Chicken, Spinach, and Cheese Meatballs

I’ve been trying out a lot of new recipes from one of my favorite food blogs, Once Upon a Chef, and this was my take on her Turkey, Spinach, and Cheese meatballs. These cheesy, light meatballs pack the punch of a traditional meatball with a little extra flavor due to the added cheese.

Ingredients

1 lb ground chicken breast

1 package sweet Italian chicken sausage, removed from the casings

1 yellow onion, finely diced

3 oz. chopped fresh and frozen spinach (squeeze the water out if frozen)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs

Olive oil spray, for the baking sheet

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

28 oz. can of tomato sauce

2 tbsp Italian seasoning (for the sauce)

Directions:

  1. Combine the spinach, onions, garlic, and egg in a large bowl
  2. Add in the ground chicken breast and ground chicken sausage, removed from the casings
  3. Mix in the seasoned breadcrumbs, parmesan, and mozzarella until well combined. Use your hands but be careful not to overwork the meat!
  4. Spray a large baking sheet with olive oil and roll 1-2 inch meatballs using your hands (my batch made about 20 large meatballs). Space them evenly on the baking sheet.
  5. Place under the broiler for 10-12 minutes, until the tops get a little golden and crispy looking.
  6. On the stovetop, heat up the tomato sauce seasoned with Italian seasoning. Add in the broiled meatballs and cover the tops with the sauce. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes until fully cooked through.
  7. Serve over pasta or with a side of veggies!
Mix up the egg, spinach, onion, and garlic
Combine the meats and cheeses until well combined
Before broiling…
After broiling…notice those beautiful crispy tops!
Simma simma…
And enjoy!
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Creamy Chicken Sausage and Spinach Over Pasta

While in quarantine during this crazy time, I’ve enjoyed clearing out some of my freezer staples to make a new dish. Today I took out two different kinds of Premio chicken sausage (Sweet Italian & Hot and Spicy) and a block of frozen spinach and made this delicious meal!

Ingredients:

2 packages Premio chicken sausage (any kind will do)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups chicken stock or broth (I actually used Better Than Bouillon chicken base and water — so good!)

10 oz frozen spinach

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 lb pasta of choice

1 tbsp butter

3/4 cup parmesan cheese

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut up your chicken sausage into 1/2 inch slices.
  2. Heat a dutch oven or large skillet and add olive oil. Add in chicken sausage and brown fully for about 5 minutes.
  3. Next, add in diced onions and saute for about 3 minutes. Then add in garlic for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
  4. Add in chicken broth and bring to a slow boil.
  5. Add in frozen spinach and mix into the pot.
  6. Add in crushed red pepper, to taste (if you don’t like it too spicy, don’t add).
  7. Add in pasta and cook in the boiling broth mixture for about 10-12 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Leave the lid off the pot so some of the liquid can evaporate to thicken the sauce. (Add a little more broth if the noodles are not all slightly covered with liquid). Stir frequently to ensure even cooking of the noodles.
  8. Once pasta is done, turn off the heat. Add in parmesan cheese and butter and mix well. Add a little salt and ground black pepper, to taste.
  9. Serve and sprinkle with some more parmesan cheese!

Stovetop Chicken Broccoli Parmesan Pasta

As this quarantine continues, I have to ditch my regular rotation of recipes and utilize whatever is left in the fridge. Yesterday I was trying to figure out how to use the ground chicken I had along with the broccoli that didn’t have much life left. I wasn’t feeling an Asian chicken and broccoli dish, so I decided to do a pasta dish! With a little inspiration from a Woman’s Day recipe I found, we came up with this! And it was a hit!

Ingredients

1 pound pasta (I used medium shells)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb ground chicken (can use ground chicken breast for a lighter take)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (more to taste for more heat)

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup Pinot Grigio (or some other dry white wine)

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 lb broccoli crowns, chopped finely

2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup finely grated Parmesan

2 tbsp butter

1 cup reserved pasta water (to thicken sauce at the end)

Directions

  1. In a separate pot, cook pasta according to their pasta directions. Add some salt to the boiling water to add some more flavor (we will be reserving one cup of this liquid before we drain the pasta!).
  2. Heat olive oil in a high sided skillet over medium heat and add in garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful not to burn!
  3. Add in ground chicken and red pepper flakes to the pan with the garlic. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Break up the chicken into small pieces as it browns in the pan.
  4. Once chicken is fully cooked (no more pink!), add in the white wine and let it simmer for about 2 minutes. It will evaporate a bit of the wine as it cooks.
  5. Add in the chopped broccoli and the chicken broth. Let it simmer and cook the broccoli for about 5-6 minutes.
  6. Add in the lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and a little more salt and pepper.
  7. Remove from heat. Add in butter and reserved pasta water to thicken the sauce.
  8. Toss your pasta into the chicken and broccoli sauce. Make sure it is fully covered. If you need more flavor, add more parmesan cheese, lemon juice, butter, red pepper flakes, or PEPPER! ( I love adding a bunch of pepper at the end!).
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Saute the garlic!
Add in chicken and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
After you simmer in the white wine (for about 2 minutes), add in the broccoli and chicken broth.
Reserve one cup of that pasta water goodness!
Now we have added in cheese, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, remove from heat and add in the butter and reserved pasta water.
Add in pasta and serve!
Delicious!

Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan

One of my absolute favorite classic Italian-American dishes is chicken parm. The one thing I hate about it is pan frying the chicken and having all that greasy mess in my house and in my food. Enter the air fryer! This air fried recipe is delicious, crispy, and flavorful!

Ingredients

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin cutlets (about 6-8)

1 1/4 cups Italian seasoned Panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup all purpose flour

Olive oil spray

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups tomato/marinara sauce of choice

Directions

  1. Prepare three shallow bowls. Fill one bowl with the flour, one with the egg beaten with a little water to thin it out, and one with the breadcrumbs mixed with the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
  2. Pat each piece of chicken dry. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour. Shake off excess. Then, dip in the egg. Finally, coat evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Set your air fryer to 375 degrees F. Spray the basket lightly with olive oil spray. Place chicken in air fryer in an even layer (you will most likely have to work in batches). Lightly spray the top of the chicken with the olive oil spray.
  4. Cook for 8-10 minutes on one side until chicken starts to look crispy and browned. Then, flip chicken in air fryer using tongs.
  5. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  6. Spoon tomato/marinara sauce onto cooked chicken in the air fryer. Then, layer with shredded cheese.
  7. Cook in the air fryer for an additional 2 minutes, or until melted to your liking!
  8. Serve with pasta or your favorite veggie!
Ready to coat the chicken! Note: I added a little salt and pepper to my egg bowl… I just love salt and pepper!
Coated and ready for the air fryer
Once the chicken is air fried and crispy, add the sauce and shredded cheese.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SP: 5 points per serving (6 servings total). Points were calculated using the Recipe Builder on the WW app.

Print a copy for your recipe binder!

Note: Nutrition information may not be exact. Ingredients were estimated and entered using verywellfit.com’s Nutrition Calculator.

Instant Pot Chicken Piccata

One of my favorite combination of flavors involves lemon, butter, olive oil, and garlic…but really, who wouldn’t like that? This Instant Pot chicken piccata recipe is a simple one pot meal that combines the functions of sautéing and pressure cooking to create the most delectable chicken and juices to pour over your favorite pasta, rice, or veggies.

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut thin or in strips (I bought tenderloins)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

2 lemons

1 clove garlic, minced

2 small shallots, finely diced

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Pat chicken dry. If it is a thicker breast, butterfly it and slice it into thinner pieces. I used chicken breast tenderloins and they worked perfectly!
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate. Toss the seasoned chicken in the flour to coat.
  3. Place your Instant Pot in “saute” mode. Melt the butter and pour the olive oil in the pot until hot. Brown the chicken in the oil and butter until golden/brown on the outside (will not be fully cooked through yet). About 2-3 minutes per side. Do this in batches, if necessary.
  4. Remove chicken to a plate.
  5. Quickly add shallots and garlic to the hot oil and butter. Stir around for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until fragrant–be very careful not to burn them!
  6. Add chicken broth into the Instant Pot to deglaze (be sure to scrape off any stuck brown bits from the bottom of the pot during this step –this will prevent a “BURN” notice when pressure cooking).
  7. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and layer slices from the other lemon in the liquid.
  8. Add chicken back into the pot and stir together.
  9. Close your Instant Pot with the lid and set the top valve to “Sealing” mode. Set to High Pressure for 4 minutes (more time may be needed for a thicker piece of chicken).
  10. Once 4 minutes has completed, allow for a natural pressure release for 5 minutes (don’t touch anything, pot will read LO:05).
  11. Release the pressure carefully, add in the rinsed and drained capers, and serve over pasta, rice, or veggies!

**NOTE: I do not thicken the sauce because I like to pour it over pasta as a lemon/butter sauce. Feel free to thicken it with additional flour at the end!**

Season the chicken
Dredge in flour
Brown in the butter/ olive oil
Remove chicken / add shallots and garlic to the Instant Pot
Deglaze pot with chicken broth / add lemon juice and lemon slices … then mix chicken back in and pressure cook for 4 minutes!
Ready to release the pressure and add the capers!
That sauce, though…
Serve and enjoy!

Weight Watchers Freestyle SP: 6 points per serving of chicken with sauce (add more for whatever you serve it with). This recipe makes 4 servings total. Points were calculated using the Recipe Builder on the WW app.

Print a copy for your recipe binder!


Note: Nutrition information may not be exact. Ingredients were estimated and entered using verywellfit.com’s Nutrition Calculator.

