Thursday, September 1, 2011
Never in my life had I made meatballs before until Bambino was born. Did I cook the meatballs so Bambino had a new finger food, you may ask? No, I did not. And it wasn't even for Bambino.
When Bambino first started eating I searched recipe books to learn how to make baby food. Multiple people recommended the Williams Sonoma Book Cooking for Baby. I was actually disappointed in the literature regarding making baby food (I mainly just needed a book that told me what she could eat and when and the Fresh Baby series is a great for this!), but I was piqued by the recipes towards the back that were geared toward toddlers. (Not for Bambino, but for Hubby!) There are quite a few recipes in there that both he and I were impressed with and cook regularly. Well, I cook regularly. This meatball recipe being one of them.
My previous experience with meatballs involves the the employee at Subway warming up meatballs in the microwave for a meatball sub while I was waiting in line to order my vegetarian sandwich sans the cheese. (People always find it odd that I literally order a vegetable sandwich. But it's good stuff!) And more recently I recall watching an episode of Rachael Ray (I know, with my distaste of Rachael Ray's cooking why was I watching her show? Her talk show makes her 30 Minute Meals Show appear Emmy worthy. Ouch. Harsh, I know.) and Teresa and Caroline from Housewives of New Jersey were on the show competing for the best meatball. I was disgusted by the vat of oil Caroline used to cook her meatballs, but was intrigued with the ingredients she used to place in the meat mixture. They're like small, circular meatloaves (Is that the plural of the word?), I thought.
Come to think of it, I hadn't made anything with ground meat, period. When I read this recipe and saw how easy and healthy it was, I thought I would give it a try.
I wasn't sure how much Hubby would like it because it was pretty healthy. Instead of breadcrumbs you use oats (perfect for you anti-carb folks) and fresh herbs. But his response was that if it was a hunk of meat, mmmm meat, he would like it. So I tried it and the result was a success!
The recipe is not on the Internet (elitist Williams Sonoma!) but click here to view the book. (No, I'm not advertising for the elitists, but I do have to protect myself.)
1/2 cup oats (I used Quaker Oats 1 minute cook oats)
1/4 cup milk (I use either Bambino's whole milk or Hubby's 1% milk)
1 lb lean ground turkey meat (the recipe calls for ground beef, but I usually don't cook red meat)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp dried dill (or 6 sprigs fresh dill)
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or from your spice jar)
1/4 tsp salt
1//4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (This is not in the original recipe, but since it is a healthy dish I like to add a treat for Hubby)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with PAM.
2. In a large bowl, combine oat and milk. Add garlic, dill, nutmeg, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and egg. Mix to combine.
3. Add ground meat and mix. (Always add your meat last. When meat is overworked it can come out very hard so make sure you thoroughly mix all ingredients first.) Roll meat mixture into balls the size of your choice (Sometimes I make mini-meatballs and sometimes I make them extra large) and place on greased pan.
4. Bake until browned. (The recipe calls to bake for 10-12 minutes, but I found I baked it for closer to 20-25 minutes).
Amateur cooking difficulty scale: 4
This one is another easy one! I usually take this and add it to marinara sauce and serve over pasta. Sometimes I make it and place in the freezer so on a busy day I can take it out along with some frozen marinara sauce and there's dinner! When cooking this in any type of tomato sauce, add meatballs, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes so the meatballs soak up the sauce.
You can even make this as an appetizer dish and serve with toothpicks!
Would you be willing to try healthy meatballs?