Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Chicken meatball subs

Whenever I think of meatballs, I get this warm fuzzy feeling all over.  My stresses melt away, my mind becomes clear, and my stomach and mouth smile simultaneously.  I mean, meatballs, guys!

I think it's safe to say that meatballs make nearly everyone happy.  They've inspired movies, games, and even songs.  Okay, so that song isn't the most cheerful, but it's mourning tone confirms what I said about meatballs: everybody loves 'em!  

While I won't deny that meatballs are great atop a plate of pasta, sometimes I want less fuss and more meatball.  I can't be the only one who finds it slightly frustrating to have a bite of meatball on the end of my fork and can't seem to get the pasta twirled around it to stay in place long enough to travel to my mouth.  I end up ditching the pasta and saving it for another bite; it's delicious but not the most ideal vessel.  Meatballs or bust!

What if meatballs had a sturdier base?  Something more solid that could stand up to not only the heft of saucy meatballs but sauteed peppers and onions (mm hmm) and tons of melted cheese (ohh yeah).  Something like a crusty ciabatta roll.

I love the shape and texture of ciabatta rolls.  They're tailor-made for sandwiches.  Like, legit, hearty, manly sandwiches.  Piled high with sauteed veggies, meatballs made from lean ground chicken breast, sauce, and plenty of cheese.

Sandwiches that require multiple napkins.  This ain't yo' average PB & J of childhood lunchboxes.  This is the kind of sandwich that requires you to lean into it... literally.  Unless you want sauce on your lap.

Even with leaning, you'll probably have a smudge of sauce on your cheek and some on your fingers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  As Matt always says when I point out that kind of thing out to him, "I'm saving it for later."  Smart man.  Because this is one damn good sandwich, and you'll absolutely wish you had more later.  Love, love meatballs.

Two years ago: Monster cookies

Chicken Meatball Subs
(adapted loosely from Smitten Kitchen, Barefoot Contessa, and Bon Appetit)
-makes about 15-18 meatballs

A few notes: The peppers and onions are enough for 2-3 meatball sandwiches, so if you plan to feed more, double the amount of veggies.  Also, the meatballs will freeze wonderfully in a Ziploc bag; simply reheat in the microwave to enjoy.  Finally, if you want to really secure those meatballs, carve out a little of the bread from the bottom half of the roll to make room.

1 pound ground chicken
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 small white onion, sliced
1 cup marinara sauce
4 sandwich or hot dog rolls, any kind will do
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with nonstick spray; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine chicken, parsley, parmesan, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, "Wooster" sauce (as I call it), egg, and bread crumbs.  Form into balls just smaller than a golf ball and place on baking sheet.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until meatball is cooked through completely (test by cutting one meatball in half).

While meatballs are cooking, heat a skillet over medium heat.  Coat with nonstick cooking spray and add onions and peppers. 


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