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.

Chicken Piccata Meatballs

Chicken Piccata Meatballs

Ingredients

Chicken Meatballs
1 ½ lbs ground chicken
4 oz very finely chopped pancetta
2 large eggs, whisked
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano (one tsp if using dried)
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp kosher or sea salt (use half the amount if using sea salt)
1 tsp black pepper
Piccata Sauce
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 cups chicken stock
Juice of one lemon (add an extra half a lemon, if you’re a pucker maniac)
2 tsp cornstarch
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chicken bouillon or base, such as Better Than Bouillon (optional)

Directions

Let’s make Meatballs!

Place ground chicken in a medium bowl. If you are an overachiever (as I am oft called), and are grinding your own chicken, I highly recommend adding the 4 oz of pancetta into the grinder with your chicken to really blend the meats together. You don’t even have to finely dice it, just a rough chop will do.

Add all the other meatball ingredients to the chicken and gently mix together. Do not overmix or you might end up with a tough meatball. Treat your balls with care! (🤣)

Hot tip: when making any type of meatballs it is impossible to test for seasoning, since the meat is raw. There is a work-around used in the restaurant industry. Take a small amount of your meatball mixture and fry it in a pan. When done, taste it and adjust the seasoning in your mixture, if needed. Easy!

Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan, or lightly grease the sheet pan if you don’t have parchment paper. Using a small scoop (or eyeballing it if you’re a daredevil) scoop your mixture into golfball-sized meatballs, and line them up on the sheet pan. Using lightly dampened hands, gently roll the scoops into nicely-rounded balls. Once they’re all ready to go, heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (you’ll see it shimmer a bit when it’s ready), add one tablespoon of butter. It’ll melt up quick, so go ahead and add some meatballs! Cook the meatballs, in batches, until golden brown on all sides and cooked almost completely through (about 150°). If you cook them all the way to chicken’s food-safe temp of 165°, you run the risk of having your perfect little meatballs go dry. Set cooked meatballs aside on a plate once they hit 150°, and, don’t worry, they’ll finish cooking in the sauce.

In the same pan that your meatballs cooked in, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the broth and the lemon juice and allow to reduce for about 10 minutes. Whisk cornstarch with 1/4 cup heavy cream and add to the sauce, whisking the whole time, until completely incorporated. Add most of the parsley and most of the capers, reserving some for garnish. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. For even more flavor, add one tsp of a chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon. Nestle the meatballs (and any juices that may have settled) into the sauce and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until meatballs are completely cooked (165°). Serve over pasta or creamy mashed potatoes (my favorite!) and garnish with reserved parsley and capers.

Greek Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce

Greek Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

Chicken
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
Yogurt Marinade
½ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Juice and zest of one lemon
Extra Bits
Assorted vegetables (I chose red bell peppers and red onions cut into one inch squares)
Tzatziki
1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 Persian cucumber (or 1/2 of an English cucumber)
1 large clove garlic, grated (2 if they’re small)
1 tbsp chopped dill
2 tsp chopped chives
2 tsp lemon jice
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions

If using bamboo or wooden skewers, place them in water to soak while you prepare the recipe. This can be done several hours ahead and will help keep the skewers from burning up as you grill.

Cut chicken into strips, about one inch wide and three inches long. Place in a large zip top bag.

Mix all the yogurt marinade ingredients together and add to the chicken. Seal the zip top bag and squish everything around until all of the chicken is coated in marinade. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the yummier it gets!

Now, for the Tzatziki. Take your Persian cucumber (or 1/2 English cucumber) and peel it. Now grate it up real fine. (Watch your fingers!) Then wrap the grated cucumber in a dish towel and squeeeeeze all the liquid out. You’ll end up with about 2tbsp of pretty-dry grated cucumber. Add this to the rest of the ingredients for the Tzatziki in a medium bowl, mix it up, then cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This can be made ahead and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let’s build the skewers. Thread the chicken strips tightly onto your skewers, almost like you’re sewing. You want to thread the chicken just tight enough to keep the meat from drying out as it is grilled, but not so tight that it doesn’t completely cook. Once you’ve threaded one piece on, squish it down a bit and add a slice of red bell pepper (or vegetable of your choice) followed by a few pieces of cut red onion. Repeat with another piece of chicken and the vegetables until you get to the end of the skewer. Finally, cap it all off with a piece of red bell pepper to hold everything on the skewer. Super easy, and looks fancy!

