Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011

I am not a big fan of red meat. In fact, I basically avoid it if at all possible... with one exception. I have a soft spot in my heart for flank steak. Growing up, mom would marinate a flank steak in Viva Italian salad dressing, dad would grill it, and we'd slice it paper thin against the grain. Put a little salt and pepper on that, and I was in red meat heaven. But, except for that, steak is not in my food vocabulary.

I've had a baked flank steak recipe in my box for a while, and Saturday was the prefect day to try it. The weather was terrible, so grilling out wasn't an option. We made it, and the flavor was really good, but it needs some tweaking on the cooking time. At first it was too rare, so I put it back in the oven, but then we took it out and it was overdone. All in all, the recipe is going to get a second try, but it hasn't yet earned my full endorsement and therefore isn't listed in this week's recipes.

Completely opposite from red meat in general, I am a huge fan of boneless, skinless chicken breast. It is so versatile; you can cook it so many different ways. I swear, I'd be perfectly happy to eat chicken every night. This week I tried a new chicken breast recipe. Sunday night we had Almond Crusted Chicken Cutlets. The chicken was fantastic, but the sauce (a beurre blanc), not so much; it was rich and heavy, and it should have been good! I used the wine I had on hand, and it just didn't quite match. Ryan suggests we give it a go again with a different white next time, and we'll see how that is. I am also inclined to find another sauce to match the chicken - maybe a balsamic reduction? Everyone at the table thought the chicken itself was a keeper, but it needs a pairing, so again, it isn't ready to be listed here. Hopefully soon!!

The big hit this week...chicken Parmesan meatball subs. I know, I know, a few weeks ago we had pizza meatball subs. But, a few nights a week are super busy, so dinners like these are easy to make and eat at different times as practices, late meetings, and class allow. The sauce alone would be worth making again as a quick weeknight pasta sauce! Pair up the sandwiches with a salad and dinner is ready to go...even if you are eating in shifts.

New Recipe
Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

* 1 lb ground chicken
* 1 tbsp grill seasoning blend
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup grated Parmesan (divided)
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain or Italian)
* Handful of chopped parsley leaves
* 4 tbsp olive oil (divided)
* 2 large cloves garlic (or 2 tsp)
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or as mush as you like)
* 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1 cup chicken stock
* Salt & Pepper to taste
* 8 to 10 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded
* 4-6 crusty sub rolls
* shredded mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Place chicken in a bowl and season with grill seasoning. Add egg, half of the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and a 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil to the bowl. Mix the meat and form 12-16 large meatballs. Bake the meatballs 15 minutes until golden and firm.

3. While the meatballs bake, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and garlic and cook 5 minutes then remove the cloves. Add crushed red pepper flakes and tomatoes; stir in the chicken stock. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and simmer 10 minutes, adjust seasonings and stir in the basil.

4. Remove the meat from oven and loosen with a thin spatula. Turn meat balls in sauce.

5. Slice rolls. Put sauce on each roll, then 2-3 meatballs. Combine the mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Sprinkle rolls with cheese and return to the oven to melt the cheese until golden (either under the broiler, or at 375 degrees).

I let the cooked meatballs "swim" in the sauce for a while until it was time for dinner. There was a significant amount of sauce left, and it is great on pasta for a meal another day. You can also serve the sauce on the side for dipping.