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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Food Fridays - Baked Meatballs

Ground meat is one of those magical foods that can take squillions of forms based on the home chef's preferences and creativity. My Baked Meatballs are made from the same basic recipe as my Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Instead of sweet and sour sauce, there is a quick tomato based pasta sauce, then it is topped with cheeses and baked in the oven. If you ask me, this is a great way to have most of the flavors of spaghetti without all those refined carb calories. OR, it is a great way to have fabulous artisan bread and butter instead of spaghetti. Meatballs can be made ahead and stored, ready to be sauced per your preference. Viva Meatballs!

Baked Meatballs
For the meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tbsp. chopped dried onions
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic & herb seasoning

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 14 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup wine
1 cup of diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. sugar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper (lots!)

1 cup of grated Italian Cheese Blend

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, dried onions, garlic and herb seasoning. (I like to stir with a carving fork because everything will combine nicely but the meat will not become compacted.) Form the meat into meatballs that are about 1/4 cup each. I usually get 12-14 meatballs. Place the meatballs onto a greased or lined baking sheet, making sure the meatballs do not touch one another. Bake in the hot oven for about 20 minutes or until browned and the internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees.

Meanwhile make the sauce. Saute the onions in the olive oil over a medium flame. When the onions are soft, add the remaining ingredients. Simmer at least 20 minutes.

When meatballs and sauce are done, place the meatballs in an oven proof casserole dish. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.

Each meatball, with its associated sauce and cheese is 165 calories.

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