Recipe Revamp: Aunt Barb-Inspired Meatballs

We’re halfway through Missy’s Meatball Project, so it seemed appropriate to make the first meatballs I ever remember cooking: Aunt Barb Meatballs.

These are inspired by a comforting meal my Aunt used to make me when I came to her house for the weekend (which would happen anytime I needed a break from college or was helping out with babysitting; they were my closest relatives to school). The actual meatballs aren’t really the same (I’m actually not sure whether my Aunt made hers from scratch or used premade ones), but the simple gravy is. Cream of mushroom soup is one of those ingredients that the “foodie” crowd disparages (and it certainly isn’t the healthiest thing in the world). This bothered me briefly at some point in my cooking life, but eventually I stopped caring (especially after experimenting with homemade versions without much success). Between my 80s Midwestern upbringing and the fact that it’s a key component of John’s favorite childhood meal, it’s destined to have a place in our pantry.

This recipe hasn’t really changed much since I first started making it, though now I wet the breadcrumbs with milk, etc. I made sure to measure the components when making it this time for the project, though, in order to update the recipe from (gulp) eight years ago (meanwhile, I still forgot the egg, so eight years later, I’m still spazzy in the kitchen). This recipe site is getting old, man. I like to serve this with either egg noodles or quinoa. Still, they’re never quite as satisfying as they were when Aunt Barb greeted me with them after Uncle Bob picked me up from the train station.


Note: if you make 1.5 times this recipe, the meatballs fit perfectly into a 9×13 pan, and you’ll have more leftovers. But it leaves you with half a can of soup and half a package of meat, so your call. I’m more likely to do this if I have leftover ground turkey hanging around in the freezer from another recipe. 

1 pound ground turkey (get the full-fat version – I’ve made this with turkey breast and the 93/7 lighter ground turkey, and neither is quite as good)
1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic (my favorite) soup
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp milk
1 egg (I forgot to add the egg this time, and these still turned out ok)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I use Penzey’s Tuscan sunset)
1/2 onion, minced
two cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine milk and bread crumbs in a bowl and let stand five minutes. Add turkey, egg, seasonings, onion, and garlic and combine thoroughly.

In a 9×13 pan, combine cream of mushroom soup and chicken broth. Form meatballs and place on top of gravy. Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Serve over egg noodles or quinoa.


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Filed under meatballs, poultry

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