Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

 

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

I like meatballs. My family likes meatballs. I don’t however, make meatballs very often because it’s one of those foods I have a weird mental block with, thinking they are far harder than they really are. When I DO make them, I realize that I was wrong, but in between times, it’s like, “Ooo, I want meatballs. Wait… no, I don’t. They’re a pain in the tushie.”

But I was in the grocery store the other day and they yet again had ground turkey in the reduced section. They ALWAYS have ground turkey there. Someone in the ordering department needs to get with the program and stop buying so much ground turkey, then they could possibly sell it at normal price. But I digress. They had some, so I bought some on a whim. I do many things on whims. I like to think it makes me interesting. It probably really just makes me extremely confusing and annoying, but humor me. I normally don’t even use ground turkey, finding it too dry and flavorless, but man, did I manage to shake that stereotype with these meatballs!

These turned out really, really good. Like worlds best meatball type of good. You of course, after trying them, might not agree, but hey, I’m the one naming them, so worlds best it is. ๐Ÿ˜€ These are tender and moist with a LOT of flavor and a mild bite of spicy red pepper to them. They aren’t difficult at all. These delicious bites are perfect with pasta, which is what I used them for this time, but I can easily imagine them in a small loaf of crusty bread, covered in red sauce and a ton of melted cheese.

You know the drill… ๐Ÿ™‚

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (this is one of those times it’s fine to use the inexpensive powdery stuff. It helps bind the meatballs)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons minced garlic, depending on your love for garlic. I used a lot.
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil for the pan (more for each batch)
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients up through the salt.
  2. Use your hands to mix well.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into 30 meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Obviously, if you want smaller, go smaller, or bigger, same thing.
  4. Pour the olive oil into a large deep pan. Heat for about a minute, until the oil is getting shimmery, then places meatballs in a single layer. Cook over medium heat until nicely browned, about 3 minutes, then flip them and brown the other side. If you’re planning to add them to pasta sauce and cook further, stop there so as to not end up with overcooked, tough meatballs. Otherwise, cook until no longer pink inside (an internal temp of 165)
  5. Clean the pan out between batches and use a bit more oil each time or you end up with burned bits on the bottom that cling to the meatballs.
  6. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon, letting the excess grease drain and serve with pasta, on sandwiches, as an appetizer, plain… whatever trips your trigger.
Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs 2

Worlds Best Italian Turkey Meatballs 2

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake



Sometimes, you just want easy. You either aren’t up to or don’t have time for pasta sauce made with organic home grown tomatoes and fresh basil. You don’t want to fuss with rolling tiny meatballs using beef that you raised yourself, slaughtered humanely (not even sure what that MEANS) and added freshly grated Parmesan to…from cheese that you made yourself.

You just want….easy. Quick. Tasty. Get me in the kitchen and out. Maybe even make enough at once that I can freeze some for another time when I’m feeling extremely lazy too busy to fuss with a huge multi course meal.

So you cheat a little. You buy some good quality jarred sauce for your pasta and doctor it up. You buy meatballs from the frozen aisle at the grocery store. You add in some spices, some delicious Italian sausage, toss it all with your favorite pasta and voila… dinner for tonight and if you make the whole recipe of what I’m about to share, dinner for 2 to 3 more nights in the future, all nicely frozen. Just wrap tightly in foil, label and freeze. Then the next time you don’t feel like cooking because you instead want to veg out in front of netflix and an orgy of Criminal Minds… I mean, next time life gets busy and you are teaching little Suzy to play the Cello while also supervising little Tommy’s soon to be award winning science fair experiment, you’ll have dinner ready to thaw and toss in the oven.

You’re welcome.

You know the drill…..

Keep in mind that this makes a lot deliberately. if you want just enough for one meal with maybe leftovers for lunch, cut it in half.

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

  • 2 lbs of your favorite tube type pasta (I used Rigatoni), cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 2 lb bag frozen Italian style meatballs, thawed
  • 1 lb Italian sausage links, cooked, then coarsely chopped or sliced thin
  • 2 24 ounce jars of pasta sauce (just use your favorite flavor)
  • 1 15 ounce jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/4 pounds Mozzarella cheese, grated (please don’t use the pre-grated stuff. it doesn’t melt as well)
  • Parmesan cheese for grating on top
  • If making full batch, foil pans and foil for long term freezer storage
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 13×9 dish (I personally prefer glass because it doesn’t leave any ‘off” tastes in food) with cooking spray.
  2. Pour the olive oil in a LARGE pot. Add in the chopped onion, green pepper and minced garlic. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the veggies are limp and tender, but not browned. Dump the meatballs and Italian sausage in and stir for just a minute or two.
  3. Pour in the pasta sauce, the Alfredo sauce and the red wine. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and give it all a good stir. Let come to a simmer, stirring occasionally.ย  Now, here’s why I had you use a LARGE pot.
  4. Dump in the cooked pasta. Use a large wooden spoon to stir it all up and get the pasta all coated with sauce.
  5. Sprinkle about 3/4 of the Mozzarella cheese into the pasta, about half of that amount at a time. Stir to combine and then after it is well mixed, add the next part.
  6. Scoop or pour about 1/4 of the mixture into the prepared 13×9 baking dish. Divide the rest between two to three greased square foil pans.
  7. Sprinkle the one you’re using now with the remainder of the grated Mozzarella cheese as well as some grated Parmesan and bake in a 350 degree oven until browned and bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Wrap the foil pans tightly in a double layer of foil, label the contents and freeze. To reheat them, just set the pan in the fridge early on the morning you want to make it, then about an hour before you’re ready to eat, place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 35 minutes, still wrapped. Unwrap the dish, sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and continue baking until browned and bubbly.

