Now that the school year has started, my recipes have to change focus. While the weekends are still reserved for recipes with longer cooking times, overall, my attention turns to convenience meals during the weekdays. Oftentimes people get confused when they hear the words “convenience cooking.” They think that quick and easy meals cannot possibly correlate with homemade food, but that is completely wrong. With the right recipes, homemade food can be created with little stress and little time.
During the school week, I usually make some type of pasta recipe at least once per week. Pasta cooks quickly and can be made in large enough batches to have leftovers. However, I am always left hungry if a meat isn’t served with the noodles. The obvious protein of choice is to serve meatballs with a plateful of pasta. Typically, meatballs are made with beef, but as I’ve discussed in previous posts, I typically stray away from red meats because my husband prefers poultry. This led to the creation of my Italian Chicken Meatballs. By following the typical formula for making meatballs, and substituting in ground chicken instead of ground round, I was able to make a chicken meatball, and with the addition of popular Italian herbs and spices, I was able to create a delicious meatball that tastes great with both Alfredo and Marinara Sauce.
In addition to tasting delicious, chicken meatballs have the benefit of being healthier than a beef meatball. If you are on a health kick, I highly recommend checking these out!
1 lb Ground Chicken
1 tsp Lemon Juice
¼ tsp Hot Sauce
⅓ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Dried Parsley
½ tsp Basil
1. When making meatballs, they come together easier if everything is mixed together in a certain order. This means pouring the ground chicken into a bowl first, then adding in the egg and liquid ingredients. Incorporate these items together using a large fork.
Kitchen Tip: Any ground chicken will work to make this recipe. It is typically easiest to find ground chicken breasts in stores. However, if you have a meat market or butcher shop near you, I recommend asking them if they sell ground chicken thighs. Ground chicken thighs have a slightly higher fat content and create a moister meatball.
2. After the liquid ingredients are mixed into the meat, add in the Panko bread crumbs, and the spices. Once again, use a fork to mix this all together. Forks work way better than spatulas when combining ingredients into raw ground meat because the meat is able to squish through the tines as it is getting mixed.
3. When all of the ingredients are combined, roll the meat into 1 to 2 inch balls. Remember that the larger the balls are, the longer they will take to bake. This recipe should make up about 16 – 18 meatballs.
4. Once the balls are rolled, line a pan with parchment paper and bake the meatballs for 18 minutes at 400 degrees. Every oven functions a little differently, so make sure to cut one of the meatballs in half to check to see that they are done before serving them. The pinkness of the meat should be gone if they are cooked all the way through.
That’s all there is to it! Perfectly healthy meatballs done in about half an hour. This is seriously such a great recipe for a night when you don’t have much time to cook! If that isn’t great enough on it’s own, any leftover meatballs can also be frozen and thawed out for a later date when you have a night that is too busy to cook at all!