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From the food editor: Recipe for Baked Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

By Michelle Stark | Food Editor
Published: February 27, 2018 Updated: March 1, 2018 at 10:12 AM
Baked Buffalo Turkey Meatballs. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.

Letís talk about baking your meatballs.

I first made these Baked Buffalo Turkey Meatballs for the Super Bowl, part of an assemblage of casual small bites that a friend and I could nosh on while we got surprisingly and deeply invested in the outcome of the game. I have since made them for dinner, for a couple daysí worth of lunches ó you get the idea. They are really versatile, pretty dang healthy, and simple to make.

Thatís because they are baked, which means you can forget about them for about 20 minutes after you slide them into the oven. This alleviates a couple of meatball pitfalls: Thereís no oil splatter from a hot skillet, no having to stand over the skillet and turn the balls before they burn on one side, and ó maybe most crucial ó there is far less risk of meatballs sticking to the pan.

Another benefit of cooking meatballs in the oven is that the fat cooks off a bit more than it would when cooked in a skillet. But they donít get dry, especially when doused with a creamy buffalo sauce that helps lock in moisture.

You could sub any ground meat for these, but I actually think a lighter meat like turkey or chicken works better than ground beef because the less intense flavor soaks up the buffalo sauce and mimics the flavor of buffalo wings.

For a party, I would serve these individually on a platter studded with toothpicks and a medley of sauces. Or, save a batch for your next couple meals. Try one of these.

Penne with Meatballs

Cook some penne according to package directions, then drain and set aside. In a small saucepan, mix equal parts store-bought or homemade alfredo sauce and a hot buffalo sauce like Frankís. Heat until bubbling, toss a couple of meatballs in, then add penne back into the pan and stir everything to coat with the sauce. Top with freshly cracked pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

Meatball Sub

Get your hands on some sandwich buns, then split them open lengthwise and spread a thin layer of butter on one side. Grate some peeled garlic clove over each half, then toast in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, add meatballs and the buffalo-Greek yogurt sauce from the recipe below. Heat until warm. Remove buns from oven, spoon 3 or 4 meatballs into each bun (and any remaining sauce), top with ľ cup shredded provolone cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Meatball Bowl

Slice 1 shallot and 1 jalapeno into thin slices and combine in a bowl with 1 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 15 minutes or more. Meanwhile, cook some brown rice according to package directions. Spoon some into a bowl. Heat meatballs along with their sauce in the microwave until warm, then add to the same bowl. Top with ľ cup feta cheese. Drain shallot and jalapeno, then add a handful to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper, top with ranch dressing, if desired, and serve.