Okay, so the title isn’t so great today, but I was trying to come up with some way to introduce today’s meal. Sean picked this one, and to be honest, I was little surprised he wanted this, but he elected Turkey Meatballs in Gravy, Baked Potatoes, and Broccoli. Since we’ve already made broccoli on the meal plan three times I believe, I won’t bore you with the steamed broccoli that Sean has chosen. I am going to find some more broccoli recipes since I am getting a little bored with it myself (if anyone has any suggestions, please pass them along!)
Okay, so turkey meatballs are not tough to make and they can be quite tasty. I use ground turkey in my chili all the time instead of beef and I think it tastes better and it is better for you. The one thing about ground turkey that I have found is that it can be very dry and needs seasoning. Personally, I have found through some experimenting that the best seasoning to add to ground turkey has been McCormick’s Montreal Chicken blend seasoning. It has a nice mix of garlic, salt, pepper, onion, paprika and orange peel and adds a really nice flavor to the turkey. For a little bit of added moisture to the mix I also put a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce as well. Other than those additions, this is basically the same exact recipe I used for the meatballs last week for our spaghetti and meatballs dinner.
2 slices of white sandwich bread (I prefer Pepperidge Farm, it works well for me)
1/3 cup milk (whatever type you have will work here)
1 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons McCormick’s Montreal Chicken Blend Seasoning (use less or more, depending on if you like the flavor)
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1 recipe All Purpose Gravy (recipe to follow)
Remove and discard the crusts from the bread then tear the bread into small pieces. Use a fork to mash the bread pieces and milk to a smooth paste in a large bowl. Add the ground turkey, Montreal Chicken seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan, parsley, egg yolk, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, a dash of pepper (or more if you like) to the mashed bread. Stir the mixture gently until combined and uniform (I always use my hands – it gets messy but it mixes better. Take your rings off before you do this). Form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch round meatballs (about 12 meatballs if you make them this big, if you want smaller, go for it and you’ll get more. I always make smaller for the turkey).
Pour the oil into a 12 inch skillet and heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate and discard any oil left in the skillet.
Place the skillet back over medium heat and add the gravy, Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and add the meatballs. Continue to simmer, turning the meatballs occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Very, very easy to make. As a matter of fact, I think I will have Sean help me with this one since he did such a good job last week with the dinner he helped make. The all-purpose gravy recipe really is an all-purpose gravy. You could use it for any type of meat or poultry or just for over mashed potatoes, and you don’t need any pan drippings to make this one. It relies solely on vegetables. chicken and beef broth.
All Purpose Gravy
3 tablespoons butter
1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 onion, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth (used canned, box or your own. I am using my own because I have it. otherwise, use low sodium)
2 cups beef broth (same as the chicken. i don’t have my own right now, so I am using Swanson’s low sodium)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
5 whole black peppercorns
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook until softened and well browned, about 9 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly browned, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in the broths and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20-25 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.
Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer (or gravy separator) into a clean saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
You can make the gravy ahead of time and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 2 months. Just re-heat it over low heat, stirring to recombine, until warm and smooth.
A nice, tasty, very versatile gravy recipe to use any time. Sean wanted baked potatoes tonight ( I personally would have gone for rice) so that’s what were making. You can make baked potatoes the traditional way in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour, fifteen minutes, or you can do it this way, by using the microwave first and then baking them to finish them off. I have found that starting them in the microwave and then cooking them the rest of the way in the oven produces a nice fluffy potato with a crispy skin and takes half the time of just baking them.
4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
Butter (for serving)
Salt and pepper (for serving)
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Poke a few holes in each potato with the tines of a fork and microwave the potatoes on high until slightly soft to the touch, 6 to 12 minutes, turning them halfway through.
Carefully transfer the potatoes to the oven and cook directly on the hot oven rack until a knife blade glides easily through the flesh, about 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and open them as soon as possible (the longer a potato sits after being removed from the oven, the more dense the flesh becomes. Opening immediately allows the steam to escape, resulting in a more airy potato). Serve immediately with butter, salt and pepper (or anything else you like to add – cheese, sour cream, chives, crumbled bacon, etc.)
Throw in the broccoli, and we are all done for the evening. I am getting to like these easy meals. Quick cooking, quick clean up and we can spend more time together instead of a long time in the kitchen. You could cut the meatball recipe in half if you want less meatballs and then use the leftovers to make some chili or some turkey sausage (which is what I am going to do. I’ll post the recipe for this on another day). Tomorrow is our meatless night, so we will be having Potato Soup tomorrow, which we made last night so it’s already done and just needs to be re-heated. We’ll be having a salad with it and some crunchy bread, but a nice sandwich would go along well with it also if you were looking to do that. I love a good sandwich! Any favorites out there? I plan to do a sandwich recipes day soon, so pass along you might know of and really like. Enjoy your dinner tonight!