I can never get enough spaghetti and meatballs. It’s really one of the best comfort foods. Most people think you have to cook sauce for hours but I will never do that when I can make delicious marinara sauce (and meatballs) in half an hour. I always use canned San Marzano plum tomatoes for my sauce.
And people think you have to brown meatballs first before putting them in your sauce but I don’t do that either. By cooking the meatballs totally in the sauce they come out super soft and delicious. We had this tonight with a salad and breadsticks. I made cookies too.
For dessert I made soft & chewy oatmeal raisin cookies – super easy. I’ll be posting that recipe soon. Meantime, if you want to try my quick and easy spaghetti and meatballs recipe, click here. – Jenny Jones
Not all chicken meatballs are soft but these are. The secret is to cook them right in the sauce. Ground chicken breast is very lean and healthy but since it contains so little fat, it’s easy for chicken meatballs to become dry. But when they’re cooked in the sauce, they are beautifully soft and even more flavorful from absorbing the sauce.
Using fresh bread crumbs also helps with their beautifully soft texture. Fresh crumbs are made by using fresh bread, in this case whole wheat bread, and running it through a food processor. Since I always bake my own simple whole wheat bread, that’s what I use for the crumbs so it’s important to use a soft whole wheat bread for these fresh crumbs. Click here for my recipe and video on making bread crumbs.
You can put this meal, with sauce, together in about 1/2 an hour if you use myQuick & Easy Spaghetti Sauce. In fact, you can follow myQuick & Easy Spaghetti & Meatballs recipe and just swap the beef meatballs with my chicken recipe. Both of these sauce recipes are exactly the same. If you don’t want to use sauce and would prefer to pan-fry or oven-bake these chicken meatballs, you can do that. They won’t be quite as soft, and not as pretty, but they still taste really good.
I experimented with both pan-frying and oven-baking and here’s how you would do that. To pan-fry, heat a little olive oil in a large pan and cook the meatballs for about 10 minutes, gently turning to brown all sides. They won’t be meatballs any more… more more like meat triangles. To oven-bake, place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400° F oven for about 20 minutes. The meatballs are done when the inside reaches 165° F. As I said, they won’t be as pretty as the sauce version and here is the proof:
I told you they weren’t pretty!! Of the two options, the pan-fried meatballs tasted better, probably because they were browned. So now you have options, but I highly recommend cooking these chicken breast meatballs in sauce for the best result. – Jenny Jones
Looking for a family dinner that pleases everybody? Make my quick & easy spaghetti & meatballs! It only takes 35 minutes to make this delicious family favorite, all from scratch, and I promise you will never have leftovers. The lean meatballs are made with ground sirloin and they are super soft because they cook right in the sauce. The sauce is my quick & easy spaghetti sauce and I just add the meatballs (& spaghetti) to make this a complete meal… but don’t forget the salad.
This is really a quick & easy recipe because the sauce takes 5 minutes of prep and the meatballs take 10 minutes to put together. Then it all cooks in one pot and you have the most delicious spaghetti dinner. The sauce needs to cover the meatballs and the pot I use measures 7 1/2 inches across. If your pot is bigger than that, you might need to make more, smaller meatballs so they are covered by the sauce. Marinara sauce does not need to cook for hours on the stove. My recipe uses canned plum tomatoes, the best kind for sauce, and I prefer a smooth sauce so I puree the whole tomatoes first. If you like it more chunky, you can cut the tomatoes up with scissors or a knife for a chunkier sauce.
These meatballs and so soft they really just melt in your mouth. That’s because I use fresh bread crumbs and not dried ones. To make fresh crumbs, which are just soft bread in tiny pieces, I process two slices of bread in a food processor. Then I just wipe out the bowl and use the same one to puree the tomatoes. If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut the bread into small pieces and puree the tomatoes in a blender.
Whether you’re having company or a family dinner, you can’t go wrong with homemade spaghetti & meatballs. Try my easy recipe and you’ll see why they call it comfort food. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
If you like lasagna you will love this easy casserole. Baked ziti is a classic Italian dish and my version is light and healthy, made with lean ground sirloin and part skim cheeses. If you’re tempted to buy pre-shredded mozarella for this dish you may be disappointed. Any cheese that is pre-shredded will never melt as well as real cheese that you shred by hand. That’s due to the stabilizers that are added to packaged shredded cheeses. It takes about a minute to shred your own cheese so just do it. You’ll be rewarded with a creamy, melty dish that’s as close to lasagna as I’ve ever had.
Homemade marinara sauce is great if you choose but for this dish, bottled sauce works really well. Ziti is not always available so you can use other shapes of pasta with penne being the closest. The man in my life recently had a birthday and I offered to make him anything he wanted for dinner and for his birthday cake. He could have had anything that I make and guess what he wanted? He asked for baked ziti for dinner and my fresh strawberry cake for dessert. Good call, since I was eating here too. To try my Easy Baked Ziti click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Is there anything better to have with a salad than garlic bread? I love it! And since I make my own garlic bread all the time, I keep it simple and fast. What I usually do is preheat the oven (actually, I make mine in a toaster oven), prepare the bread, which takes less than 5 minutes, and I set it aside. Then I make my salad and dinner. When it’s ready for the table, I pop the garlic bread into the oven. Then I warm a plate, line it with a cloth napkin, and bring the fresh warm garlic bread to the table because fresh out of the oven is the best way to have it. And oooh, that smell!
I like to use thick slices of sourdough bread because you get a soft, golden top and nice crispy edges. And any day that I bake a loaf of bread, that’s always a garlic bread day. If you’ve ever had homemade garlic bread on homemade bread, well… I’m pretty sure you had three slices! My easy recipe makes two slices so double it up if you need more. Line your baking sheet with foil and there’s no cleanup.
There are lots of things people add to garlic bread like herbs or fresh parsley but I don’t think it’s needed. Try my version and let me know if you agree. Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones