Have you recovered from Thanksgiving yet? I hope yours was lovely! We spent the day last week with my family on Long Island and it’s that kind of whirlwind round-trip-in-one-day which reminds me that it’s the time of year now that flies by in spite of me trying to hold on and slow it down. In December, I always seem to find myself craving not only hearty dishes, but fast ones as well.
Between work, my commute, decorating, shopping, wrapping, working out, household chores, visiting family and friends, baking, and making time to spend with Kyle in front of the tree with a glass of vanilla nog in hand, I truly rely on dinners like these toasted chicken parmesan meatball sandwiches to pull me through the week. I’ve made the meatballs a number of times in the past couple of months and we completely adore them.
And stuffed between two slices of sourdough with some extra sauce and mozzarella before toasting? I need no convincing. These sandwiches are quick and easy enough to slap together on a weeknight (which Kyle did for us one night last week while I was at the gym) and the meatballs keep well for a few days in the fridge if weekend prep is more your thing. I have a few more busy weeknight meals ready to share with you over the next couple of weeks but for now, I’m pretty positive these chicken paremsan meatballs will make you quite happy. Oh and yep – that’s totally red wine in a jelly jar – a holiday season necessity.
Chicken parmesan lightened up in a meatball form. If you can only find chicken in a 1 ¼ lb package, use the full amount and don't adjust the amounts of the other ingredients - the end result will still be excellent and you'll end up with closer to 12 meatballs instead of 9.
- ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp grated onion
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2 tbsp marinara sauce
- Sourdough bread, sliced thick
- Shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
- Marinara sauce
- Fresh basil, chopped
- To make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add all of the meatball ingredients, minus the marinara sauce, to a large bowl and with a fork, stir lightly until well-combined. Using a large cookie or ice cream scoop, portion out the meatball mixture into 9 large meatballs, shaping each into a ball with your hands - lightly damp hands help to prevent sticking. Place them in rows of 3 on the prepared baking sheet. Spoon a little marinara sauce over the top of each meatball. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the inside reaches 160° F on an instant read thermometer.
- While the meatballs bake, lay the bread slices out, sprinkle each with some cheese. Once the meatballs are baked, let them cool for 5 minutes then slice them each into thirds. Lay the meatball slices out over half of the bread slices. Spoon a little extra sauce over the meatballs then sprinkle some basil on top. Flip the remaining bread slices on top of the meatballs.
- To toast the sandwiches, you have a few options: 1) A preheated panini maker, 2) Melted butter in a hot cast iron pan (grilled chicken parmesan meatballs sandwiches!), 3) Bake the sandwiches on a baking sheet for a few minutes at 425° F to melt the cheese then toast both sides of the sandwiches under the broiler. There's no need to butter or oil the bread if you're going to use the panini maker or the oven if you want to lighten things up - the sandwiches will toast perfectly without any extra fat.