Mini Turkey Meatballs and Ghetti (Spaghetti)
Mini Turkey Meatballs and Ghetti (Spaghetti)
- 2 Pounds (or so) Ground Turkey
- ¼ or so cup of non-fat milk (just enough to dampen cracker crumbs)
- 1 to 1 ½ Cup Non-Salt Cracker Crumbs (you can use salted crackers if you do not have dietary restraints like I do)
- 2 eggs beaten slightly or you can use Egg Beaters
- 1 Onion Diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic Diced
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tablespoon Parsley
- ½ -1 Teaspoon of Basil (more if you want)
- ½-1 Teaspoon of Oregano (more if you want)
- 1 medium Bay Leaf
- ½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
- Sea Salt to taste
- 1Tablespoon Grain Dion Mustard
- 1 Teaspoons Worcester Sauce
- ½ to ¾ cup of Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 8 Slices Bread
- Olive Oil Spray
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Smoked Paprika
The bread crumbs take only a few minutes, the list of ingredients looks long…but once made you will not go back to store-bought ~ they are well worth the little effort it takes to make them. You will need to have a clean jar with a fitted lid for the extra you are making, they will be there for the next time you need seasoned breadcrumbs.
To make bread crumbs put the bread in processor and pulse until the bread is small crumbs. You can use a silicon baking liner in the jelly roll pan you will be using to dry and toast the bread crumbs on if you have one. This is a larger batch, so I used two jelly roll pans so they would spread thinner and dry faster. You can at this time spread the bread crumbs on jelly roll pan (s) and set aside and let them dry out naturally and then follow the directions from spraying with oil and adding seasoning…
Spread bread crumbs out in jelly roll pan and mist with a little bit of olive oil on the crumbs. Do not use to much oil, hold mister about 5~6 inches above crumbs and mist twice, one spray at each end of pan. You do not want to soak crumbs in oil, this is just enough so when you sprinkle the seasoning on the crumbs it will help the seasonings adhere to crumbs while you toast and dry them in the oven. (It helps in toasting too, like a grilled sandwich)
Once bread crumbs are mist with the oil, sprinkle just a little of sage, basil, garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika on top of bread crumbs. If you want to add different seasoning, go for it, whatever taste you are going for. You do not need much seasoning on all the crumbs; a little goes a long way. The crumbs should not be oily or overwhelming; you want to taste the entirety of the succulent, luscious little meatballs (or whatever you are coating in breadcrumbs.) Repeat: You do not want to overpower the little fellas with too much seasoning and have them too oily. I made this mistake ~ once.
The timing for baking the bread crumbs all depends on each oven. I watch them real close every minute or so, when they start to toast a little with color, it happens so fast. So just keep a close eye on them, it doesn’t take but a little over 5 minutes or so. Place in a heated 300 degree oven and when the crumbs are just starting to dry out take them out of the oven and stir them up and put back in oven until the crumbs are dried with just a ‘little’ of color. Once done place in bowl and set aside.
Mix crackers with milk, use just enough to dampen crackers and set aside. I make my cracker crumbs in the mini processor, just put as many crackers in processor that will fit and pulse until they are very small crumbs. You can pulse several batches if you want to make plenty to have some for the pantry. I like having a jar with a fitted lid full of cracker crumbs waiting for use, like the bread crumbs. It makes it real easy for the next time you need either.
With a spatula do a chop and pull motion to cut the turkey while blending in all the ingredients. Add the shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese (any dried shredded cheese you like, you can add a little more or a little less or no cheese at all,) onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper, and blend a little. Put crackers crumbs mixture in with meat mixture and chop again to just mix. You do not want to mix the meat too much. You want it to be loose and in little chunks.
Add the beaten eggs, mustard, Worcester Sauce to meat mixture. Again mix using a chop and pull motion until just blended, but the meat is still in small pieced. You do not want to over work the meat or it gets pasty. It keeps the meatballs from being tender.
Cover the bowl of meat mixture with plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
I use a #50 or tablespoon size scoop to make the meatballs. I try not to handle them too much. Once I have them all scooped I then roll them in the bread crumbs and place on the silicon baking liner in jelly roll pan (same pan I use for the bread crumbs) evenly spaced.
I like to make the mixture in the morning then an hour or so later I make the meatballs. If it is still early I place the jelly roll pan filled with little meatballs in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
I placed in a 350 degree oven and cooked for 15 to 20 minutes. When the meatballs are running clear juices take them out. You do not want to over bake, it will dry them out.
I thawed the amount of ‘Mom’s Sauce,’ Tomato ~ Vegetable Sauce that I need and put it on to heat. Once heated well I then add the amount of mini meatballs that are needed and heat through. They are juiciest this way and hold their shaped putting them in just to heat. This is a hit every time I serve it, and usually with garlic-cheese bread and steamed spinach….