There are many things that I don’t ever really remember eating until I met my husband. It’s not because he had pushed them on me, more along the lines that I had never eaten them growing up. Like mac and cheese, chicken and sour cream enchiladas, banana pancakes… I had never eaten or even thought of trying these things until he was around. Now I make them and LOVE them.
Another thing I never had very often while growing up was meatballs. The only time I ever got them was when we would go to a restaurant in Southern California and they had appetizers in their waiting area of meatballs and hand made potato chips. I also decided to change up the normal recipe and go for something slightly healthier: ground turkey. The one problem with the turkey is that it can get dried out easily, so you have to make sure there is enough moisture in the meatballs to keep a good texture.
When I first started making meatballs, I would cook them on the stove top in some watered down marinara sauce. The sauce would thicken back up and the meatballs would get some of flavor from the sauce. The only problem I had with this is the meatballs had a tendency to get dry.
So this last time I made a batch during one of the days my husband was playing video games with a friend, I baked them instead. Not only did they turn out great but it was also fun to torture them with the smell of yummy meatballs for quite a while.
When I make meatballs, I always found it hard to make sure I had them all similar in size. As my mother used to say about me, the only thing consistent about me is my inconsistency. Sad but true. However I was able to finally get around that problem by using one of my favorite tools, the cookie scoop. It holds roughly a tablespoon so it makes nice and smaller sized but even meatballs. It also makes great cookies!
Though after using the scoop, you don’t have to roll them into perfectly formed little balls, but since I’m just a tad bit obsessive, I had to.
This time I made a double batch, which covered two large dinner plates, making more than 80 meatballs. It was a LOT of meatballs.
After getting all of them ready, I then decided to sear them in a plan with some olive oil to give some more flavor and cover them lightly in oil. I was very paranoid about making sure they had enough moisture so they wouldn’t get dried out in the oven.
After searing them, I completely filled my largest baking sheet with meatballs. Like I said, I made a huge batch. It took me around 5 batches in the pan to sear them all.
Then off they went into the oven to bake to their beautiful perfection. The guys at this point were going crazy because it was lunch time and they wanted food. The meatballs turned out golden brown and delicious. They also were so incredibly moist that I almost couldn’t believe it was the same recipe I had always used. The difference between pan cooked meatballs and baked ones, I really don’t think I’ll go back to the pan cooked ones. I love it.
Serves 5-6, Makes 40 or so meatballs.
- 1/4 cup instant oats
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
- 1-2 cups marinara sauce
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl, add the instant oats and crumble with fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Mix in the bread crumbs.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turkey, egg and the remaining spices. Mix either with a spoon or with bare hands until everything is incorporated.
- Roll mixture into the desired size for meatballs, about one tablespoon size or larger.
- Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When pan is warm, add the meatballs making sure they are all touching the bottom of the pan.
- Cook on medium-high heat until partially cooked and nicely seared, about 5 minutes, turning the meatballs so as not to burn them.
- Remove the meatballs from the pan and place on a foil lined cooking sheet brushed with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Toss the meatballs with marinara sauce and serve with pasta.