I feel like we’re all collectively screaming for comfort food right now. The weather is cold, dark and generally kind of shitty. The political landscape in America is bleak, at best. And Valentine’s Day, which I’ve found to be a rather dreaded day for both singles and couples alike, is looming on the horizon.
All of these things are reason enough to dig into some good old fashioned Italian comfort food. Which is why I decided to make us some Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Creamy Polenta for today. AND I made it all in just about 30 minutes. Because sometimes when you need comfort food, you need it FAST.
Something you may have noticed over the past year or so on this site is a shift towards almost exclusively plant-based recipes. And while I’m not claiming to be a vegetarian (I still enjoy non-vegetarian recipes on occasion), I’d estimate that about 90% of my meals consumed at home are strictly plant-based.
I don’t really have one glaring reason for this shift in my diet. All I can really say is that eating plants makes me feel good. It’s as simple as that. So I’m going to continue down that path for now. And throw in a few non-vegetarian recipes every once in a while when a craving hits.
Meatballs are one of the few foods that I remember really liking as a child. I was a picky eater, so most things were off limits at meal times. But meatballs were almost always welcome.
I like to make my meatballs from ground chicken (although you could certainly use ground turkey). And I always bake them in my oven. Which I suppose isn’t very traditional. But I appreciate that they are a little bit leaner. And not to mention, less messy and more hands off to prepare. Once you get the meatballs in the oven, you can concentrate your efforts elsewhere in the kitchen – like tackling a batch of this homemade tomato sauce and whisking up the creamiest mascarpone cheese polenta EVER.
This recipe can undoubtedly be made from start to finish in 30 minutes. I’ve done it successfully many times. There is very little chopping. And each component requires less than 20 minutes of actual cooking time. BUT I have to be honest and say that there is some coordination/multi-tasking required to get it done within a 30 minute time frame. You’ll have to manage the tomato sauce and the polenta at the same time. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but it can feel kind of rushed the first time you try it. If all that sounds unpleasant to you, feel free to warm up a big jar of your favorite store-bought tomato sauce on the stovetop in lieu of making your own. That will save you a few minutes.
Polenta is kind of a new-ish ingredient for me. I didn’t grow up eating polenta, so it tends to fall off my radar periodically. But I’m trying to incorporate it more into my life. It’s a great base for everything from these chicken meatballs to barbecue pulled pork to roasted vegetables. How do you usually use polenta? I’d love to hear some additional suggestions!
Are you craving even more meals that you can prepare in 30 minutes or less? Of course you are! Well, lucky for you it’s 30 Minute Thursday. If you scroll down past the recipe below, you’ll find links to other quick and easy recipes from some of my blogging friends. Make sure to check them all out!
One Pot 30-Minute Pasta e Fagioli from Flavor the Moments
Tuna Casserole from My Kitchen Craze
Easy Chicken Pad Thai from Life Made Sweeter
One Pot Black Bean Fajita Pasta (Make Ahead) from Sweet Peas & Saffron
Italian Chicken Tortellini Skillet from The Recipe Rebel
Lightened Up Baked Chicken Parmesan from Kristine’s Kitchen
Healthy Taco Chickpea Lettuce Wraps from She Likes Food
30 Minute Chicken Stew from Bake.Eat.Repeat
Garlic Parmesan Gnocchi with Mushrooms from Pumpkin ‘N Spice
Someone mentioned something about pumpkin last week and I nearly cried.
Really? I can’t even deal.
July is the heart of Summer. It’s the main event. The prime time slot, if you will. It’s what I wait for all year long. And I won’t have it overshadowed with thoughts of pumpkin.
If you’re on board with these sentiments, keep reading. And if not, check back mid-September. I’ll probably have something for you then.
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a grilling method for pork tenderloin called the “7-6-5 method”. And it has seriously changed my life for the better. Because even as a confident and experienced cook, I’ve had my fair share of poorly executed meat dishes. Especially when it comes to grilling. It’s all to easy to end up with a charred exterior and an undercooked interior. But the 7-6-5 method has proved it’s worthiness time and time again. And it’s turned pork tenderloin into one of my most favorite (and most foolproof!) cuts of meat to grill during the Summer months.
Also, nothing pairs better with so many of my beloved Summer staples than grilled pork tenderloin. It’s a versatile canvas for a variety of savory-sweet salsas, chutneys and relishes. In fact, I don’t think I’ve found any combination that doesn’t work. Today I’ve topped mine with a mixture of raw corn, cherries, cilantro and diced jalapeño pepper. Who knows what combination I’ll try out next!
I’m sharing my recipe for this Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Corn-Cherry Salsa as part of our monthly #eatseaonal round-up organized by Becky from Vintage Mixer. Be sure to have a peak at Becky’s July guide for dozens of recipe ideas that take full advantage of this month’s fruits and vegetables. And check out the links below for even more seasonal recipes created by some of my talented blogging friends.
And back away from the pumpkin, people. Just back away.
July Eat Seasonal Recipes
Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad by Food for My Family
Grilled Green Onion & Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chèvre by Simple Bites
Chicken Gyro Bowls with Summer Veggies by Vintage Mixer
Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad with Avocado by Foodie Crush
Broccoli Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Poppyseed Dressing by Flavor the Moments
Peasy Easy Sweet Pea Mint Soup by Letty’s Kitchen
Grilled Summer Squash with Feta, Lemon & Fresh Herbs by Mountain Mama Cooks
Artichoke and Avocado Dip by Kitchen Confidante
Grilled Squash, Corn and Kale Salad by Completely Delicious (not pictured)