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.

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.

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.

Creamy Tortellini with Sweet Potato & Spinach

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t had time to cook as much as I want to. Because I’m busy, I get excited when I find a recipe that’s so easy to prepare, it seems just as convenient as take out. This recipe was found on The Kitchn and it was very easy and quick, plus only involved one pan! (My favorite kind of recipe) It also seemed healthy-ish with the addition of spinach and sweet potato. The recipe says it serves 4 people but I’ll admit, my fiance and I ate the entire thing between the two of us. (Whoops)

I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience but you can find the whole recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp minced rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 5 oz baby spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 12 oz bag of frozen tortellini

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in sweet potato, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and stir occasionally for 5 minutes, until the sweet potato begins to soften.
  4. Uncover the skillet and add the broth, scraping off any browned bits from the skillet.
  5. Add the spinach in small handfuls, stirring until they are wilted.
  6. Stir in the half-and-half.
  7. Cover and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  8. Uncover and stir in the tortellini.
  9. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tortellini are plump and cooked through.

Grilled Chicken Bruschetta

I know I’ve been posting a lot of recipes from Skinnytaste, but the site is so great for finding healthy and yummy recipes. Seriously, every dish I’ve tried from her site has been so delicious. One of my recent favorites has been her Grilled Chicken Bruschetta, which is so quick and easy but incredibly flavorful. I’ve had it once over pasta and once with mashed cauliflower, but it could go great with any carb or even a bed of lettuce. Plus, mozzarella + balsamic + tomato = one of the greatest combos ever.

I’ve posted the recipe below for convenience but she has a lot of great pictures on the blog post.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 oz part skim mozzarella, diced
  • 1.25 lb thin chicken breasts

Instructions

  1. Combine onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Set aside a few minutes.
  2. Place chopped tomatoes in a large bowl. Combine with garlic, basil, salt and pepper and the onion/balsamic mix you put aside.
  3. Set aside the tomato mix for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat your grill (I use a George Foreman) and oil the surface to make sure it doesn’t stick.
  6. Grill chicken for 2 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
  7. Add mozzarella into the tomato mix and toss.
  8. Serve chicken breasts with the tomato mixture on top.