September 23, 2008

Rachael Ray's Florentine Meatballs

Before I get into tonight's post, I wanted to tell you all about something exciting I heard about today. Martha Stewart is having a Blog Contest! Last week, Martha devoted an entire episode to blogging and knowing how many bloggers there are in the world, she's created an opportunity to be featured on her blog. All a Blogger has to do is link back to Martha's blog, then leave a comment. I am a huge fan of Martha's cookie cookbooks and holiday cookie magazines, so this would be the most exciting thing ever!

Now back to tonight's post:

One of the things I try to do as the weather starts to cool down, is begin baking and making up quick-fix meals for the freezer. It makes life so simple when it's a busy night and you still want to eat a home-cooked meal. I love being able to just pull out a package of something and heat it on the stove, throw together a couple of simple side dishes and you have a nice meal. It's so much nicer than take-out every night. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against take-out and actually enjoy bringing in Chinese food from our favorite place.

One of my "go to" meals has been Trader Joe's Party Size Meatballs with my homemade sauce served with spaghetti. While we do love those meatballs, I couldn't help but wonder if I could find a homemade one that my family would enjoy as much. I also wanted to make sure that they would be reasonably healthy. Is it possible to make a healthier meatball that my boys would love as much as the packaged ones?

In my search for a recipe to start with, I found one in my Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook). Rachael's recipe for Florentine Meatballs appealed to me for a couple of reasons. It is made with ground turkey and it incorporates chopped spinach into it. Those two things together, make them pretty healthy compared to the traditional meatball. I did make a change to her original recipe by swapping one pound of the ground turkey for sweet turkey sausage. I also made them into smaller meatballs than the recipe calls for and ended up with about 70 of them.

The verdict? My boys were not impressed and My Husband thought it might have been better to leave out the spinach so that they would look more like the meatballs they are used to eating. I have quite a few in the freezer, so we'll be trying them again, but I may mix them with the others that I know the boys like in order to use them up. However, I am back to the search for the perfect homemade meatball. Any suggestions?

Here are a few that I am marking to try... but, I'd love to hear from anyone who has a fantastic recipe that I simply must make.

Family Style Food shares thoughts on how the type of meatball you love lies in your childhood and shares a more traditional Meatball recipe.
Sugar and Spice offers up another traditional spaghetti and meatball recipe that sounds like it might be perfect for filling the freezer.
Fresh From the Oven made Giada's Turkey Meatballs and was quite pleased with the results.

florentine meatballs

Florentine Meatballs
Adapted from: Rachael Ray's 365 No Repeats


  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 2 packages (about 2 pounds) ground turkey (I used 1 pound ground turkey, 1 pound sweet turkey sausage)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (I did a quick saute to soften it up before incorporating into the meat mixture)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned crumbs since that's what I had on hand)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmiciano-Reggiano
  • Coarse salt and coarse black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain the defrosted spinach and squeeze out all water. Place the turkey in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the spinach, and remaining ingredients. Form into meatballs and arrange on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes.

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ttfn300 said...

oooh, I actually love these meatballs! But I could see how they might not be liked by all... I always wanted to get the recipe of my ex's mom, cause her meatballs rock, but never did-doh!

Dee said...

Hmm... Mine go down a treat with the boys. The recipe's similar, but I use a mixture of beef and pork. I don't if that makes much of a difference.

I don't have a pressure cooker (I use a slow cooker on busy days) but I love the sound of your tacos.

Deborah said...

I'm sorry your family didn't love them - I thought they sounded interesting with your swap of half turkey sausage. I love spinach, so maybe I'd love them - maybe they just aren't kid friendly.

Joelen said...

The recipe looks fabulous and its too bad it didn't go over well. Since you have quite a few leftover, maybe you can form some into patties for a burger twist?

Patsyk said...

Joelen - great idea! I'll keep that in mind when I take some out of the freezer in a few weeks.

Deborah - I thought the sausage would make them a bit more appealing since they love it... I'll have to try some other combinations.

ttfn300 - bummer you didn't get that recipe!

Dee - I'm going to experiment with a different combination of meats and see how that goes.

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