Chicken Parmesan…Smart on the Inside.

Chicken / August 12, 2014

Slowly but surely I am converting all of my shopping habits to smart habits. I’ve always eaten healthy — and I’m not the one who shows up at the check-out with 10 boxes of Twinkies and Red Bull –but I found that I can’t continue to trivialize just how much better real food tastes or how much better I feel when I eat smart food. So, with each visit I become more loyal to the good stuff.

Take chicken for example. You have seen the labels for Smart Chicken. Even if it is someone down the line with a higher IQ, it just sounds better than buying Dumb Chicken. And recently I decided to buy a pound of ground up Smart Chicken and see what would come of it.

First of all, ground chicken is STICKY. Ew. Without any fat content, it is like paste. However the color is a pale pink and you just know it has potential. And by the time I mixed in the onions, cheese, bread crumbs and such, I found that the only way to get it off my hands and onto the plate into with a shape that resembled an orb, was to moisten my hands with water. Worked great.

Most of the things I create are not preplanned. I just get out pans, wash my hands, roil around in the produce drawer, and start cooking. When the idea of turning Chicken Parmesan inside out came to mind, in the form of a classy, tender little meatball, it only made sense to nestle them inside a simple reduction of white wine, chicken stock and spike its silkiness with simple aromatics and a bit of chili flakes.

Now, how about this pasta I laid it upon. Yeah, cool, eh? I love the name of it! Casarecce, which loosely means home made. It’s a traditional pasta for Sicilian pesto dishes, but it the was perfect shape to latch on to those little tomatoes and peppers, and glistened when the sauce covered it and everything else in the bowl. Think it all sounds divine?

I know you want to try it, and certainly I encourage to not to eat dumb. Click here to get the recipe for my Smart CHICKEN PARMESAN MEATBALLS WITH CASARECCE AND A TOMATO WHITE WINE BUTTER SAUCE.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Casarecce With a Tomato White Wine Butter Sauce

serves 4

Ingredients Meat Balls:

1 lb ground organic chicken
½ C grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
½ C Italian bread crumbs
1 large egg
¼ C chopped sweet onion
1 t dried oregano
1 t red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

Ingredients Sauce:

1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with oregano and garlic flavor, drained
¼ green pepper, chopped
¼ C white onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 T of fresh basil (reserve some for garnish)
½ C sweet white dessert wine like a Muscato
¼ C chicken broth (low sodium)
1 T cornstarch
2 T butter
3 T olive oil
2 C uncooked casarecce pasta


  • Mix meatball ingredients together. Add salt and pepper to your taste. I added about 1 t salt and ½ t pepper to meatballs. Form into 1 and a half inch balls. In a large sauté pan, heat 3 T olive oil to shimmering. Brown the meatballs on both sides. About 2 minutes each side. Remove and cover with foil. Add the green pepper, the rest of the onion, the rest of the garlic and sweat. Add the wine and reduce for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the stock, salt and pepper, and heat through. Place the meatballs back in the pan, sprinkle with the basil, cover and let braise for about 10 minutes while the pasta cooks to al dente. With a slotted spoon, add the pasta to the sauce and meatball mixture, and cook for about another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove lid, take out about ¼ C of the liquid and whisk with the cornstarch. Put back in the pan, take off heat, and stir to thicken. SERVE!

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