Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Ingredients

The Balls
1 lb ground chicken
1 large egg
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves minced or grated garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
8 oz container small mozzarella balls (Ciliegine or cherry sized)
Meatball Coating
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp grated parmesan
Pinch of salt
Finishing Touches
26 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce or half a batch of my Pantry Shelf Marinara
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Extra grated parmesan and basil leaves for garnish

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning salt, and pepper. Mix gently until combined. Don’t over mix or squish around the meat too much or you’ll end up with tough, dense meatballs.

Shape the meatball mixture into small balls, about 2 tbsp, and then press a hole in the center with your thumb. Place a piece of mozzarella into each. Reseal the meatball mixture around the mozzarella, making sure to cover it completely. You don’t want to see any of the cheese or it will ooze out when cooking.

Once all of the meatballs have been stuffed, roll them one at a time in the panko/cheese mix to coat. Press the crumbs into the meatballs a bit, while still maintaining their meatball shape. Place meatballs on a small sheet pan or plate and chill in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes before frying.

Preheat oven to 350°

Place an oven-safe skillet (I prefer my 12 inch cast iron) over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brown Meatballs 5-6 minutes, rolling over a few times to brown as much of the outside as you can. You want the exterior to be a nice golden brown. The meatballs won’t be done at this point, but will continue cooking in the oven. You’ll probably need to do this in two batches, wiping out the pan between batches and adding new oil. Remove finished meatballs to a plate and continue with second batch. When done, wipe out the pan again.

Pour the marinara into the skillet and then nestle the meatballs into the sauce. Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese around the meatballs and place back into the oven to bake for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. If desired, broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese a bit.

Garnish with grated parm and fresh basil. Serve with garlic bread, your favorite pasta, or use slider buns to make mini chicken parm sandwiches.

Ham and Swiss Buttermilk Biscuits

Ham and Swiss Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fine grain kosher or sea salt
½ cup (113g or 1 stick) cold 🥶unsalted butter, cut in cubes
¾ cup (180g) cold buttermilk
4 oz Swiss cheese
4 oz ham
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp honey
Pinch of kosher or sea salt
Flaky sea salt (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°. Put your butter cubes in the freezer to get ’em nice and chilly while you do these next couple steps.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or (my preference) lightly butter a cast iron pan and set aside.

Finely dice both the Swiss cheese and the ham and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

Toss the butter cubes into the dry ingredients and, using a pastry cutter or your fingers, mix in the cold butter until you have a mixture of flat pieces and crumbly bits of butter mixed into the flour. Using a pastry cutter helps make sure you don’t accidentally warm the butter too much with your hands.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the cold buttermilk. Gently mix it together with a spatula or your hands until you have a fairly uniform loose dough. It won’t look all mixed in and that’s okay. It will come together. Have faith!

Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pile it up and push the dough together until you can pat it into a big square. With a bench scraper or knife, cut into four smaller squares. Sprinkle the ham and Swiss on three of the squares.

Stack the pieces of biscuit dough on top of each other, finishing with the plain one on top. Smush it all down into a square again (the ham and Swiss will be all snugged into the layers). Repeat this cutting and stacking procedure 3 more times. This is how you form your flaky layers!

Pat or roll dough to 1-inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter (or a round drinking glass) to cut into traditional round biscuits, or you can use a knife or the bench scraper to make square biscuits. If you use a biscuit cutter or drinking glass, dip it in flour first to make sure it doesn’t stick too much. And remember: Do not twist as you cut the dough or you’ll squash all the layers you created with the stacking technique!

If you have time, place the biscuits in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up the butter before baking. Remember, cold butter creates steam in the oven that also creates layers! (See where we’re going here?)

Place the biscuits, sides touching lightly, on your parchment covered sheet tray or in your cast iron pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the 2 tbs melted butter mixed with 2 tbs honey and a pinch of salt. Honey butter!

Bake at 425° for 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned on top. Brush with more honey butter as soon as they come out of the oven. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt for a nice salty sweet combo, if you like. Let cool a bit before eating. Just a bit.

We made beautiful Ham and Swiss Biscuits! We’re amazing! Now, let’s eat.

Italian Frittata

Italian Frittata

Ingredients

8 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
12 oz Italian sausage, loose or removed from casing
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
1 large handful baby spinach leaves
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled (you can use ricotta or even dollops of cream cheese or mascapone if you aren’t a goat cheese fan)
6 pieces ciliegine mozzarella (small balls), halved
12 grape tomatoes, halved
Herbs, (basil, flat leaf parsley, chives) for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 10 inch cast iron pan with non-stick spray. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, you can spray a round baking dish. Just be sure to cook the ingredients in another pan and then transfer to the dish for baking.

Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add heavy cream and whisk together very well. Set aside.

Brown the Italian sausage in the cast iron pan (or any pan if using a baking dish) over medium-high heat until no more pink remains and the sausage is brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. In the same skillet, sauté the red bell pepper until just starting to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add the quartered artichoke hearts and allow to just get a bit of color on them, another 2 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and toss in a large handful of baby spinach leaves and stir until wilted.

Pour in the egg and cream mixture and stir to evenly distribute everything. The residual heat from the skillet will already begin to cook the eggs on the bottom and sides.

Top the frittata with the crumbled goat cheese, halved mozzarella balls, and sliced grape tomatoes. Don’t worry about stirring them in. The cheese will melt in and the tomatoes with caramelize on top.

Cook in 350° oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the center is no longer jiggly.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then garnish with fresh herbs, slice into wedges, and serve.

Frittatas are best served warm or at room temperature and can stay out for up to an hour, allowing for an extra lazy breakfast or brunch. Or even dinner. After that, store the frittata in wedges in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days. Allow individual servings to come to room temperature again, before microwaving for about 30 seconds. Yay!

Fresh Homemade Ricotta

Fresh Homemade Ricotta

Ingredients

½ Gallon whole milk (8 cups)
1 Cup heavy cream
1 tsp Sea salt
¼ Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons, closer to one)

Directions

Bring milk and cream (the “milks”) to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching the bottom of the pan. You want a good amount of bubbles on the edge of your mixture. If you’re an exact measurement kind of person, or it’s your first time and you want to be sure, use a thermometer and bring the milks to at least 185°.

When the milks come to temperature, remove the pan from the heat. Add the salt and stir. Now drizzle your lemon juice all over the surface of the milks. Stir it very gently with a wooden spoon to disperse the lemon juice throughout the mixture. You’ll start to see clumping of the curds almost immediately. You will be very excited because delicious science is happening right before your eyes! What you see is that when heat and acid (the lemon juice) are applied to the milk, the curd proteins all clump together, leaving behind the watery whey (curds and whey! Little Miss Muffet!) This is the cheese forming! Gently stir for 3-5 minutes to encourage the process.

Using a ladle or a slotted spoon, gently lift the curds out of the pot and into a colander that has been lined with cheesecloth (save at least 1/2 cup of the whey liquid. I’ll tell you why in a minute). Fold the edges of the cheesecloth over the top and allow the cheese to drain for at least 30 minutes, and up to a few hours, depending on how firm you want your cheese. If you are draining your cheese longer than a couple of hours (for a firmer cheese), refrigerate. If you find that the cheese consistency is firmer than you like, you can add back a little of the reserved whey and stir it in. You can store fresh ricotta in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, but it won’t last that long 😊

Congratulations, you are now a Cheese Maker. Fresh Ricotta is especially delicious at room temperature, just spread over lightly toasted bread and drizzled with a good olive oil or, my personal favorite, covered in tomato bruschetta. However you serve it, you’ll look at store-bought ricotta the same “whey” again 😂!