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Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake

Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce

Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce

Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce




Sometimes, you just come upon (and yet still change lol) a recipe that is absolutely amazing. I was looking through an old issue of Bon Appetit (I have approximately 40,00000 old magazines. It’s a sickness.) when I saw the recipe that has ultimately ended up here with all of its changes. As it was, while it was definitely intriguing; I mean….butter… But it seemed….lacking, rather boring. But still interesting enough to try. I had never even considered making pasta sauce in the oven. But what a game changer this is. No splatters all over the stove and oh…my…gosh….the flavor of this is fantastic. The tomatoes that roast in all their juices in the oven, mixed with the butter, the sausage (my addition), the garlic, the onions, oregano and basil (also mine)…honest. You want to try this recipe. Trust me on this one. You throw this all together after cooking the sausage and that’s it… just cook it. You end up with a thick, rich, full of flavor pasta sauce and no messy stove top. Win Win.

My husbands reaction (he was skeptical) was “you can make this any time you want”. Even my five year old ate all of his serving. One thing. I am posting this how I made it. The original was half the amount of tomatoes. I doubled it and that was just enough to serve five of us with my husband having two servings.ย  I did however, not use the full amount of butter doubled. It would have been a full stick and at 3/4 of a stick, it seemed like more than enough.

Go. Make this. Thank me later.

You know the drill….. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pasta With Butter Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 2 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced
  • 1 lb Italian sausage links
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (cuts the acidity of the tomatoes)
  • black pepper to taste
  • cooked pasta (I used 2 12 ounces boxes of spaghetti)
  • Parmesan cheese for serving
  1. Cook your sausage in a pot of simmering water until tender. Then drain the water, lay the links in the pan and brown them all over. Let cool until easily handled and then cut into bite sized slices.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400. Dump the tomatoes in a large deep baking pan and break them up. Easiest way I’ve found over the years is to pierce the back of the tomatoes with your finger cause if you try to just break them, you’ll end up with a face full of juice. Add in the rest of the ingredients, ending with the butter.ย  Stir well to mix.

    This is what it looks like before you put it in the oven

    This is what it looks like before you put it in the oven

  3. Bake at 400 for 35 to 50 minutes or until the sauce has gotten almost jammy in consistency, stirring once or twice during cooking. If you like a looser pasta sauce, take it out sooner. If you like a thicker one, cook longer. Simple as that.

    Here's what it looks like when it comes out (I know; the photo stinks)

    Here’s what it looks like when it comes out (I know; the photo stinks)

  4. Serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

 

 

You Say Pizza I say…Well… I Also Say Pizza. Sorry.

Growing up in Chicago I learned to love pizza. Contrary to popular legend (and silly TV travel and food shows that keep the myth alive) not all of Chicago pizzas are deep dish. Deep dish has its place sure, but ya know what? I didn’t have deep dish pizza until I was an adult. All the pizza I had as a kid growing up on “Da Sout’ Side” was thin crust and cut in squares not wedges thankyouverykindly. To this day, it’s how I prefer my pizza. On that note, tell me/us about YOUR favorite pizza. What kind of crust, what toppings? My favorite is a thin crust with sausage, mushrooms and extra cheese. Preferably from Artese pizza in Chicago… which I haven’t had since I was about 15 *sobs*. These days I settle for chain pizza because the rural part of Kentucky isn’t exactly a hot spot for good pizza. We also make it home made. My hubby is the pizza king around here when it comes to traditional. I’m the one who likes to shake things up and do it differently. Gee… imagine that. ME? Not doing things the normal way? Nahhhhhhhhh.

One thing I’ve been making for years is what we call pizza bread. Basically, it’s what they call Stromboli or Calzone (both different but similar enough that I feel no guilt using the names more or less interchangeably. Doubt the pizza police are gonna get me ๐Ÿ˜› ) but…not. Calzones are usually a half moon shape and strombolis are usually rolled. Mine is neither. It’s one big huge…well… stuffed pizza.ย  But I cheat by using frozen bread dough. This IS me after all. You know I try to bring you things that are tasty, usually quite bad for you hehehe but as easily done as possible. No exception here.