Prepare the grill by wiping the grates with a paper towel dipped in olive oil the heating the grill over medium-high heat. Brush some olive oil over the chicken skewers and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the chicken skewers directly over the hottest part of the grill and cook until golden brown and cooked through, turning the skewers to brown all sides, about 10-12 minutes total. Brush with a little more olive oil as they come off the grill.

Serve with your Tzatziki and extra lemon wedges. Maybe a Greek Salad with some Pita or Naan. Enjoy!

Chicken Chilaquiles Verde

Chicken Chilaquiles Verde

Ingredients

Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde)
1 ½ lbs tomatillos, washed after removing husks (about 8-10 medium tomatillos)
1 medium onion, cut in wedges
2 small jalapeños, stem removed
6 garlic cloves
¼ to ½ cup chicken broth
1 to 2 tbsp honey
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
Juice of ½ lime
The ‘Stuff’ in the Chilaquiles
4 cups tortilla chips (you can fry or bake your own or use store bought)
2 cups shredded chicken (You can use leftover chicken, a rotisserie chicken, or cook a couple of breasts or thighs the night before)
1 cup shredded colby jack or pepper jack cheese
4 to 6 eggs (depending on how many people you are serving)
Garnish (Use any or all of the below. I used all because I GO HARD)
Cilantro
Sliced radishes
Sliced Avocado
Sour cream
Queso fresco
Crushed red pepper flakes
Cracked black pepper

Directions

Set oven rack on the second setting from the top. Preheat the oven to broil. Spray a large sheet pan with non stick spray.


Place the tomatillos, onion, and jalapeño on the prepared sheet pan. Broil for about 10-12 minutes, tossing and turning the vegetables once while roasting. Add the garlic to the pan and broil another 5 minutes.

The vegetables will have some charring, will release their juices, and will be softened when ready. Cool on the pan for a few minutes, then add to a food processor or blender along with salt, lime juice, honey cilantro and 1/4 cup chicken broth. Blend or process to a course purée. Taste for salt adjustment. Add more broth if you want it thinner, but keep in mind that it will thicken a bit as it cools. It should be about the thickness of a chunky salsa. If very acidic add a touch more honey.

Preheat oven to 425° Add chips to an oven safe pan (I used my 12 inch cast iron) and ladle sauce over top. Toss gently to mix, taking care not to break all the chips. Top with cheese and then chicken. Using a large spoon, press nesting areas into the top of the tortilla chips to make room for the eggs. Crack each egg into a ramekin or small bowl and gently tip each egg into its nest. Cover pan with a lid or aluminum foil and place in oven for 7-10 minutes or until the whites are almost set. Uncover and allow to cook for a few more minutes, to brown the edges of the chips a bit.

Remove pan from oven. Garnish chilaquiles with avocado, radishes, cilantro, and queso fresco. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes and cracked black pepper if desired. Serve with lime wedges.

Sweet and Smoky Dry Rub Wings

Sweet and Smoky Dry Rub Wings

Ingredients

Dry Rub Ingredients
1 tbsp chipotle powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp packed brown sugar (light or dark)
½ tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried mustard
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp ground thyme
Other Pretty Important Ingredients
4 lbs chicken wings (flats and drums. You can freeze the wing tips and use them in making chicken stock another day!)
Canola or Vegetable oil, for giving the dry rub something to cling to

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°

Cover 2 large sheet pans completely with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack in the sheet pans, spray the racks, and lay your chicken wing pieces in nice rows, leaving a little space between each piece.

Sprinkle the wings with salt and pepper (even though we will be putting our dry rub on them, we season all layers of our food!) and brush both sides of each wing with the oil.

Combine all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl and whisk until completely mixed. Sprinkle a generous amount of the dry rub on both sides of the wings. You can use your fingers to do this, or I had this old Parmesan cheese shaker that I poured the rub into and used that. I’ve even saved old spice jars with shaker lids and used them to sprinkle on the rub. Do whatever makes it easier for you, just don’t be skimpy with the rub. Get it on there!

Sprinkling dry rub on wings

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes, then turn the wings over. If you want to sprinkle on some more rub at this time, go for it! I sure did! Bake for another 20 minutes or until the wings are crispy and nicely caramelized.

Serve with my delicious Ranch Dressing and (maybe) some carrots and celery. Share with a friend or two, if they are wing worthy. Your decision.

