• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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Tomato and Basil Chicken Meatballs

My grocery store makes huge piles of things at the entrance every few weeks. Jars of cranberry sauce six feet high tower over me in the fall. Cookies and cakes are piled in a tauntingly appealing display during the holidays. Plastic forks and paper cups sit amongst coupons for barbeques in the summer months. I suppose this ridiculous marketing scheme is one way of marking the change of the seasons. So I was quite pleased to walk into the store only to be greeted by not just the usual blinding florescent lighting, but also the deliciously fresh scent of large bushels of basil.

This, I thought to myself, called for a celebration. And while the basil smelled and looked terrific, the produce section was still not quite at it’s spring or summertime peak. So I turned to a common go-to ingredient: chicken. I flavored ground chicken with reduced tomato juice and plenty of fresh basil, then topped it with a rich, chunky tomato sauce. It’s a deliciously classic combination that’s also incredibly healthy! Add 2 tablespoons of cream or whole milk for a creamier sauce, or try pairing this dish with your favorite pasta for an even heartier meal!


Tomato and Basil Chicken Meatballs

Served 2.

Leftover Potential: Reheats well and could lead to a number of additional meals – think meatball subs, pasta, or turn it into a thick, hearty soup!

Tomato Sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
one 15 oz can, drained, reserve the juice (or 5-6 raw tomatoes, seeds removed and reserved, chopped)
salt, as needed
pepper, as needed
3 Tbsp basil, chiffonade

1. In a small pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove half of the mixture from the pot and reserve for the meatballs.
2. To the remaining onion mixture, add the tomato paste. Stir to combine, then add the tomatoes. No need to chop the canned tomatoes, just break them up slightly with your wooden spoon while you mix. This will create a chunky sauce. Turn the heat up to medium high, and allow the mixture to come to a boil – continue to boil until the liquid has reduced by half.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the basil. Reserve until needed.

reserved tomato juice or seeds
1 pound ground chicken
reserved onion and garlic mixture
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
2 Tbsp basil, chiffonade
salt, as needed
pepper, as needed
red pepper flakes, as needed, optional

olive oil, as needed for cooking

1. In a small pot, bring the tomato juice or seeds to a boil over medium high heat. Continue to boil until the mixture has reduced to somewhere between 2-4 Tbsp. Let cool slightly.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cooled reduced tomato juice with all other meatball ingredients. Mix well to combine. Using your hands, roll the mixture into small balls.
3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Place the meatballs in the hot pan, and allow to cook until nicely browned on each side and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Serve with the chunky tomato sauce.




2 Responses

  1. […] some chicken stock would make this into more of a soup, which I could see being delish! 1 cup tomato sauce 3/4 cup white beans, cooked (I like to cook mine in chicken or veg stock for more flavor) 1 Tbsp […]

  2. […] Sub Served 4. Leftover Potential: The meatballs can be reheated and eaten alone or with pasta. 1 recipe chicken meatballs 1 recipe tomato sauce fresh mozzarella cheese, as needed 1 baguette, halved, cut into four equal […]

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