I've made (and broken) my fair share of New Year's Resolutions in my life, but this year I'm trying something a little different. Instead of making a really specific resolution like taking up kale smoothies or losing those pesky 10 lbs around my midsection, I've resolved to simply take better care of myself.
By that, I mean I need to stop spending so many evenings on the couch, procrastinating on the more productive things I ought to be doing. It's far too easy for an entire evening to slip by watching bad TV, which happens to be my personal vice.
(Some people have a fondness for cigarettes or fine scotch... me, I love me some brainless television shows. I do draw the line at reality shows, though, because there's a difference between delightfully crappy and just plain bad.)
That's not to say that I'm planning on giving up bad TV entirely (especially not when we're into the final season of Glee), but I do plan on setting aside an evening or two to do more productive things.
Like, say, taking some classes to pick up some new skills, catching up with friends over drinks, researching my next big trip, or possibly reorganizing my disaster of a closet. Because no one ever looks back on their life and wishes they'd watched a few more episodes of Law and Order.
And heck, while I'm at it, I should probably try to eat a little better. More veggies and fiber, less desserts and greasy burgers.
I'm also trying to come up with some lightened-up makeovers for my favourite comfort foods, like these tender chicken meatballs tossed with spaghetti in a spicy red pepper sauce. It's the kind of dish that strikes a perfect balance between hearty and healthy, because there's really only so many salads a gal can eat before she's bored to tears.
I may even give those kale smoothies a try. I strongly suspect that's one resolution that won't stick, though.
- 1 lb lean ground chicken
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground fennel seed
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1½ cups jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lb uncooked spaghetti
- Grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
- Roughly chopped parsley (for garnish)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, shallot, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, salt, fennel and pepper. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined and then roll into 1" meatballs.
- In a large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high heat, brown the meatballs in olive oil for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet or large plate, and set aside.
- Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel, and turn down the heat to medium. Add the olive oil and onions, and saute until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and continue cooking for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
- Transfer the cooked onions and garlic to a food processor. Add the roasted red peppers, chicken broth and tomato paste, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- Return the sauce to the pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, along with any juices that might have accumulated. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through and sauce is slightly thickened.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water as per package directions.
- Drain the cooked pasta, and dump it into the pan with the sauce and meatballs. Toss to coat, then divide between four large bowls. Sprinkle with Parmesan and chopped parsley before serving.
Never did meat balls with chicken... I'm gonna correct this!
I made this for dinner tonight and it turned out really nicely! Thanks for the great recipe... will be making this one again :)
Ashley (QLCC) says
I looove roasted red peppers! Homemade sauce just always trumps store bought, it's way healthier and a lot less sugar.
natalie @ wee eats says
This pasta looks delightful - TV is our vice too. My other half and I actually started going for walks in the evening - just a quick 10 or 20 minute walk - just to get away from the TV because, as it turns out, we actually kinda like talking to each other. But if you put the TV and our cell phones in front of us it's almost like the other doesn't even exist.... haha!
Good luck with your resolutions - my resolution is to eat these meatballs because yes. I need them. And red peppers and I are kinda like "in a relationship" so I'm super digging on this right now.
Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) says
Yes! Taking better care of myself is my only "resolution" this year. these look great!
Good for you Isabelle - this sounds much more positive and possible than some of those all-too-intense kale-smoothie style resolutions. I'm with you - taking better care of myself it is! (I'm also with you in the trashy tv camp...love that stuff.)
Aurora Importing says
Everything about this recipe and post is just great, Isabelle! Do you think it would be good with corn meal pasta? I find it tends to feel lighter.