Last week a bunch of other food bloggers and I attended a webinar hosted by none other than The Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, to talk about food trends in 2013. Ree’s choice for biggest breakout star in the upcoming year?
I know! Not entirely groundbreaking, as she admitted herself, but I couldn’t agree with her prediction more, as me and meatballs are kinda like this. From Sneaky Meatballs, to Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs, and Buffalo Chicken Meatballs (heck even accidental “dessert” meatballs) I’ve been on board with this trend since, like, yesterday.
Maybe it’s because meatballs are so versatile. Pick any meat you like, throw in any spices you like, maybe stuff a cheese cube or 7 into the center, then bake. That’s it! They’re also super comforting, and you can never go wrong with comfort food.
Picture a giant plate of spaghetti topped with three big Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, engulfed in a big ladleful of hot marinara sauce. Crispy garlic bread on the side. Doesn’t that sound like something your Mom or Grandma would make you? Or your resident Iowa food blogger, perhaps? That’s what I served Ben and me for dinner last night, then I used the leftover meatballs to make these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Subs for lunch today. These are fantastic!
Shredded zucchini, parmesan cheese, garlic, and dried basil give life to 99% lean ground chicken breast, which are mixed, rolled, and baked until golden brown. The baked meatballs are nestled into a crusty roll, topped with marinara sauce, and fresh mozzarella cheese, then broiled until hot and melty.
Um, I could eat these subs all day long. The bread stays crusty on the outside, but gets chewy on the inside, and the parmesan cheese in the meatballs give them so much flavor. These Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Subs are so yummy – you have to give them a try!
Start out by making the meatballs. I stole the moist-meatball-making secret from my Sneaky Meatballs Subs and first shredded up 1 small zucchini. You could use a box grater or food processor fitted with the grating disc for this. The zucchini gives the nearly fat-free chicken tons of moisture so they’re not dry and crumbly – plus it provides a little vitamin boost, FTW!
Next grate in or chop up 2 garlic cloves.
If you’re using a food processor, switch to the non-sharp S blade now. BTW, Ben got me my Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor several years ago, and it’s definitely my kitchen’s MVP. A sizable investment, but worth every penny!
Next add 1lb 99% fat-free ground chicken breast.
And some flavorings and spices. That’s 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/3 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese (I used the small grater side of my box grater to get the shreds), and 1 egg.
Followed by 1/2 teaspoon each salt, pepper, and dried basil.
Pulse until the mixture comes together, or remove ya rings and get at it with your hands!
Roll the mixture into 16 meatballs, then bake for 16-18 minutes at 400 degrees. After they’re done baking you can cool them down and freeze or refrigerate for later, or get after those subs!
Ben originally suggested that I use day-old Jimmy John’s bread for the subs, since it’s so delish and only $.50, but then we found these adorable mini hoagie rolls at Whole Foods and all was tragically lost.
Cut the rolls in half then dig out a bit of the insides to leave more room for the meatballs, then nestle in 3 or 4 baked meatballs.
Top with 2-3 Tablespoons marinara sauce, then 1oz sliced mozzarella cheese.
Place the subs under the broiler until the cheese is melted, and bread is toasty, then enjoy!
Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs
1 small zucchini, grated
2 garlic cloves minced
1lb 99% fat-free ground chicken breast
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Hoagie rolls or hot dog buns
4oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup marinara sauce, warmed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees then spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside. Combine all ingredients except rolls, cheese, and marinara sauce into a large bowl then mix with hands until just combined. Separate into 4 equal-sized portions, then roll four meatballs out of each portion and place onto prepared baking sheet. Mixture will be sticky.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through, then turn oven to broil and place oven rack to the second highest spot. Split rolls then place 3-4 meatballs inside, top with 2-3 Tablespoons marinara sauce, and 1oz sliced mozzarella. Broil until rolls are toasted and cheese is melted.
From beginning to end, these subs are showstoppers. The entire meal can be prepped ahead of time too (bake meatballs, slice cheese…loosen marinara sauce jar…) making them an easy dinner to whip up right from the fridge or freezer. Hope you love ‘em!