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Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in Tomato Cream Sauce
Meatballs in tomato sauce are the best comfort when you're fighting an unrelenting cold. This can be eaten alone with bread or they would be great over pasta, quinoa, on a sandwich or maybe even cut up and added to a pizza. Enjoy! Yield: 6-8 servings For the sauce: 1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, liquid reserved 1 tbsp. butter ¼ cup finely chopped onion 1½ tbsp. tomato paste 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ tsp. red pepper flakes Salt and pepper, to taste 1/3 cup heavy cream or half-and-half For the meatballs: ½ cup dried panko 1/3 cup grated onion 1 tsp. dried parsley 1 tsp. dried basil ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 3/4 tsp. kosher salt ¼ tsp. ground black pepper 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1½ lbs. ground chicken 2 tbsp. olive oil To finish: 4 oz. shredded mozzarella 2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan 2-3 tbsp. minced fresh basil (optional) INSTRUCTIONS: To make the sauce, add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding a bit of the reserved liquid if necessary to smooth the mixture out. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook about 1 minute, until it begins to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato mixture, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 5-8 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. Set aside. To make the meatballs, combine the panko, grated onion, parsley, basil, Parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic and egg. Stir together with a fork just until blended. Mix in the ground chicken and knead together gently until evenly combined. Form the mixture into meatballs about 1½-inch in diameter. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan in a single layer. Let cook, turning occasionally, until all sides are browned. Once all of the meatballs are browned, place them in the pan with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the mozzarella and additional Parmesan over the top. Bake until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with the fresh basil. Serve warm.
Best Mac & Cheese
This is probably the best mac & cheese I've tried to date. It's creamy, gooey, savory, and cheesy. Basically, everything that makes the perfect mac & cheese. Ingredients: 8 oz. (1/2 pound or about 1 3/4 cups) macaroni or other medium tubular pasta (like penne or conchiglie)* 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more for sprinkling on top 2 1/2 cups 2% milk 3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese* Directions: 1. Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking if it's going to be awhile before you make the sauce) 2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 3. To a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika. With a wooden spoon or whisk, stir constantly for three minutes. 4. Add the milk in a thin stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Continue to stir constantly until the sauce thickens, about 10-12 minutes. 5. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss gently until all of the pasta is coated. 6. Add half the pasta to a two-quart casserole dish (I like a tall 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish). Sprinkle on half the cheese. Add the rest of the pasta. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, then dust lightly with the smoked paprika. 7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the mac and cheese starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top. Serve, topping individual servings with cooked, chopped bacon if desired.