We've made this a couple times in the past month, and were completely blown away by it the first time. I knew I had to make another batch right away to take a freaking picture of it before we ate it all in one sitting AGAIN. Yes. All in one sitting.
Notice the servings size is 6-8.
In our house, there are 2 adults, and one kid.
You do the math.
I get the question all the time why my husband and I haven't gained a zillion pounds since I started food blogging. The answer to that question is one simple thing...
I HAVE NO IDEA.
Okay, maybe a little exercise and moderation?
Maybe we just feed all our desserts to our neighbors so I don't stuff my face with 10 servings of cookies before lunchtime?
Maybe Ryan's metabolism hasn't gone postal yet, or maybe it's because he's a runner?
I still have no idea.
Me? I feel a bit more squishy than my 115 pound high school self, but I'm not about to leave behind beautiful dishes like this to turn into a stick again. I mean, LOOK AT THOSE MEATBALLS! I could never resist. It's a curse. A creamy, hearty, cheesy, delicious curse.
The first time I made this, Ryan was expecting meaty-meat-beef-meatballs. So when he took the first bite of these made-from-scratch chicken meatballs, he was shocked how amazing they were. These little babies are packed with such beautiful flavor, and have such a moist texture inside. I added the extra step of breading the meatballs before browning them, and it makes these things a solid 10/10. The sauce is from scratch, as well, but don't let this all scare you away from a meal you'll never forget! Even typing this now I'm feeling another batch coming on :)
Oh - one last thing: make sure you serve this over a bed of pasta, or even those delicious zoodles (zucchini noodles) I've been seeing all over the blogosphere :). Or you could just attack the pan with a couple forks. We are simple barbaric, sometimes.
Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
in Tomato Cream Sauce
makes 6-8 servings
1 28oz can whole tomatoes with liquid
1 T butter
1/4 C finely grated/chopped onion
1 1/2 T tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1/3 C heavy cream of half-and-half
1 T chopped basil
2 C dried panko - japanese bread crumbs
1/3 C dried parsley
1 t dried basil
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 t kosher salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 lbs ground chicken
2 t olive oil
4oz shredded mozzarella
2 T freshly grated Parmesan
2-3 t minced fresh basil
1. To make the sauce: add the tomatoes and juice in a blender and puree completely into a sauce. Melt the butter in a large deep skillet, and saute over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 1 minute, stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the pureed tomato sauce from the blender, and lower heat to a simmer. Cook about 8 minutes, until sauce is thickened a bit, and then season with salt and pepper. Remove deep pan from the heat, and stir in the cream and basil. Taste, add more seasonings if necessary (I sprinkled in about a half teaspoon of garlic powder, and added more salt). Set aside while you make the meatballs.
2. To make the meatballs, combine 1/2 C panko, grated onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic, and egg in a food processor. Blend together until just combined then toss in the ground chicken. Gently pulse a couple times until egg mixture coats the ground chicken. Pour the rest of the panko in a small bowl. Form the ground chicken mixture into small meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter, and then toss into the panko bowl for an extra coat.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Heat the olive oil in a separate skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs to the pan and cook until all sides are browned. When the meatballs have been browned on all sides, carefully place into the tomato cream sauce pan. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
5. Top meatballs/sauce with mozzarella and more parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is fully melted and bubbling, and meatballs have reached 165 with a meat thermometer, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven an garnish with fresh basil. Serve warm over a bed of pasta, or as is with a nice green salad.
recipe adapted from: annie's eats