Chicken Meatball Sandwich

I opened a restaurant menu at lunch the other day to see “chicken meatball sandwich” and instead of doing the normal thing when seeing something I want to order, I instead made a mental note [“make for dinner”] and ordered a salad. Sure, part of it was I wanted to share this amazing sandwich with my husband, and part was I wanted to try my hand at making a meatball sandwich, but the bottom line? I wanted to have the leftovers in my fridge at my immediate disposal for the next few days.

I know you are thinking “it’s just a meatball sandwich,” but is there is anything more satisfying? It’s meaty, hearty, and super tasty. Put simply, amazing. I feel like I could eat one every day. Obviously I won’t do that, but it may appear that way for the next few days.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best)
  • garlic powder
  • 1 jar spicy marinara sauce, or sauce of your choice
  • provolone cheese slices
  • hoagie rolls

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. With clean hands, mix ground chicken, bread crumbs, onions, milk, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, and parmesan cheese in a medium bowl, ensuring all ingredients are incorporated. Form into 2 inch round meatballs (makes about 12) and place on cookie sheets. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder. Bake for about 20 minutes, cutting one open to make sure they are cooked through (no pink).

Heat marinara sauce in a dutch oven or large pan. Add meatballs and let simmer for 20 minutes, or longer. When ready to serve, place 1 to 2 slices provolone cheese on a hoagie roll. Top with three meatballs. Toast in convection oven for 3-5 minutes, or microwave for 20 seconds. Cheese should be melted and bread should be warm. Makes about 4 servings. Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake Bars

Mmmm cream cheese frosting. Need I say more? Probably, since the title of this post is Carrot Cake Bars. Let’s switch to carrots. They can be sweet; they can be savory. Their bright orange color is enough to brighten up your mid-winter blues. They are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamin A. Put into a batter, the flecks of sunshine create sweetness and add moisture. I find that carrot cakes actually get better as the week goes on. They keep their tender texture and don’t dry out. Must be the magic of carrots (and maybe raisins).

And what’s better, they can be put in cake. CAKE! With cream cheese frosting.

And quite honestly, is there anything dreamier than a moist carrot cake with smooth cream cheese frosting? Both decadent and healthy if done the right way.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 chopped walnuts

for the frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (can be low fat)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar

How To:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first seven ingredients (carrot through ricotta cheese) in a large bowl. Add melted butter and brown sugar and mix well. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats through walnuts). Stir the carrot mixture into the dry ingredients until fully combined but do not over mix.

Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan and smooth over with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes (a toothpick should come out clean).

For the frosting, whip cream cheese (easier if at room temperature), butter, vanilla, and sugar. Once the carrot cake is cool, frost and cut into squares. Take a minute to enjoy the smooth cream cheesiness. Or, just eat a bar or three.

Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles

Swedish meatballs is one of those things I completely forget about until I get an intense craving and its crazy because they are so easy. I should be making them weekly, or freezing and saving them for that day I’m running around everywhere and get home at 7pm. They can be an instant dinner.

I make my version with egg noodles. Traditionally I believe they are served with potatoes. But like beef stroganoff, swedish meatballs are super tasty with wide noodles that sop up all the delicious gravy. I add soy sauce to the gravy not only to give it a richer color (I use chicken broth, which tends to make a very light gravy), but also to give it depth of flavor. Finally, I add shredded carrots – they bump up the vegetable ratio.

I highly recommend Swedish meatballs on a winter night after trudging through snow that leaves you feeling like a Viking.

Ingredients: makes about 20 meatballs

  • 1/2 large sweet onion, peeled, grated (a cheese grater works great)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground bison, turkey, chicken, pork, or beef
  • 3 tablespoons shredded carrots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound egg noodles
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 quart (4 cups) broth of your choice (I used chicken)
  • soy sauce, about 3-4 tablespoons
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

How To:

Sauté the grated onion in the butter over medium heat until it turns translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once onions are cool, mix with breadcrumbs, egg, ground meat, carrots, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, and pepper. Use your hands to get ingredients fully mixed. Take tablespoonfuls of meat and roll into meatballs. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over meatballs, lightly coating each one. Bake for 20 minutes or test for doneness by cutting one open. It should be brown throughout.

Boil six cups water for egg noodles. Cook and drain noodles according to package directions while working on the sauce. For the sauce, heat the 5 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted,  slowly whisk in the flour. It should look like a medium beige. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, letting the gravy thicken before adding more liquid. Continue to whisk constantly; you want a smooth and silky gravy. Turn heat to low and add sour cream. Next add meatballs.

To serve, create a bed of egg noodles in each bowl. Add 4-5 meatballs and sauce to each.

Meatballs and sauce can be frozen. Use a glass container so you can pop it in the microwave to defrost for several minutes until both sauce and meatballs can be removed, then place in a skillet to heat through.