow, that never happened. When I told my mom, she politely suggested I buy new ground turkey for the meatballs, suggesting meat should be frozen for really only 3 months. As many of my friends will attest, I'm known to ask others for advice, listen to what they have to say, but generally do what I want anyway. This situation was no different. I looked up the USDA guidelines for how long you can freeze ground meat, and it said 3 to 4 months. I was within the limit! I let the turkey defrost in the fridge during the day. My friend Sadie came over for dinner, and she can also attest to how delicious these meatballs were!! and how EASY this recipe is!!
I preheated the oven to 400 degrees. First, I took the ground turkey and placed it in the bowl. Next, I took a medium sized onion and cut it in half, then finely chopped 1/2 of the onion which produced almost exactly 2 tablespoons. Threw them in the bowl with the turkey. Next, the bread crumbs: I took two slices of my gluten-free udi bread, cut off the crusts, cut them in half, and placed the slices in the mini prep food processor. Then clicked grind. VOLA, breadcrumbs. I needed one cup of breadcrumbs, 2 slices of bread made the 1 cup perfectly. Next, I minced (chopped really finely) one clove of garlic, and added it to the mix along with the salt, basil, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Next, I cracked the one egg, and finally added the Worcestershire sauce. Then came the fun part, the recipe says mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl, using a light touch. (Yes, I made sure to wash my hands before… hint hint to those following along). I broke open the yolk of the egg with a fork before starting. I found it made the egg easier to mix. I was very gentle in my mixing, but got the mixture as homogenous as possible. Then, my sous chef Sadie, lined the baking sheet with tin foil as my hands were covered in raw meat. Then she helped me start making the balls. (Because the meat had been frozen and then defrosted, it didn’t stick together as well as I’d remembered from helping my mom make them in the past!) We had 1.2 pounds of meat and made about 18 meatballs. We fit them all on one baking sheet and put it in the oven.
Then I got the stove top going. I reheated left over sauce and the pasta. My roommates were eating with us, they made regular pasta and I still had some leftover quinoa pasta. The apartment smelled amazing-- that seriously might be my favorite part of this whole process. After 20 min, the meatballs were done, luckily Sadie stopped me from putting one directly into my mouth as I pulled them out of the oven saving me from a third degree burn. I put them on a paper towel to drain, (although there wasn't much fat to drain off because the turkey was so lean) and then placed them into the sauce. All together, the whole process took about 45 minutes. Seriously. Not bad at all! The ground turkey, even after being frozen so long, still made delicious meat balls. And the sauce was GREAT reheated. It was a fun night, enjoyed the meal with a bottle of Malbec. I’m surprising myself with how much fun I’m having as I embark on this adventure with my mom! Saving money and eating good food—what could be better?