When I think of my favorite meals, it’s often tied to the people I experienced them with. A great meal is so much more than the taste of the foods, it’s the conversations, the laughter, the lighting, the music, everything. Food connects. Food brings people together. Turns strangers into friends. Ties us to people and cultures all over the world. Food allows us to bless others and be blessed in return. It’s an act of love, welcoming, nurturing. It shows how much we care.
Eating meals is something we do many times a day, yet how often do we stop to share them with other people? We’re so caught up in our own hectic schedules that eating becomes an on-the-go act rather than a destination. Food is often viewed simply as fuel. But it is so much more. Yes, it is meant to nourish, but it’s also meant to bring us together. Think of your dinner table and all of the conversations and events that have happened around it. Meals are more than just the food provided. They are social occasions, that represent community and friendship.
One of the ways I love to show someone I care is by making a meal for them. I believe it’s one of the best ways to connect with someone, and a fun way to spend time with them. Putting a little time and effort into making someone feel loved is a really sweet gesture for those around you. This recipe for Chicken Meatballs in Red Wine Tomato Sauce is one I would totally make again and again. A dinner party with these, a few glasses of wine, crusty bread and some mellow tunes? Count me in.
This recipe is from the Sprouted Kitchen’s cookbook Bowl & Spoon, which might be my favorite. I tweaked it a bit because I didn’t have certain ingredients on hand and it still came out delicious.
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
½ cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp milk
⅓ cup fresh grated parmesan
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground pepper
⅓ cup red onion, minced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 pieces Ezekiel bread, or any other whole grain bread
1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
1 can crushed tomatoes (about 2 cups)
¼ cup red wine
½ tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, milk, parmesan, egg and garlic, mix well.
Add spices, salt, pepper, onion and parsley and mix until combined.
Rip the bread up into small pieces and mix in.
Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some moisture, then smash everything together with the back of a fork.
Add in ground chicken and gently mix together, being careful not to overmix.
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to mix together.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Coat the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil.
Roll the meatball mixture into 1½ inch balls and place in baking dish.
Roast for 15 minutes to brown them slightly.
While roasting, prepare the sauce by crushing the tomatoes in a large bowl.
Stir in wine and salt.
Remove meatballs from oven and turn down the heat to 325° F.
Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs and cover with foil.
Bake for another 25 minutes to cook through.
Top with sauce, freshly grated parmesan and basil.