Chicken Meatballs

Do you ever wonder what you can do to help when someone has a baby?  Has surgery?  Just can’t get out of the house?  Needs assistance of any kind?  Make a freezer full of ready to go meal ideas, that’s what.  This is our favourite way of helping anybody.  Just make sure you find out first what kind of food they like to eat – after all, it is about what their household needs, not what you like to eat!!  These chicken meatballs are one of the best and easiest to do – they can be frozen individually and then tossed into a large ziplock bag so that when dinner comes around they can either go on the bbq and be served with tzatsiki dip, go into a tomato sauce and become spaghetti, or just served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.  The possiblities are limited only by your imagination …

Meghan and I had a great time creating food that Hayley and Mike could have ready to go after their adorable little baby girl Sloan arrived!

2 pounds ground lean chicken meat – please use a butcher and good quality meat

1 small onion, grated

lots of fresh herbs, minced very fine – I like basil, oregano, rosemary and parsley

2 cloves garlic (don’t overdo the garlic in case you are preparing these for a nursing mother or other sensitive eater)

1/2 cup finely ground bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients and blend well (your hands are the best possible tool), then roll into balls.  Toss lightly in flour and set on baking sheet.  Allow to freeze individually and then put all of them in a freezer container or ziplock bag – label it!

Lemon Herb Chicken Linguine

This light and fresh summery pasta is perfect for a sunny day – takes so little effort and won’t heat up your kitchen either!

CHICKEN

4 chicken breasts

2 tbsp minced fresh herbs – basil, parsley, oregano

1 heaping tbsp dijon mustard

1 lemon – juice and zest

2 tbsp olive oil

Marinate all above ingredients in a ziplock bag for a minimum of 1 hour, and preferably overnight.  (My favorite trick is to have this already made and in the freezer, pull it out in the morning and you are ready to proceed when you get home from work!)

Grill chicken breasts until no longer pink inside, and juices run clear.  Allow to rest while you cook the pasta.

PASTA

1 pack linguine noodles (or honestly, whatever you like!)

broccoli – broken into little trees (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups) or snap peas!

1 lemon, juice and zest

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp of your best extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp roughly chopped basil

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Cook linguine in a pot of well salted water – for the last 3 minutes toss in a generous handful of broccoli heads.  Drain pasta, reserving some of the liquid.

In large serving bowl toss the cooked broccoli and pasta with the lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, crumbled feta, basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil over top, and add just enough pasta water to allow you to toss the pasta easily, and it creates just a light bit of sauce.

Slice chicken on the diagonal, and serve over the pasta.

Fresh Herb Aioli

You will love this!  Such a fresh hit of herb flavour, fantastic used as a burger topping, vegetable/crudite dip or just plain old potato chips.

1/2 cup mayonnaise                      

1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lemon – juice only

1/3 cup finely minced chives

The herb part is where it gets really personal …. use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand, and be generous with them. (at least 1/2 a cup in total)

basil, parsley (flat and curly leaf), oregano, rosemary, tarragon

Crispy Gouda Herb Cornmeal Muffins

2 cups cornmeal

2 cups flour

2 tbsp plus 2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 (rounded) tsp cumin

1 tbsp minced fresh basil

2 sticks unsalted butter – softened

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

3 cups shredded gouda cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease or line 2 12 cup muffin tins.

Combine all dry ingredients, including basil – set aside.

In large bowl beat butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time.  At low speed beat in half of the milk, then half of the dry ingredients.  With rubber spatula fold in the rest of the milk and the dry ingredients – stir in cheese.  Do not over mix.

Spoon batter into baking cups – I like to add a bit more grated cheese to the top and a sprinkling of freshly ground salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and pulling away from the tin.  Transfer to a rack to cool.

Fantastic served with soup (try Roasted Potato Fennel Soup!) on a cool night.