Trader Joe’s Pesto Genovese Chicken with Pasta

I’m currently in the process of moving to a new apartment, and with that comes the stresses of trying to avoid the takeout temptation every single night. The problem is, however, that I have absolutely no idea where half of my stuff is boxed. While this could be an easy excuse for me to get that personal pizza down the road, I’m fighting the urge (with a little help from my friend Trader Joe). Here’s a simple take on Trader Joe’s Pesto Genovese Chicken over pasta with more pesto sauce (can never get enough).

Ingredients

1 package Pesto Genovese Chicken Breast from Trader Joe’s

1 box whole grain rotini

2 packages Knorr Pesto sauce mix

Olive oil

Directions

  1. Get the water boiling for the pasta and sprinkle the water with some salt.
  2. In a separate small saucepan, dump in the two pesto sauce mixes with 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 1/2 cups water. Whisk together well and heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until boiling. Once sauce starts to boil, lower heat to simmer for 5 or so minutes.
  3. In a separate frying pan (I know, super chef on three burners!), pour a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the Pesto Genovese Chicken evenly in one layer in the pan. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  4. Once water is boiling, cook the pasta to package directions.
  5. Once everything is done, pour the saucepan of pesto sauce over the pasta and stir well until all combined. Then, place a piece of chicken over the pasta.
  6. Voila! Easy, delicious dinner! (Thanks TJ!)

Once you put it all together, here is the finished product! Delicious and it was a hit!

Trader Joe's Pesto Genovese Chicken with Pasta

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 package Pesto Genovese Chicken Breast from Trader Joe’s
1 box whole grain rotini
2 packages Knorr Pesto sauce mix
Olive oil

Directions:
1. Get the water boiling for the pasta and sprinkle the water with some salt.

2. In a separate small saucepan, dump in the two pesto sauce mixes with 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 1/2 cups water. Whisk together well and heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until boiling. Once sauce starts to boil, lower heat to simmer for 5 or so minutes.

3. In a separate frying pan (I know, super chef on three burners!), pour a little bit of olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the Pesto Genovese Chicken evenly in one layer in the pan. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

4. Once water is boiling, cook the pasta to package directions.

5. Once everything is done, pour the saucepan of pesto sauce over the pasta and stir well until all combined. Then, place a piece of chicken over the pasta.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SP: 14 points for one serving (this recipe makes about 6 servings). Points were calculated using the Recipe Builder on the WW app.

Note: Nutrition information may not be exact. Ingredients were estimated and entered using verywellfit.com’s Nutrition Calculator.

Veal Sauce Over Pasta

Here is the recipe for my absolute favorite meal from growing up.  The best part of it all?  It is so easy to make.  It’s almost hard to screw up!  And you are sure to impress anyone you serve it to.  Walking into the house after a long day and getting a whiff of the sautéed onions and garlic is one of the best moments of the week.

Ingredients

Note: Use whole wheat pasta if you are tracking WW points — saves 2 points per serving!

1 lb. ground veal

1 can 29 oz. Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

1 large red onion- chopped

1 tsp. chopped or minced garlic

1 box medium shells pasta (whole grain to save a few WW points)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Directions

1.  Saute onion in large skillet in extra virgin olive oil

2.  Once onions start to become translucent, add in garlic and stir

3.  When onions are almost fully translucent, add in ground veal and mix into the onions and garlic. Don’t let the garlic sit too long and burn!

4.  Mix veal until it turns completely brown

5.  Once veal is completely brown, drain the excess fat/oil (or let it burn off if there is not too much)

6.  Add in tomato sauce and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes (the longer the better — let those flavors sit!!)

7.  Boil pasta

8.  Serve veal sauce over pasta

9.  Voila!  The perfect meal for any occasion

Enjoy!!

Veal Sauce Over Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients
1 lb. ground veal
1 can 29 oz. Hunt’s Tomato Sauce
1 large red onion- chopped
1 tsp. chopped or minced garlic
1 box whole grain medium shells pasta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Saute onion in large skillet in extra virgin olive oil
2. Once onions start to become translucent, add in garlic and stir
3. When onions are almost fully translucent, add in ground veal and mix into the onions and garlic
4. Mix veal until it turns completely brown
5. Once veal is completely brown, drain the excess fat/oil (or let it burn off if there is not too much)
6. Add in tomato sauce and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes
7. Boil pasta
8. Serve veal sauce over pasta
9. Voila! The perfect meal for any occasion

Weight Watchers Freestyle SP: 11 points for one serving (this recipe makes 4 servings) — *Note 11 points is using Barilla Whole Grain Pasta, not the pasta pictured – add 2 points for regular pasta.* Points were calculated using the Recipe Builder on the Weight Watchers app.

Note: Nutrition information may not be exact. Ingredients were estimated and entered using verywellfit.com’s Nutrition Calculator.
**PPS: these calories are for 1/4 of a whole box of the whole grain pasta… a girl’s gotta eat!! To lessen the calories, cut the serving size to 2 oz. instead of 4 oz. of pasta.**