Happy New Year, people! So far, it seems that 2014 is only about one thing: the cold.
Seriously, there’s something called a polar vortex screwing up all the weather across the US. The South is cold, the Northeast is freezing, the Midwest is like the Arctic. So, when it’s this cold out, I can think of only one thing to really warm me up: some hot – and fast – comfort food.
But first, let’s talk about meatballs.
I know. Everyone has their favorite meatball recipe. Grandma Whatever used to make them with so-and-so ingredient, and that means they’re the best meatballs on the planet. Sure, sure. We’re all entitled to our favorite meatball recipe. But sometimes you don’t have the time to let your meatballs slow-cook away all day in a pot of sauce. Sometimes you just want to stuff your face with meatballs before your nose falls off from frostbite. True story.
So when that happens to you, put Grandma Whatever’s recipe away, and whip up these bad boys instead. And in no time you’ll be enjoying heavenly little sausage meatballs, cooked (quickly) in a flavorful sauce.
Shortcut Sausage Meatballs
1 lb of Italian sausage (I used hot)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ bunch of scallions, diced
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
Your favorite pasta (I used spaghetti)
Grated Parmesan, for garnish
Start by removing the sausage from the casings. Place into a medium bowl and gently mix together. Roll cherry tomato-sized meatballs and place on piece of wax paper.
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook until they’re brown on all sides. Add the scallions and oregano, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Next add the crushed tomatoes, ½ can of water and the bay leaves, and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens and the meatballs are cooked through.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente. Then drain.
Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving.) Plate the pasta, top with a few meatballs and spoonfuls of sauce, garnish with some grated Parmesan, and eat.
So yeah, this is happening: two chicken recipes in a row. Does that make me a lazy cook? I say no. It’s just further proof of how cluckin’ crazy obsessed with chicken I am. And seriously – who’s not looking for another chicken recipe? Some people might find ground chicken a little weird, but without it, you wouldn’t be able to make tasty meatballs like these. Serve them with your favorite red sauce and pasta for a hearty, yet simple-to-make supper.
Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
– 1 lb of extra lean ground chicken
– ½ cup of breadcrumbs
– ¾ cup of grated Parmesan
– 1 large egg
– 2 teaspoons of Montreal Chicken seasoning
– 1 tablespoon of olive oil
– ½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
– Red sauce (like this perhaps?)
– Pasta, like ziti rigati
Heat your oven to 425º.
Mix the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, egg, seasoning, olive oil and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Form into 12 meatballs and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until golden brown.
I like to put the meatballs into a large pan of simmering sauce, and let it all cook together for about 10 minutes. The sauce gets added flavor from the meatballs, and the meatballs get covered in sauce. It’s a win-win situation.