This is cheesy and gooey and meaty and saucy and…ok, so obviously it has all the flavor levels of pizza.ย  Suffice it to say that it’s yummy. This is great for a light meal with salad or cut into strips for snacks while watchingย  TV or hidden somewhere where nobody else can find it and heated up when you’re alone…

 

I have specific filling ingredients listed here but you can sub your favorites. Just be careful not to overstuff. No matter how well you think you have it sealed, put too much sauce, too much cheese or too much filling in it and it WILL break open and make a mess.

Stuffed Pizza Bread

  1. 2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed (lay it out on foil, lightly grease it & leave till thawed)
  2. 1/2 cup pizza sauce (spaghetti sauce works fine too)
  3. 1/2 cup Tyson Italian Sausage crumbles
  4. 4 ounces (about 10 thin slices) hard salami
  5. 4 ounces Canadian bacon
  6. 12 ounces shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
  7. 1/2 to 2/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  8. 1 large beaten egg for egg wash
  9. 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella, provolone or “pizza” cheese
  10. Basil Oil for drizzling and extra sauce for dipping if desired
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured board (or counter like I do ๐Ÿ˜› ) roll one loaf of the thawed dough out to about 8×11 or the approximate size of a sheet of copy paper.
  • Transfer to a large greased cookie sheet.
  • Layer the dough with the pizza sauce and toppings.
  • Roll out other loaf to about one inch larger in diameter than you did the other.
  • Brush beaten egg all around the edges of the filled loaf.
  • Carefully drape other loaf on top and seal edges with your fingers. Fold under if necessary.
  • Brush top of stuffed pizza thingamajigger with beaten egg then sprinkle with shaved Parmesan. Drizzle with basil oil.
  • Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  • Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting or you’ll just have cheese everywhere. Sounds yummy yes, but rather unfair to the poor sods who get the middle of the loaf with no cheese in it ๐Ÿ˜›

Real men Do SO eat Quiche!

Asparagus Canadian bacon Quiche

The Italian Quiche

I know this for a fact because every time I tie my husband to a chair and force bites of quiche into his mouth he eats it. So there! That theory shout outta the water. I’m pretty sure the threats and the rubber chicken I smack him with have nothing to do with it. He LIKES it. He really likes it!

I have never figured out how quiche got a reputation for being a food only women like. I mean really? It has meat and cheese and eggs in it. I know of no men who don’t like all of those in any combination as frequently as they can manage to eat them.

Quiche can be one of those meals that either turns out fantastic and you find yourself saying that you really need to eat it more often. Or it can be something that you eat and say “ehhh; not sure what all the fuss is about”.ย  I can’t help but feel that part of the problem is that it can tend towards bland. Take some swiss cheese, take a little bacon, throw it in a crust with eggs and milk or cream and call it done. Hello?! Can we say borrrrringgggggg?

That’s not to say that a nice Swiss cheesy bacony quiche can’t be good but it can always be helped along. Or better yet, just use different filling ingredients. Nothing says you have to use bacon or at least not ONLY bacon. When I make quiche, I make two of them and I make the fillings a little more exciting. I save the Swiss and bacon for the French Onion Bread Pudding I make. That recipe will probably go up come Autumn.

Today I made one with Asparagus, Canadian Bacon, various herbs and spices as well as a ton of Swiss cheese. The other has Italian Sausage, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and spices.

One tip before I get to the recipes. It is very easy to overfill pie pans when you make quiche. You see it and think it needs more cheese. Or it needs more meat. Well, don’t do it. All you will end up with is a mess. If you want to do that and I have done it before, just make extra filling base (the egg/milk/cream mixture) and put it into a 3 quart baking dish with no crust and call it a Frittata. ๐Ÿ˜› Also, make sure you put a baking pan under each quiche just in case of overflow.

REAL MANS QUICHE

AKA

SUN DRIED TOMATO ITALIAN QUICHE

&

ASPARAGUS & CANADIAN BACON QUICHE

Think I had a long enough title there?

  • 2 ready made 9 inch deep dish pie crusts (sure you can make your own but…ummm…why?)
  • For the Italian Quiche-
  • 2 Italian sausage links, cooked and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Italian Medley
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Basil
  • For the Asparagus & Canadian Bacon Quiche-
  • 1/4 lb asparagus, chopped and 6 stalks cut in half to garnish
  • Half of a 6 ounce package Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup Swiss cheese, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • For the quiche base
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Layer your filling ingredients in the pie shells, ending with the cheeses and herbs and spices in each shell. Like This: *points down

3) In a large bowl, mix together your eggs, milk , cream, sour cream, salt and pepper.

4) Carefully ladle the mixture evenly over the filling ingredients.

5) Garnish the Asparagus quiche with the reserved Asparagus.

6) Bake both at 350 degrees until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Check after 35 minutes because ovens are different and annoying.

Italian Quiche

Asparagus Canadian bacon Quiche