Chicken Parmeatballs

After Brent’s fabulous vacation to Costa Rica & Panama, he has adopted yet another expensive hobby – scuba diving. However, this activity is one I think I may need to get into as well. Fortunately, he found the Dive Shop where they offered to take me in the pool for free to first see if I would even like it before I go spending money on classes. Umm, yes please! Let it be known that I will be breathing under water by the end of today.

In other news, I’ve been craving Chicken Parmesan for quite some time, but decided to try and change it up a bit. As if a light-bulb popped out of my head like in the cartoons, meatball-style came to mind. Even decided to stuff it with Mozzarella instead of putting it on top – stuffed yet inside-out? Whatever it is, I love it. The meatballs were even a bit crunchy on the outside, which convinced me to refrain from coating the meatballs in a Parmesan-bread crumb crust. Also whipped up some roasted broccoli and garlic knots to go along.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn

1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Pinch sugar

Salt and pepper

1 lb ground chicken breasts

1 Tbsp grill seasoning blend

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

Handful of parsley, chopped

4 oz Mozzarella, cut into 12 cubes

1 lb whole wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Coat a medium skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the basil, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.
  3. While the sauce cooks, place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Mix in the egg, Parmesan, bread crumbs, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and squish to flatten them; place one cube of Mozzarella in each, forming the meatball around the cheese. Bake the meatballs in a baking pan for 15 minutes until golden and firm. Remove from oven.
  4. Serve over spaghetti topped with Parmesan cheese, yum!

Source: Adapted from Tyler Florence and Rachael Ray from Food Network

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