No. 140: Turkey Meatball Sandwiches

Uh-oh. Guess what day it is? It's Hump Day!

One of my favorite commercials from the last year is the Geico camel celebrating Wednesdays. So funny.

Hump Day can sometimes be a tough one, but my Wednesday turned out to be a real blast. And none of the fun was really all that planned.

A pretty 'wow' Wednesday

I had my first ever s'more bowl, which was basically s'more dip with graham crackers for dipping. The gals in our office made it for our German intern who had never had a s'more. I'll admit, it was pretty terrific.

Then, a couple of my sales colleagues invited me to play a hole of golf in our office. There were strict rules of play, obstacles to overcome and I had a pretty hefty lead going into the final stretch. I even had to quiet down the peanut gallery at one point.

Peanut Gallery

Hey, a girl has to focus! Sadly, it all went downhill pretty quickly after that shot.

But most importantly, we had a last minute dinner guest! A dear friend was in town for less than 24 hours for a business pitch and came to dinner. She's a terrific cook and gardener in her own right, rarely having something just be made for her. We sat her down and visited while making dinner.

Turkey Meatball Sandwiches

When you're on the road, comfort food is the best. This recipe was inspired by both Pioneer Woman's mini meatball sandwiches and a recipe for chicken meatball subs on Food52.

Ingredients

Meatballs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey (or chicken)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 egg
3/4 cup breadcrumbs, or more as needed
Olive oil, as needed for cooking

Tomato Sauce & Sandwich
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped basil, to taste
Splash of white wine
1 baguette, halved and cut into 4 pieces*
6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella
Thinly sliced pepperoncini or other hot peppers, as desired

*We opted for individual french dinner rolls. Easy to serve and cuts down on the sheer amount of bread.

To make

In a small saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minute more. Set aside, and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine the cooled onion mixture with all other meatball ingredients. Mix well to combine. Using your hands, roll the mixture into small balls.

Meatballs

Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Place the meatballs in the hot pan, and allow to cook until nicely browned on each side and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. If you have a good sear and want to finish them in the oven, just put them in a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

In same pan meatballs cooked in, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with the tomato paste and splash of white wine, then stir in the tomatoes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until good flavor develops, then stir in the basil just before serving.

Sauce

Place the mozzarella on half of the bread slices. Run the bread under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Toss the meatballs in the tomato sauce, and spoon some meatballs onto the bread. If desired, garnish with hot peppers and serve.

The results

These little guys were packed full of flavor, and the sauce was rich and hearty. Now, if I had followed the plating instructions above they would have been even better ... but I was in a hurry to get them on the plate:)

Our friend took her plate outside to our picnic table and got this beautiful picture.

Fully plated

I need to take some notes from her wonderful creativity. And I definitely need to take more pictures on that table!

One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it's casual entertaining with a touch of elegance in the flavors. A bit of fresh basil and white wine really make the difference.

And if you don't want to go through the whole meatball cooking process on a weeknight, just make the meatballs and/or sauce in advance and freeze them.

Here's to exciting Hump Days and more friends visiting soon!

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Send me your thoughts, comments and ideas at theresolvedcook@gmail.com