I LOVE appetizers. How could you not really? They’re the best part about birthday parties. And sporting events. And showers. And nights out. Really, anytime there’s an opportunity for an appetizer- gimme.
Every time I go out to dinner with my mom, she always asks: “Appetizer or dessert?”
Uh…appetizer. Duh. I never understood people who chose dessert. I guess I never had that strong of a sweet tooth. I can easily pass on a plate of cookies or a piece of cake. Put a tray of taco dip in front of me though and it’s all over.
So yesterday was Bug’s 2nd birthday, and due to a combination of forgetfulness, laziness, and, let’s be real, a tight pocket-book this week, I decided to experiment using ingredients I had in the house.
I had 2 pounds of chicken breasts.
I didn’t really want to cut them up into pieces or shred them into a filling. My head immediately went to meatballs. I’m Italian. I can’t help it. Start with what you know, right? I was craving spicy, so sriracha chicken meatballs sounded perfect! I’m a terrible judge of spicy though- I like it HOT. So, to appease those with tamer palettes, I decided to split the chicken up and make another flavor- chicken parmesan. I told you- Italian. It’s a right history and gene pool I’m up against. There’s no point in fighting it.
So since I was using what I had at home, I started by figuring out how to get my chicken to be more ground in consistency. I don’t have a meat grinder (hey Hubby- hint hint- they make one for the Kitchen Aid. Please and thank you!), but I DO have a food processor. So I cut the chicken into chunks and gave it a whirl in there. Is it technically ground? No. It’s more of a coarse chop. But who cares! It worked! And probably was a better cut of meat than would be in the ground stuff from the store. So I went with it. Feel free to just buy ground though. I would have. But I’m poor this week. Darn bills.
You could easily play around with the spice level of this recipe by leaving out the chili powder or skipping the sriracha in the crock pot step. Or amp it up with more sriracha. I would have for myself. But I had to be a good hostess and share.
I didn’t want to though. They were yummy. I had them reheated for lunch today. Just as good.
I served them with ranch and blue cheese dressing. They were a hit! I made my meatballs a bit smaller than I would for regular old spaghetti meatballs since they were an appetizer. So slightly less than a small cookie scoop full. This made me roughly 35 meatballs with 1 pound of meat. Feel free to make them bigger; just give them a little more time to bake, and be prepared to have them fought over.
Sriracha Chicken Meatballs
1 pound chicken breast or ground chicken
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup sriracha sauce + more for serving
2 Tbsp ranch dressing + more for serving
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
If using chicken breast, cut into chunks and process in food processor until coarsely ground.
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until just combined. Add more breadcrumbs if too moist.
Form meatballs by hand or with cookie scoop, being sure to keep them uniform in size. Place meatballs on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
Place in small crockpot with 1/3 cup sriracha and 1/2 cup water. Toss to coat. Keep warm until ready to eat. Serve with side of ranch or blue cheese for dipping.
Makes approx 35 meatballs.