The next #CookClub recipe, Turkey-Spinach Meatballs and Spaghetti, from the new Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide by Sally Kuzemchak, reminded me something about recipes.
They are really just guides, road maps if you will, to creating a satisfactory dish. You have to know a little something about cooking to head off a problem. That's how I felt with the Turkey-Spinach Meatballs and Spaghetti recipe. It calls for a cup of quick-cooking oats and after I added that, the meatballs were too wet to roll into the balls. So I trusted my instincts and added another 1/4 cup of oats.
The mixture may have been too wet because my eggs were larger than they needed to be or there was more moisture in the raw, chopped spinach I used. (Don't use frozen and thawed spinach or you will really end up with too much liquid.)
In the end, my little addition made all the difference. The meatballs rolled just fine, staying firm and browning well.
I like the variety of these meatballs, with spinach for added nutrition and turkey for lower-fat. You can tinker as you like, and I am sure you will.
Join us online!
To participate in #CookClub online, the key is to remember #CookClub because that's how you'll tag everything. You'll have two weekends to make the recipe and post a photo on Instagram with your comments. The next recipe will be announced May 12 at tampabay.com/cooking.
Post photos and comments of your Spinach Meatballs and Spaghetti by 6 p.m. May 11. Some of the photos and comments will be printed May 14 in the Taste section of the Tampa Bay Times.
As part of the #CookClub conversation, join us from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursdays for a live #CookClub chat on Twitter.
Send your ideas
I'd love to have some input from you about recipes that the #CookClub can make. Do you have a favorite recipe that you'd like us to try? I am looking for all sorts of recipes, from appetizers to main dishes to desserts. With the summer entertaining season coming, everyone is looking for potluck ideas.
Turkey-Spinach Meatballs and Spaghetti
Post photos and comments on Instagram by 6 p.m. May 11.
1 pound ground turkey breast
3 cups bagged, prewashed spinach, finely chopped
1 cup quick-cooking oats (see note)
2 ounces (about ½ cup) finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
½ cup diced onion
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 minced garlic clove
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups marinara sauce
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Combine ingredients for meatballs (ground turkey through eggs) in a bowl; shape into 12 one-inch meatballs.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add meatballs; cook 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Reduce heat to medium; add marinara sauce. Cook 4 minutes or until meatballs are done; stirring gently occasionally.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions, omitting salt and oil, if called for. Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti; sprinkle with cheese.
Nutritional information per serving (3 meatballs, ½ cup sauce and 1 ½ teaspoons cheese): 429 calories; 18 gm fat; 42 gm protein; 28 gm carbohydrates, 6 gm fiber; 1,132 mg sodium.
Note: Though the recipe calls for 1 cup of quick-cooking oats, you might need more. If the mixture seems too wet, the meatballs won't hold together. Add another ¼ cup of oats.
Source: Cooking Light Dinnertime Survival Guide by Sally Kuzemchak (Oxmoor House, 2014)