Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I have been very consciously trying to get back to my menu planning, grocery list keeping days. You know, the ones before you had two crazy kids under foot all day long. Remember those???

It also helps to justify my obsession with tearing recipes out of magazines and leaving them strewn throughout the house, wherever I happened to be reading at the time. It would probably justify this practice even more if I ever actually followed a recipe....but I don't....EVER!

It's not that those recipes don't get to put use...they just don't get followed. They are more of an inspiration. Like my real life pinterest board...all over my house:)

So, to get back to the point, I carried my carefully plotted grocery list into the store today and began to cross things off one by one. [Believe it or not, there was once a time in my life when I was able to organize that grocery list by the departments in the store...produce, cold cases, etc. But that day has passed...oh well!]

Included in that list were all of the ingredients necessary to make meatballs "using" a new recipe I found in the March 2012 issue of Cooking Light. Which in this case, simply meant that I was going to add ricotta cheese to my meatball mixture because the magazine said it would make the meatballs mouth-wateringly moist.

And that's when I saw it...a sale! On lean ground pork! $1.00 a pound! Seriously...a whole pound of ground pork for just a buck! Oh, this meatball making adventure just turned into a expedition! Why make a batch of meatballs for dinner, when I could make 6 batches and freeze them for later use???

And let me tell you...I've made meatballs before. Pork, turkey, lamb, beef, combos, you name it. But these meatballs are so seriously delicious that the 6 batches may not make it to the freezer. YUM!

And, I think you probably saw the homemade marinara mess that Belle and I made this summer. That's some seriously delicious marinara, but it was all in the freezer. So, I bought a jar of Mid's Meatless sauce. I'm not much of a fan of jarred pasta sauces. Typically, I use big cans of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes and make my own. (You have to save the homemade stuff for really special occassions, 'cause it's a pain to make!) But I had read, in Cooking Light again, that there are some decent brands out there, so I thought I would give it a shot. If I was going to spend half the day making 6 bazillion meatballs then I didn't want to be slow simmering a sauce all day too. And you know what? This sauce is pretty darn good. It's Sicilian style (I won't pretend to know what that means), and relatively thick for a meatless sauce. And it was perfect with these meatballs.

So, recipe...

Inspired by the Italian Meatball Sliders recipe in Cooking Light, March 2012: I've changed the quantities to make enough to freeze for future meals. The directions for tonight's dinner are pretty much straight from the magazine. There is also a great spinach salad recipe with this in the magazine...we had it as well, and it was delish.

Many, Many Meatballs

Makes approximately 50 2-inch meatballs.


6 shallots - diced

8 cloves garlic - minced

15 oz. container of part skim ricotta

2 cups Panko bread crumbs

1 cup parsley - chopped

2 lbs. lean ground pork

1 lb. ground turkey breast

5 links sweet Italian turkey sausage - casings removed

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. kosher salt

4 eggs

Saute the shallots and garlic until softened. Then combine all ingredients and mix well. Form two inch balls. * See Special Note below* Heat large stainless steel skillet (I'm sure other types of pans would work here, that's just what I used) over medium low heat. Use an oil mister to spray pan. Reserve enough meatballs for dinner tonight. Then, working in batches, brown remaining meatballs on all sides and place on baking sheet. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake until cooked through, approximately 40 min. Cool completely. Freeze on a clean baking tray, then transfer to freezer containers and return to freezer.

For tonight's dinner - Slightly flatten reserved meatballs. Add to warm pan and cook 3 minutes on each side. Add 1 1/2 cups marinara to pan and cover. Simmer 10 minutes or until cooked through. Serve on warmed slider buns (I used soft wheat dinner rolls from our grocery store bakery). You could top with a slice of fresh mozzarella and some fresh basil leaves too.

Special Note: A friend of mine shared that he always makes his meatballs in the oven. He skips the browning and bakes them on parchment paper. He swears they are crispy and delicious. And I trust him...he's a super cook and baker, so I'd highly recommend you give that method a shot...I know I will be! It will save you tons of time standing at the stove, browning batches of meatballs. You will still want to cook the ones for tonight on the stovetop though so they can simmer in the sauce.

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