Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Meatballs

You know what’s great? Meatballs. Perfectly proportioned protein-packed yumminess. And, not only are they easy and fun to eat – unless you toss the meatball too high and it goes into the ceiling fan – they can be served in so many different ways! AND, there’s even a song about them! What’s not to like? We love the meatball in my house. Our preferred medium is on top of spaghetti (…all covered with cheese…) but sometimes I like to change things up and make meatball sandwiches or even just serve the meatballs as they are.

Anyway, it’s rained practically the entire day here and when it rains, I turn to comfort food and baking. Since I’ve been at work all day, that means my comfort food has to be quick and easy because I don’t have hours to let something simmer on the stove. I subscribe to Food and Wine magazine (they are notorious for fabulous comfort food!) and I get an emailed newsletter from them that has great recipe suggestions. Today’s email included “Fast Dinner Recipes” and I was sucked right in. Who doesn’t want something fast after a Monday, of all days? Plus, I’m getting up in the morning to run and I’ve got an interval training class tomorrow night, so I need to make sure I’m fueled properly and then tucked into bed at a decent hour. I’m up before the dawn every day and I do NOT have time to stand at my stove for hours after a day of work. So, I opened the email to discover….(drumroll, please!)…. Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato meatballs. Um, hello?! You had me at “Fast Dinner Recipes” and then you want to add in meatballs?! Hook, line, AND sinker! Luckily, I had all but the ground chicken at home and I planned on serving it with a baguette instead of pasta so a quick trip to the store was not a problem (except for the part about the rain but, whatever, we’re talking meatballs here people). Easy peasy and dinner will be ready in no time! Seriously, this meal did not take long at all. 30 minutes. Actually, it was even easier than a Rachel Ray 30-minute meal. And less caloric! And, the meatballs were delicious!

So, homemade meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce in 30 minutes? Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Enjoy!

Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Meatballs

4 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained and blotted dry
2 large garlic cloves
1 large jalapeno – halved, seeded and coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting
One 14 1/2-oz can peeled whole tomatoes with their juices
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. In a food processor, pulse the sun-dried tomatoes, 1 garlic clove, half of the jalapeno, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/8 tsp of pepper until finely combined. Add the bread crumbs and pulse to combine. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the chicken, egg, and milk. Using lightly moistened hands, roll the mixture into 20 meatballs, a scant 1 1/2 tbsps each. Dust the meatballs lightly with flour, tapping off any excess.

2. Wipe out the food processor and add the remaining garlic clove and jalapeno half; pulse until chopped. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the oregano and process until smooth.

3. In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the meatballs and cook over moderate heat, turning, until golden but not quite cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the tomato sauce to the skillet and simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

4. Return the meatballs to the skillet and simmer, turning, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Serve with pasta or crusty bread

Serves 4. Per serving 290 calories, 10.4 gm total fat, 1.8 gm saturated fat, 16 gm carb.