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Turkey Meatballs Florentine

Turkey Meatballs Florentine Picture

Prep time:     Cook time:     Total time:
Yield: 6 - 8 servings

These Turkey Meatballs were amazingly moist, thanks to the spinach and ricotta. I honestly, never thought ground turkey could be so good. My surprise really is that me, Cap'n Ron, a Red Meat eater, would actually make these again. That's how good they are.

I've seen all these people touting the use of ground turkey in burgers, meatballs, and a ton of other things that I would use either beef or pork. Every time, though, the talk is about how dry ground turkey can be. I set out to see if I could make something that used this overly lean meat, and not have the final product be dry, with the texture of a hockey puck.

I succeeded! I never thought that I would like anything made from ground turkey. Yet, here I am eating Turkey Meatballs, and enjoying them!

Did I have problems in making this, not really, only the cooking time and temperature. I made one meatball at a time, until I decided to add the Parmesan Cheese mix to the outside, add the sauce and cheese, then it was getting the oven hot enough. 400 degrees was perfect. The inside got cooked, and the outside was jus a little crunchy, thanks to the Parmesan Cheese.

As far as leftovers go, I made way too many of these, so I placed the extra raw meatballs on a 1/4 sheet pan and set them in the freezer overnight. The next day, I placed them in a plastic freezer bag, and know that they won't all clump together. I re-heat them from frozen and just give them an extra 15-20 minutes to thaw in the oven while they're cooking. The added benefit will be that the outside will have just a little bit more crunch that when they were made the first time.

So, now that I've accomplished making Turkey Meatballs moist, it might be time to try a Turkey Burger, Spicy Cajun flavored of course.

    MeatBall Mixture
  • 1 Pound, Chopped Frozen Spinach
  • 3 Small, Onions
  • 1 1/2 Pounds, Ground Turkey
  • 1 Cup Seasoned, Bread Crumbs
  • 8 Ounces, Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Large, Egg
  • 2 Large, Egg Yolks
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons, Butt Kickin' Italian Blend
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons, Crushed Red Pepper
  • Vegetable Oil, as needed

    Parmesan Coating
  • 2 Cups, Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup, Butt Kickin' Italian Blend

  • Marinara Sauce, as needed
  • Mozzarella Cheese, as needed

    Marinara Sauce
  • 1 Small, Onion, Small Dice
  • 1 15 Oz. Can, Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Large, Celery Stalk, Small Dice
  • 1 Tablespoon, Butt Kickin' Italian Blend
  • 1 Tablespoon, Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons, Parmesan Cheese

Turkey Meatballs Florentine Cooking the Spinach Picture

1.    Thaw out the spinach, then dry it out over high heat in a Teflon coated fry pan. Keep stirring it, because it'll burn real quickly, once the moisture has evaporated. When it's all dried out. Place it in a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine Chopping Onions Picture

2.    While the spinach is cooking, you can cut up the onions. Add a little vegetable oil to the pan, and cook them over a medium heat. You just want to get them soft and translucent, not brown and caramelized.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine Mixing the Onions and Spinach Picture

3.    Add the onions to the spinach, stir it up, and place the bowl in your refrigerator until it's cool, about 20 - 30 minutes.

4.    While the onions and spinach are cooling, it's a good time to make up the sauce, if you're using it. Dice up the onions, and celery, place them in a small pot, along with a little oil. Cook over medium heat until they're real soft, and almost beginning to brown.

Add the rest of the ingredients, bring it to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine  Ingredients Picture

5.    After the spinach and onions are cool enough to handle, they don't have to be ice cold, Bring the bowl out of your frig. and add the Ground Turkey, Bread Crumbs, Ricotta Cheese, Whole Egg, Egg Yolks, Italian Blend, and Crushed Red Pepper.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine the MEatballs all mixed up Picture

6.    Mix it up well, I use a food service glove for doing this, or wash your hands real good both before and after the mixing. Set it back in your Frig, until it's good and cold. If the meat balls are cold when you bake them, they'll stay together better.

Ron's Note:
I did all of the above the day before I made the meatballs, just cover the bowl real good with plastic wrap, and you can refrigerate it overnight.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine Forming the Meatballs Picture

7.    When the Meatball mix is good and cold, it's time to begin forming the meatballs.

Begin by mixing up the Parmesan Coating. Just mix both ingredients in a small bowl and set it aside.

I used a 2 2/3 oz. portioner to get them all the same size. Which was the perfect size to make 2" Meatballs.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine Coating with Seasoned Parmesan Cheese Picture

8.    As you make the meatballs, roll them in the Parmesan Coating, and press it in with your hands.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine  Cooking the Meatballs Picture

9.    To Cook:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the meatballs on a parchment lined sheet pan, and cook for 35 minutes.

Add little Marinara Sauce to the top of each one, and a small slice of Mozzarella Cheese. Place the pan back into the oven for another 10 minutes.

Turkey Meatballs Florentine Plated Picture

10.    To serve them alone, you can lay down a bed of the sauce and place individual meatballs on top. They would make a great appetizer if you serve them singly, or serve them with your favorite pasta dish.

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Save leftover cooked meatballs in your frig along with some extra sauce. Re-heat by adding a little water to the sauce, adding the meatballs, and Nuke, or cook in a covered pot until they're done.

Leftover raw meatballs can be frozen. Set them on a small sheet pan, and freeze overnight. The next day, take them off the pan, and place in a freezer bag. They'll hold for 2-4 weeks without getting freezer burn. Cook these in a 400 degree oven for a total time of 1 hour. This adds enough time for them to thaw before cooking.

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