Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

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I used to be suspicious of sheet pan meals. There’s no way everything can be done at the same time! Now that I’ve tried a few sheet pan recipes with great success (check these out), I think my fear is over. I made this one from BA and it turned out to be another win-win. Be brave with me.

First, you make the sauce. Mix up all the ingredients. Pretty simple. Set some aside to glaze your meatballs (your reserved glazing sauce). Simmer the rest to reduce it down. Set aside (your reduced glazing sauce). You pour this over the meatballs at the end. The reserved stuff will brush the meatballs before you pop them into the oven.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Next, prep your broccoli and put them on the a sheet pan lined with foil. BTW, I love broccoli. I eat it practically every day and I’m still not sick of it. Well, maybe it’s because I’m dipping it in ranch, but let’s not speak of that. The point is that I know a lot of you hate it and you can continue being haters. Just leave it off the sheet pan. Or maybe try some cauliflower, carrots, or potatoes, but I honestly don’t know about the cooking times. You might need to pull the veggies off before or after the meatballs are done.

Next make your meatballs. These meatballs are a bit healthier because you use ground chicken. Ground turkey or beef would work well too, but you might have to adjust the cooking times on the beef.

After I mixed all the ingredients together, I found that the meatballs were really wet. If I made these again, I’d probably use half the water and then slowly add more until the consistency was to my liking. When you are done making 12 1.5-diamater meatballs, put them on the baking sheet with the broccoli. Hmmm…I made 13. Close enough.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Brush with reserved glazing sauce. Be sure to save some for later. Don’t use the reduced glazing sauce. I know. This is complicated, but delicious.

Bake everything until the meatballs are done, for about 15 minutes.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Remove it from the oven, set your oven to broil, brush the rest of your reserved glazing sauce, and broil until the broccoli is charred. Not burnt! Charred is not another word for burnt! Read this.

Pull it out of the oven and serve it over rice. Now drizzle the reduced glazing sauce and nosh. It’s pretty amazing. You’re welcome.

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli
Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Sheet Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

Sauce

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice cooking wine or water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 inches ginger peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Broccoli and Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and grated
  • 2 inches ginger peeled and grated
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cooked rice
  • seasme seeds optional

Instructions
 

  • Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, wine or water, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan. Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl. This is your reserved glazing sauce. Set aside for glazing meatballs later. Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl. This is your reserved glazing sauce.
  • Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Trim broccoli stems and remove from the crown. Peel off the tough outer skin, if needed. Slice crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut florets into 2-inch pieces. Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (optional). Push to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs. Brush space with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
  • Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 cup water in a medium bowl. Gradually add more water (up to another 1/8 cup) until the meat mixture is your preferred consistency.
  • Using wet hands, form into twelve 1 1/2 inch-diameter meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet. Brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture. Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes. Remove from oven.
  • Heat broiler. Brush meatballs with remaining reserved glazing mixture. Broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 5 minutes.
  • Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with reduced glazing sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
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SpaghettiOs

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Like Sloppy Joes, here’s another nostalgic dish from my GenX childhood. A few years ago I bought a can to remind myself how amazing it tastes. Ugh. It was awful. Mushy pasta. Flavorless sauce. What kind of meat are in those meatballs? How could it be so bad, so not what I remembered? No wonder my parents didn’t want to waste their money on it, and would make plain spaghetti instead. But I felt like I was missing out.

When I came across this recipe, I just smiled. It has all the good memories of SpaghettOs with the deliciousness that the canned stuff didn’t have. This recipe comes from BA with a few tweets of my own. I split the sauce recipe. I had a few items I needed to use up and I wanted more meatballs. One could never have too many meatballs.

Warning. I didn’t take very many pictures. No gorgeous vegetables. No exotic spices. None of that. We’re down to basics here. Tomato. Pasta. Meat. Grunt.

Make your meatballs. Mix together panko, cheese, seasonings, egg, cream, and beef. Form into little balls. You’ve got yourself meatballs. I wasn’t sure if I’d use them all in the pasta, but they make really good leftovers. Like a meatball sandwich. Or on toothpicks, if we’re going old school.

SpaghettiOs

Time to cook these guys. I grabbed my gorgeous Le Creuset dutch oven. I love this thing. It’s expensive, but you only need one and it’s so durable that I’ll probably pass it on to my son. Hopefully, he’ll cook for himself by then. Right now we’re in the cheese and crackers phase. Another classic not to be overrated.

