Orecchiette with Baked Mini Chicken Meatballs

I love easy dinners, especially ones involving pasta! I found this recipe from Little Broken and it was perfect. It’s pretty easy to make and the chicken meatballs turn out really moist and delicious.

I did end up modifying it a little bit. I doubled everything except for the amount of pasta, which resulted in a solid 4-5 servings. I think if I would’ve stuck to the original, it would’ve been a good dish for 2 people, but then I would have ingredient leftovers. By doubling it, I was able to use everything I bought from the store.

Also, since the meatball mix was very moist, I used ice cream scoop to form my meatballs, but they didn’t hold their shape well and ended up with flat bottoms. I broiled them for 6-7 minutes because they didn’t seem remotely cooked at the 3-4 minute mark, like the recipe advises.

I’ve pasted the recipe below the way I made it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp grated onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp parsley (fresh is better but I used dried)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box orecchiette pasta
  • 1/4 – 1/2 reserved pasta water
  • 1 jar of tomato basil pasta sauce (I used Barilla)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mini mozzarella balls/pearls (or you can dice fresh mozzarella)

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the panko and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, until all the milk is absorbed.
  2. Add ground chicken, eggs, onions, garlic, parsley, sour cream, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well. (The mixture will be pretty wet)
  3. Set your oven’s broiler to HIGH.
  4. Lightly coat your baking sheets with cooking spray or oil.
  5. Place meatballs on the baking sheets (about 1 1/4 inch sized balls) in a single layer.
  6. Broil on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, or until meatballs are halfway cooked but still pink on the inside.
  7. Remove meatballs from the oven and let stand at room temperature while you start the rest of the recipe.
  8. Cook pasta according to package directions. Save about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water before you drain.
  9. In a large saute pan, heat up the tomato basil pasta sauce.
  10. Add the heavy cream and bring to a simmer.
  11. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.
  12. Add cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water.
  13. Stir to combine.
  14. Add the mozzarella balls and gently stir to combine.

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki over Rice

I’ve mentioned previously how to make a vegetable stir fry featuring teriyaki sauce, but sometimes you want some protein too. It’s a similar recipe, except that I cook the chicken and vegetables separately, and then combine then with some warmed up sauce. I don’t have a real grill at home, just a small George Foreman grill, so keep that in mind if you try this at home!

This can be made using whatever vegetables you want; I’ve just included the ones I like the most. You can add as much or as little sauce as you like and you can also replace the rice with noodles or quinoa or your favorite starch. (I should try my veggie spiralizer to make noodles for this …)

I’ve adapted this from the Cooking Classy recipe, but I’ve changed parts of it to suit my tastes. Personally, I find using teriyaki sauce from the grocery store that is already slightly thick is better than making teriyaki sauce from scratch. I also like to mix in a few other things.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thin chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, diced or cut into matchsticks
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, diced
  • 3/4 – 1 cup teriyaki sauce (I like to mix two parts island teriyaki with one part light soy sauce, with some hot chili sauce for a kick)
  • Cooked rice

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. (I use a rice cooker!)
  2. Brush about 1 tbsp olive oil onto your chicken breasts and, if necessary, onto your grill.
  3. Season the chicken with pepper.
  4. Grill chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  5. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then dice into cubes.
  6. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
  7. Add all vegetables and garlic. Saute 4-5 minutes until tender.
  8. While vegetables are cooking, heat up sauce in a small saucepan and let thicken slightly. (If necessary, you can add corn starch for more thickness)
  9. Turn off the heat. Add cubed chicken and sauce to the saute pan and combine.
  10. Serve over bowls of rice.

 

Tomato Basil Zucchini Pasta with Goat Cheese & Asparagus

I wanted to try out more “spiralized” vegetable recipes so I went to the Inspiralized website to research. They had a surprising variety of recipes but the most common zucchini recipes were “pasta” ones with tomato sauce. This one with goat cheese and asparagus seemed interesting, so I gave it try.

In the end, we liked it; the goat cheese gave it a nice flavor and the asparagus was a nice touch. However, shaving asparagus was really hard, so I think next time I would just cut bigger asparagus chunks. Also, the can of diced tomatoes I bought didn’t have that much juice, so my sauce was not as liquid and more chunky than I wanted. (However, the moisture from the zucchini helped a little) If you’re sauce is already thinner, you may want to remove moisture from the zucchini before cooking.

Since the meal was low calorie, I bought a fresh loaf of bread to make some garlic bread on the side. I posted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup red onions, diced
  • 14oz can diced tomatoes with juices
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 large asparagus spears
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • red pepper flakes, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  5. While the sauce cooks, shave the asparagus and and spiralize the zucchini. You can choose to include the asparagus tips or not.
  6. Once the sauce is done, cook the zucchini and asparagus in a separate skillet for 2-3 minutes, until al dente.
  7. Add basil to the tomato sauce and stir for 1 minute.
  8. Remove sauce from heat and stir in goat cheese.
  9. Add the noodles to the pan with the sauce and toss.
  10. Serve and top with goat cheese, basil and red pepper flakes to garnish.

