Now that we are fully immersed in our back to school routine I'm starting to crave Fall comfort foods.  I don't have much free time in my work/school routine so I strive to simplify prep.  I also prefer to use lower fat ingredients and lighten up recipes where I can.  You'll love the ease of using ground chicken or turkey sausage to add flavor to lean ground poultry.  

Prepping this recipe brought back memories of my Grandma incorporating crushed crackers soaked in milk into her meatball mix.  Since I had a box of soda crackers in the pantry I decided to use them instead of bread crumbs.  I was really happy with the resulting plump, juicy meatballs.  Use sweet or spicy sausage depending on your taste preference.  I used bulk Italian chicken sausage from Whole Foods.  I love to prep a double or triple batch, scoop the balls and freeze.  Just thaw in the fridge the day before you want to cook them.  If using your slow cooker brown the meatballs first, then add to the crock with your favorite sauce.  Your going to LOVE️ coming home to the aroma of these meatballs after simmering the day away.  

 

Simple Sausage Meatballs


Ingredients:

1 ½ pound ground chicken or turkey
1 pound bulk italian sausage, chicken or turkey
1 ½ cups roughly crushed soda crackers
½ cup milk
2 large eggs
¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
¼ cup finley sliced fresh basil 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1 clove of garlic pushed through a garlic press 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon crush red pepper flakes, more for spicy, less for mild

Preparation:

Place crushed crackers in a medium sized bowl. Cover with milk and let soak. Place remaining ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix with your hands, or a heavy spoon intil well blended. Add the crackers and milk and mix again until thourghoughly blended. Using a scoop or your hands roll meat mixture into 1" or 2" meatballs. At this point you can freeze meatballs in a flat baking dish to cook at a later date.

If frozen: Thaw completely in refrigerator 24 to 48 hours.

To Cook: Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Add meatballs, brown on all sides, rotating meatballs after cooking about 2 minutes per side. Once browned (8 to 10 minutes) cover meatballs with your favorite marinara sauce. If baking place in oven preheated to 350°F. Bake 30 to 40 minutes to an internal temperature of 165°F for the meatballs. If using a slow cooker transfer browned meatballs to the slow cooker crock. Cover with marinara, cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours. Serve with your favorite pasta and side of green veggies. Also makes great sandwiches, just stuff into your favorite crusty sandwich rolls after cooking.

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