chicken parmesan meatballs

I absolutely adore a good Chicken Parmesan. I have such fond memories of enjoying them throughout my childhood when out to special dinners with my family; my mom would often make it at home; I’ve even come up with my own twist on it!

But sometimes, there are those days after work…those days where you’d rather slide onto the couch in your most comfortable pair of yoga pants than stand in the kitchen, dredging chicken breasts, frying them, then finishing them off in the oven. THEN preparing the pasta. THEN melting the {oh so glorious} mozzarella under the broiler. All that…before dinner is ready. It’s ok! We all have those days. These meatballs are going to make you feel better.

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With these beauties, you get all of that wonderful flavor of the Chicken Parmesan, but made easy because we’re doing them meatball style! They pack a flavor punch bigger than their size lets on, that’s for sure. They’re loaded up with herbs, tomato paste, bread crumbs….everything that makes the classic dish, but it’s all done in one bowl! Tell me it doesn’t get any better than that, I dare ya. BUT WAIT.

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…did I neglect to mention that these are significantly more healthy than the original dish? I’m all about a big ol’ plate of pasta and chicken, smothered in cheese and sauce, but it doesn’t always feel so great after the fact. We’re baking these in the oven, which provides that wonderful crunch on the outside without the use of frying. They can be sprinkled with cheese at the end, fear not!

Not only are these easy to whip up on a moment’s notice, but they are great to make ahead and freeze for future use! Simply prepare them, roll them out, and transfer to the freezer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, they can be stored in a zip top bag and finished off in no time. You’ll be so thankful you did.

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs {recipe adapted from Bake Your Day}

All the flavors of our favorite Italian classic, packed in to one easy-to-eat dish! You won’t be able to get enough.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground chicken

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping tbsp. tomato paste

1 tsp. dried basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. dried thyme

salt and pepper, to taste

your favorite Marinara Sauce for serving

To Prepare:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top it with a cooling rack. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix all of the above ingredients {less Marinara Sauce} in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be fairly moist, but should hold together when formed into a ball.

Scoop the mixture out and roll into balls {I opted to make 9 large ones} and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. For my large meatballs, this took about 30ish minutes.

Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce, and top it all off with cheese. Enjoy!

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italian turkey meatballs

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs today.

And no, I’m not referencing the adorable movie that, come on, you know you love. I’m talking slow cooked, succulent, and flavorful meatballs, served atop a bed of pasta and swimming in sauce. You’re with me now, right?

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We had a snow day here not too long ago, and since I was stuck at home all day (happily, I might add!) I decided to let the hubs pick out whatever he wanted for dinner. Being the meat lover that he is, it took him all of one second to blurt out “Meatballs, please!”. This cook was happy to oblige, but with a few special twists.

I am a huge fan of using ground turkey instead of the more ‘traditional’ ground pork, chuck, beef, etc. You all know my food philosophy – if I can make it taste great and keep it healthy, then why not? For me, meatballs are a no-brainer in this situation. Lean ground turkey is a great flavor base, and who doesn’t love turkey?!

In this particular recipe, the lean meat is paired with an assortment of flavorful herbs. Think cracked pepper, oregano, basil, and parsley – all the components you would find in a classic meatball. These are elevated with the addition of earthy Parmesan and sharp Romano cheese.

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Once combined,these beauties come together in no time. And by cooking them in the oven, elevated on a wire rack, most of the fat renders from the meatballs. The outer edges are crisped slightly, giving you that satisfying crunch when you first cut into it. The interior is moist, packed with flavor, and truly satisfying. It doesn’t get any better than that. Enjoy these with a glass of good red wine (I love a Cabernet with this) and I promise, you will be in heaven, and ::probably:: going back for seconds.

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Turkey Meatballs

{adapted minimally from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis}

1/4 C. plain dried bread crumbs

3 T. dried Parsley flakes

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. basil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 T. milk (I used 1%)

3/4 C.grated cheese (I use a blend of Parmesan and Romano)

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

1 lb. ground turkey

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top, and spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, basil, eggs, milk, 1/2 C. of the cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add in the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Shape the meat mixture into 12-15 meatballs. Line up on the cooling rack, with enough space between them so they are not touching each other.

Bake for 30-35 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your meatballs). Check halfway through, and rotate the pan if necessary. Serve atop your favorite pasta with sauce of your choice. I love it with my ‘fresh tagliatelle’ pasta and ‘tomato sauce with onion & butter’!