Turkey Meatballs are Not Lame (Part 1 of the Spaghetti and Meatballs Series)

I really love meatballs. They are warm, delicious, and slightly spicy comfort food. Meatballs in tomato sauce are superior to regular old meat sauce in just about every way.

I know what you might be thinking: spaghetti and meatballs are for little kids or, maybe, anyone can grab freezer meatballs, a jar of sauce, and boil up some spaghetti. But freezer meatballs and a jar of sauce are not what I am talking about.

I’m talking about meatballs you make yourself and tomato sauce you make yourself and when you combine them with delicious carby spaghetti noodles they are life-changing. I started with a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa (she won’t steer you wrong – except please don’t make those cranberry-orange scones) and these meatballs are to die for. Seriously, if you are even thinking of making meatballs, you want to use this recipe.

My Spin on Ina’s Spicy Turkey Meatballs

I'm very sorry about this photo.  I don't know what to tell you -- meatballs are not very photogenic.

I’m very sorry about this photo. I don’t know what to tell you — meatballs are not very photogenic.

Here’s what you need:

Four slices of whatever kind of bread you normally eat (we don’t eat a lot of bread so I keep a loaf wrapped tightly in the freezer)

1/3 c. skim milk (or milk of choice)

2 lbs. ground turkey meat

½ lb. Italian sausage (you can get it in the meat section under PORK)

½ cup grated aged asiago cheese (INA you are a GENIUS)

½ tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

½ Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 eggs

Here’s what you do:

Grab your broiler pans and heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Throw the four slices of bread into the food processor and pulse until it looks like bread crumbs.

Put the bread crumbs into the bottom of a huge bowl and pour the milk on top. Walk away for 5 minutes.

5 minutes later, walk back into the kitchen. On top of your milky bread crumbs add your turkey meat, sausage, cheese, spices, salt, and pepper. Mix it up (Ina’s recipe said to use your hands here but I didn’t because GROSS!) and then put the olive oil and eggs on top and mix it up more.

Now, you have two options. You can scoop and roll your meatballs, freeze them on a cookie sheet for one hour, and then put them into a freezer bag for safe keeping until it’s time to cook. Or, you can scoop and roll all of your meatballs, cook them all right now, and then freeze your leftovers on a cookie sheet for one hour and pop them into a freezer bag to reheat later. I chose option two, the cook-them-now-eat-them-now option.

Grab your scoop. Do you have a scoop? I use the same size for meatballs that I do for chocolate chip cookies. Or you can just use spoons. Anyway – scoop out your meatballs and line them up on the broiler pan so that any extra fat can drip out the broiler pan holes. (Sorry, there really isn’t a good way to write that sentence.)

Bake them for 45 minutes until they are golden and crispy. They will look like regular old meatballs, but they will be delicious. Like impress your inlaws delicious. Enjoy your new meatball-making fame.

This recipe is a modified from Ina Garten’s Spicy Turkey Meatballs and Spaghetti recipe available at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/spicy-turkey-meatballs-and-spaghetti-recipe.html.

This post is number 21 of my #write31days project 31 Days in the Pink-Briefcase Kitchen. You can follow along with the series each day in October. An archive of posts is available here, or just click on that big button on the right sidebar.



  1. Sarah Kerner

    I have a meatball recipe from my mom that uses Parmesan and they are SO GOOD. I’m now drooling and wishing I had the ingredients for this on hand at home!

  2. Suzanne Terry

    I love the Ina Garten fangirling. I haven’t made meatballs in a long time, but these make me want to do it.

    • Mary Beth

      In an alternate universe I AM INA GARTEN and my cookbooks and cooking shows draw millions and soccer moms will pay $8 for my brownie mix. (Side note: do not pay eight dollars for brownie mix. Ever.)

  3. Pingback: Using the Internet to Make Delicious Food | Pink-Briefcase

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