So, about that new leaf thing.
It's going well. And with a few iterations, a few experiments, it's amazing how quickly a just-okay dish becomes a real victory. Plus, with a few practice runs, I get faster and faster, so my weeknight repertoire expands to embrace things I might have previously considered too time-consuming or fussy.
Like, let's say, meatballs.
I love meatballs. The tiny little lamb meatballs I make as tapas, especially. And the more traditional kind, beef with breadcrumbs, that cook for hours in a Sunday gravy. But for health reasons and speed reasons, ground chicken is on hand more often than not, so that's what I've been experimenting with. And I've gotten it down to a science.
No binders, no breadcrumbs, no egg, no nothing. Just ground chicken mixed with a very generous helping of seasonings -- a mix of dried Italian herbs like basil and oregano, plus sriracha, garlic powder, black pepper, Worchestershire sauce, and red pepper flakes. And I mix it by hand right in the container it came in (take that padded lining thingy out first) and then pinch and roll the meatballs and drop them directly into the hot pan, working quickly enough that by the time the last meatball is in, it's time to turn over the first one.
Then in the tomato sauce, I throw in capers and black olives, which keep forever in the fridge, and add a little contrast. Sometimes I even chop the capers and put them in with the meat. Either way, if I add both capers and olives I don't add salt to the meatball mix, to avoid salt overkill. Especially there's romano cheese on hand.
The secret to keeping the meatballs from drying out is to cook them as little as you can get away with. Naturally, we're not serving chicken medium-rare, so that means browning on all sides and then checking with the Thermapen to haul them off the heat as soon as they hit 160. Carryover heat brings them up to 165, and boom, you're done.
Served with a little salad of baby spinach dressed lightly with lemon juice and walnut oil (olive oil would do just as well), these delivered a lot of bang for the buck, both calorie-wise and, well, buckwise.