Dry rub wings with ranch dressing

Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A My Way )

Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich (Chick-fil-A My Way )

Ingredients

Brine
1 lb thin sliced chicken breast (you can buy full size chicken breasts, slice them in half and pound them thin. Or you can take advantage of the fact that Mega Markets sell thin sliced chicken and save yourself a little work. Your choice. I know what I did 😉)
1 cup dill pickle juice, right out of the jar. Nothing fancy, just buy plain old sliced dill pickles and use the juice.
1 cup buttermilk. Mega Markets usually sell the low fat kind, and that’s fine, but if you can get whole fat buttermilk it’s even better. The thicker texture really holds the crust onto the chicken.
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Coating For the Chicken (Otherwise known as “The Dredge”)
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp paprika (sweet or smoked, whatever you have)
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp powdered buttermilk (found in the baking aisle)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
A few tablespoons of buttermilk, mixed into the finished dredge, giving it a slightly shaggy appearance
Everything Else You Need
1 ½ cups vegetable oil for frying
Buns. Plain, sesame, brioche, whatever you like.
A little softened butter for toasting your buns
Good old fashioned dill pickle slices

Directions

Combine the buttermilk, pickle juice, and sugar. Place the chicken breasts in a zip-top bag and pour the liquid over them. Press out as much air as possible and seal it up. Squish everything in the bag a little, so that all the chicken is submerged. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour, up to four hours.

Mix together all your dry dredge ingredients, except the few tablespoons of buttermilk.

buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich dredge

Sprinkle a few tablespoons, up to 1/4 cup, of the liquid buttermilk over your dry dredge. Using a fork, mix together well. This should give you a nice “shaggy” kind of texture. Normally when you fry something, the first batch doesn’t have as many crispy bits on the edges as later batches. Adding a little buttermilk now will give every batch of chicken the perfect amount of crispy bits.

adding buttermilk to dredge

Heat oil in cast iron pan or other tall sided frying pan to 350 degrees.

Remove chicken from brine and shake it off so it’s not dripping all over the place. Drag chicken through the dredge. Pack that flavor (and those soon-to-be crispy bits) firmly onto chicken, then shake off the excess.

dredging chicken

Fry for 3-4 minutes per side or until nicely browned. These are thin cuts, so they won’t take long to cook. Place on a wire rack to drain.

frying buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich

Serve on butter toasted hamburger buns with 3 pickles. Cry because it’s so delicious. Forget Chick-fil-A ever existed. Feel good about that. Nap.

Pulled Chicken Tacos with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Pulled Chicken Tacos with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chipotle powder (optional, if you like it spicy!)
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp ground black pepper
4 bone in chicken breasts, skin removed (the bone really lends extra flavor to the finished chicken)
½ – 1 whole jalapeño, seeded and sliced
1 handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small onion, cut in wedges and pulled apart
½ cup chicken broth
Corn and Black Bean Salsa
1 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed well
3 ears of corn, kernels stripped
1 pint of grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small red bell pepper diced
1 small green bell pepper diced
1 cup red onion diced
½ – 1 whole jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
¼ cup of cilantro, chopped
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime
3 tbs light olive oil or canola oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Taco Finishings
Corn tortillas (I like the street taco size because 1. I like tiny food and 2. It helps me control my carbs. Hello Diabetes. I’m looking at you.)
Cubed avocado, tossed with a little lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil
Extra cilantro sprigs
Wedges of lime

Directions

Mix all the spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle them generously all over the chicken. Place the chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker.

Place the jalapeños, tomatoes, and onions on top of the chicken and pour the chicken broth over top.

Close the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the slow cooker and let it cool a little bit. Or do what I do and put on a pair of gloves and just start pulling the chicken apart with your fingers or two forks. Place the chicken back into the cooking liquid and keep the slow cooker on low while you get all your other ingredients together.

Corn and Black Bean Salsa

This couldn’t be simpler or more flavorful! Just put all your chopped ingredients and your rinsed and drained beans in a large bowl, add the lime zest and lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. I always finish my salsa and avocado with a little bit of olive oil. It gives it a smooth finish and a balances the acidity of the lime.

If using olive oil, note that it tends to solidify when refrigerated. If you’re not going to be eating all this salsa now (as improbable as that may seem) remember to take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes ahead of serving, to allow the oil to come to room temperature. Otherwise you can use a light oil, such as canola oil instead, which won’t solidify under refrigeration.

Corn and black bean salsa

Putting it All Together!

Warm your tortillas, choosing the method of your choice. You can wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave them for about 30 seconds or heat them in a skillet with a tiny bit of oil.

Now it’s time to put together your tacos! I like to make a taco bar out of the whole thing with the chicken on a platter and all the accompaniments in small bowls. This way everyone can make the tacos the way they want and is there really any wrong way?

Enjoy your tacos! It can be Taco Tuesday any day of the week!

Pulled chicken tacos with corn and black bean salsa on white pine table