The idea for these meatballs came in the car one day after getting a trunk full of groceries. We bought all the ingredients to make our weekly batch of crockpot spaghetti sauce, along with some other goodies and chicken breast. Originally we were going to make a traditional chicken parmesan, but to be honest it seemed like a lot of work – pounding the chicken into cutlets; breading the chicken; frying the chicken; and worst of all, cleaning up all the damn mess. I still wanted to make chicken parmesan though, so D.J. and I talked it out and we came up with a plan: Chicken Parmesan Meatballs. All the flavors of a classic chicken parmesan are mixed into these kid-friendly Chicken Parmesan Meatballs.
Meatballs were always very intimidating for me until I spent a week in New Jersey and learned how to make meatballs from D.J.’s uncle Glenn. Like lasagna, everyone always scared me away from making meatballs, but I got ambitious with these too, and figured out a different way to make them. Somehow I was going to make meatballs with all of the same classic flavors and ingredients, but with a lot less hassle.
So, if you are like me and have always been intimidated, or have just never even considered making homemade meatballs before, this is a great recipe to try making homemade meatballs for the first time. These chicken parmesan meatballs are VERY forgiving, and baking meatballs makes life so much easier. All you need to do is get a big bowl, mix all of your ingredients together, scoop into balls and bake! The prep time is a heck of a lot less than you would think, making this a perfect recipe for weeknight dinners! The meatballs also freeze wonderfully, so if chicken is on sale, and you have the time, stock up on these for easy dinners. Just toss the already made chicken parmesan meatballs into the next batch of crockpot spaghetti sauce, and the chicken and parmaseany (I’m sure thats a word) flavors will transfer through into your sauce making it even more delicious, and the meatballs will become very, very tender, and fall apart in your mouth – a winner in my book!
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Recipe
1 lb ground chicken
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet and spray with Pam, or brush with some olive oil, and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chicken until well combined.
Add chicken and mix with your hands, until it is a sticky, sticky mess and all of the chicken and bread crumbs are mixed together and you see no lumps.
Using a spoon scoop and shape chicken mixture into equal size meatballs, and place on your prepared cooling rack. I like to cook the meatballs without sauce so that I can transfer any leftovers to a freezer bag, and use them for future meals or lunches. (I only made a half recipe in these pictures – you should get about 25-30 meatballs from a whole recipe)
Bake for 20 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees on a digital thermometer.
Remove from oven and now you have two options:
1. Add crockpot spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese and broil and serve with pasta, or
2. Freeze for dinner another night
To serve, turn your oven up to lo-broil, and transfer meatballs to an oven safe baking dish. Top each meatball with 1-2 tbsp crockpot spaghetti sauce, and a little mozzarella cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and brown, and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with additional sauce and pasta.
If you do not have or cannot find ground chicken breast try grinding your own! No grinder? No problem. Simply dice and freeze chicken breast for about 20 minutes, and working in batches, transfer to food processor until it looks like ground meat – about 30-40 seconds of pulsing. One chicken breast this way gave me 20 meatballs!