Cooking my way to happiness with Rachael Ray

What’s for Dinner…Chicken Parm Meatballs and Spaghetti

This was the perfect dinner since it is 11 degrees outside.  Let’s talk ingredients.   First, ground chicken.  I look and look and all I see is ground turkey.  Then I find one last pound, exactly what I need.  Either ground chicken is very popular or I just got lucky.  Either way I had what I needed.  I started to Google San Marzano tomatoes and then look up at the top shelf and there they are among all the other canned tomatoes.  Very strange, I think this is my lucky day and something good is going to happen.  I find everything else within 20 minutes and I’m out of there.  By the way, Target on 119th has the best live herb selection.  You just stick them in a glass of water and they are great for about 3 weeks. 

San Marzano tomatoes are a product of Italy.  They have a distinct flavor and are grown in the Agro Sarnese Nocerino region of Italy, renowned for its especially fruitful soil as a result of its proximity to Mount Vesuvius.  There is your geography lesson of the day and something to talk about over dinner.

The meatballs were really good and the kids had no idea there was spinach in them, another plus.  Moms can be so sneaky.  The sauce was made with the tomatoes from Italy and fresh basil, garlic and EVOO.  I grated the garlic into the pan.  This is something Rachael does a lot.  I do think it’s less work than putting it thru a garlic press, however, I always end up grating just a little bit of my finger.  When I was grating the onion I really did think I grated too much skin because I thought I saw blood.  It turned out to just be tomato paste.  And speaking of tomato paste, it is always better in the tube versus the can.  It is harder to find, so when you do, buy a bunch!  You had the choice of using chicken stock or dry white wine.  I think everyone knows I chose the wine just because it’s more fun.  The tomatoes put the sauce over the top. One word about cheese – nothing is better than parmigiano reggiano so just cut off a little bit to eat before you shred the whole thing up.  I used whole wheat pasta because it is just better for you and I like the texture better. We had one extra kid for dinner.  I told her to tell her parents she had spaghetti with tomatoes imported from Italy. I wasn’t lying.

It did end up being a lucky day.  The furnace guy came by for routine maintenance that we prepay for and found a faulty board that broke while he was here, so he had to replace it for free since it was working when he first arrived.  I saved $768.  Of course can you really believe him? 

Dinner on a scale of 1-10………9.8.  Print it off, it’s a keeper!

Chicken Parm Meatballs and Spaghetti


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