Digging some drafts out of the archives for this one – because comfort food knows no season, in life or in weather.
Here are some things about me. 1. I love Italian food. 2. I love cooking like an Italian mama. 3. I love feeding people for a festive reason. 4. I like things that are tasty, relatively easy (I realize ease for some is not the same for others) and sure to please a lot of people. These meatballs are 1. super affordable (no really, have you LOOKED at the price of boneless, skinless chicken breast compared to beef?) and 2. go. on. EVERYTHING. Pasta? Check. Pizza? Absolutely. Sub or sliders? You bet. Spaghetti squash? Veggies never had it so good. Alone as an appetizer? Fugetaboutit.
Also, you’ll use your food processor in a way you’ve probably never thought before. Do you make your own sausage? Yeah, me either. But I’ll be darned if my food processor didn’t do a great job “grinding” this meat, which was far cheaper than buying ground chicken. (Also, far more disgusting. I thought my sister was going to boycott the whole event after she saw that.)
If raw chicken doesn’t bother you, though, this actually comes together pretty quickly. I made a HUGE batch for sliders for NYE a few years ago and reused them in every single way listed above. They freeze well, reheat well (though may dry out a bit, FYI), and are super easy to make gluten free. (Or dairy free – you pull the parmesan out but still get a tasty meatball.) This recipe, inspired and adapted only slightly from Annie’s Eats, is all kinds of good. Serve it with your favorite marinara (even if it comes from a jar) or vodka sauce. Or baked goat cheese in marinara. Cause that’s well…awesome.
- 1/2 – 3/4 c panko, breadcrumbs or GF crackers
- 1/3 c onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t thyme
- 1 t oregano
- 1/2 t Rosemary
- 1 t basil
- 3/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1½ lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (or already ground chicken)
- 2 T olive oil
- If you’re grinding your own chicken, chop those chicken breasts into large chunks, then add to your food processor. I start by pulsing, and then maybe running on low, until everything is ground.
- Add your chicken to a bowl with the other ingredients. Mix by hand (gross maybe, but so much easier) until the meat sticks together. You may need to add more bread/oil depending on how dry your chicken is. This is where it’s nice to have a helper, s you don’t have to keep washing your hands.
- Form into balls and (if you’re really feeling sassy) roll in more cheese. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 20-25 minutes, or until internal temp is 170 (knowing they’ll rest and come to 180.)
- Serve in all the ways I state above and any other you can think of.