One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta

I’m a big sucker for “one pot” recipes that are super simple, but sometimes they don’t always turn out well. I already make this One Pan Pasta with tomatoes that is pretty decent and great in a pinch, but it’s not the most flavorful dish. However, I found this amazing one pot recipe from Damn Delicious and it was everything I wanted in a quick recipe. It was super easy, super quick and very flavorful. My fiance and I gobbled it up and wanted more. I highly recommend trying it out if you love creamy pasta and want to make it quickly and easily!

We used a bit more cheese because my fiance loved it and since I didn’t have any fresh parsley, I just added a small amount of Italian seasoning to the sauce as it was cooking. It still turned out really great.

Click here for the full recipe. I’ve also pasted it below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I used reduced sodium broth)
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 oz fettuccine (I used De Cecco)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in chicken broth, milk, butter and fettuccine. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 18-20 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
  5. Stir in parmesan cheese. If the sauce it too thick, add more milk until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Japanese Curry Rice

When I traveled to Japan, one of the foods I came back loving was Japanese curry rice and curry katsu. This curry is a bit sweeter and thicker than other types of curry (like Indian or Thai) and it’s considered a Japanese comfort food. It reminds me of a hearty meat stew. It’s pretty easy to make at home, if you have access to the curry roux (which you can buy at a Japanese grocery store or maybe the Asian section of a supermarket).

I bought Vermont Curry, which is a popular brand of curry roux with a hint of honey and apple. (I don’t know why it’s named “Vermont”, though, haha) Most curry rice recipes are the same with small variations, but I decided to follow Ochikeron’s recipe, who is a great Japanese YouTube chef. You can also choose the level of spiciness you’re comfortable with, but my favorite is medium-hot.

Here is her video:

I’ve also posted the recipe below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 large box or 1 small box of Vermont Curry
  • 1 lb meat of your choice, sliced thin (I used pork loin)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 1/2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 medium carrot, cubed
  • 850 ml (or 3.6 cups) water
  • White rice

Instructions

  1. Prepare your rice according to package instructions. (I use a rice cooker)
  2. Heat cooking oil in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat. (I used a dutch oven)
  3. Add onion, potatoes and carrots to the pan and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until everything is coated with oil.
  4. Add meat and cook, stirring frequently, until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add water and bring to a boil. Remove the foam that forms at the top.
  6. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Turn off the heat completely. Add curry roux and stir until completely dissolved.
  8. Turn back on the heat and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes.
  9. Serve over the white rice.

Ravioli with Butternut Squash & Kale

Recently we had some leftover butternut squash (after a failed experiment to spiralize it) and wanted to cook it easily and quickly on a weeknight. I also got my hands on a bunch of kale, something I don’t usually cook with. I found a recipe that quickly sauteed the squash over some store-bought ravioli, and decided to throw the kale in for some extra nutrients and taste. It actually turned out to be a very satisfying meal and we’ll definitely add it to our meal rotation.

You could easily replace the ravioli with whatever you want, like tortellini or any kind of pasta. The cheese adds a nice finish to the meal overall.

I adapted this recipe from this Woman’s Day recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 package ravioli (I used Buitoni four-cheese ravioli)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash
  • 1 bunch of kale (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheeze, grated
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook ravioli according to package instructions.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add squash and kale. Season with salt and pepper for taste.
  4. Cook covered for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add garlic and thyme. Cook uncovered for a few minutes, until squash is tender and browned.
  6. Serve ravioli topped with the vegetables and parmesan cheese.

 

Chicken & Zucchini Noodle Caprese

Lately, my fiance and I have been looking for healthier meals, especially ones that are low carb. I’ve seen dozens of recipes using spiralized veggies in place of pasta, so I bought a cheap SpiraLife Vegetable Spiralizer from Amazon to try it out. (It’s easy to use, but will be more difficult with harder vegetables, like carrots)

I found a great recipe on my favorite healthy recipe blog, Skinnytaste, which included spiralized zucchini and some of my favorite ingredients: mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. I’m happy to say it was incredibly tasty; my fiance also gave it two thumbs up. Lucky for us, it’s a pretty low calorie recipe and we didn’t have to feel guilty about eating the whole thing.

Click here to see the whole recipe but I’ve posted it below for convenience.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped (I minced them for more flavor)
  • 3/4 lb grape tomatoes, halved
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and oregano.
  2. In a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil.
  3. Add chicken and cook, while stirring, for about 6 minutes, until cooked through and browned. Set aside.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add 1/2 tbsp olive oil.
  5. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 30 seconds.
  6. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  7. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until tomatoes soften.
  8. Increase heat to high. Stir in spiralized zucchini, basil and salt. Cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Add chicken and mozzarella to skillet and serve immediately.