So, I have a love/hate relationship with meatballs. Mine NEVER stay together when I cook them. Maybe the mixture is too soft? Maybe I’m flipping them over too soon (but I don’t think so)? I honestly don’t know. If I had to do this over again, I’d make my favorite meatballs instead: Ina Garten’s Roasted Italian Meatballs. These never fall apart and are super easy to make.

Cook them up.

SpaghettiOs

Move them to a separate plate when they are cooked. Try not to obsess they aren’t perfect. know that they will taste fantastic.

Now it’s time to make your sauce. In the same pot, you’ll start layering your flavors. Cook up some chopped onion and minced garlic. Add tomato paste and cook. Throw in some spices, a little sugar (yes, sugar….it makes the tomatoes taste better…it’s science…something to do with bringing out the sweetness by toning down the acidity to unripe tomatoes), fresh basil (I’m sure the original SpaghettiOs didn’t use this), and ground tomato sauce. Cook it for at least 20 minutes. If you can cook it longer, you should because it’ll just taste better. It was time to get dinner on the table so after 20 minutes, I gently added my meatballs and meatball pieces, and cooked that for another 10 minutes.

While all this simmering is going on, cook the pasta. You want to use any pasta that looks like rings or is a short tube, like ditalini, which is what I had on hand. Anelleti looks more like rings (I looked it up…I don’t know what all these shapes look like), but I had made macaroni salad a while ago and had a bunch of ditalini leftover. I was tired of it staring at me every time I opened my pantry door.

When the sauce is done simmering and the pasta is cooked al dente. Gently mix together. To preserve what was left of the integrity of my meatballs, I spooned some sauce into the pasta, spooned some on a plate, added a few meatballs, spooned more pasta on top, added another meatball or two, grated some fresh Parmesan cheese, and called it good.

SpaghettiOs

The results were pretty good. Two thumbs up from the boys. The older “boy” laughed at the name. The younger boy thought we were crazy like usual.

SpaghettiOs

SpaghettiOs

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely grated Parmesan plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck 20% fat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large basil sprigs
  • 28 ounces ground tomatoes
  • 6 ounces anelletti, ditalini, or other short tubular pasta

Instructions
 

  • Whisk panko, cheese, oregano, garlic powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in egg and cream. Add beef. Mix with your hands until just combined, being careful not to overwork (if packed too firmly, meatballs will be dense). Form into 1"-diameter balls, about 24. Transfer to a plate.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook meatballs, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides but not fully cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to another plate.
  • Cook onion and garlic in same skillet, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook until brick red, about 1 minute. Add paprika and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sugar, basil, and ground tomatoes.
  • Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced and flavors have melded, about 20 minutes. Add meatballs and any accumulated juices.Continue to cook until meatballs are cooked through, 5–10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and return to pasta pot. Pour sauce and meatballs over pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a platter and top with cheese.
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Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

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I love my Instant Pot. Seriously. Yes, I also love my KitchenAid mixer, my grill pan, my Crock-Pot, my apple peeler/slicer/corer, etc. but I REALLY love my Instant Pot. I would have never attempted pressure cooking without it. I wouldn’t say using it cuts cooking time in half, but between the way it tenderizes tough cuts of meat and that it’s such a cool gadget, what’s not to love? It’s sort of magical. In goes something and out comes something else. It just makes life easier in so many ways.

Like spaghetti and meatballs. I’ve seen Instant Pot pasta recipes and many swear by them, but I wasn’t all that impressed. Boiling over the stove is still faster. But throw in meatballs and that’s a game changer.

Meatballs are time consuming. Working with raw meat that is best mixed up with your hands, but not too much or your meatballs will end up hard like golf balls. Forming a few dozen of them into perfect shaped balls. I’d rather be making cookies, frankly. Frying them in batches in a pan…ok, I did find this awesome Roasted Italian Meatball recipe by The Barefoot Contessa that is out of this world and cuts out the frying part. But it’s still a lot of work and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. Making a beef sauce is so much easier.

But there’s something about spaghetti and meatballs that reminds me of a simpler time.

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table
And onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball
Rolled right out the door

But I digress. Back to the Instant Pot. I’ve made Instant Pot pasta. I’ve made Instant Pot meatballs. Now I make them together.

I couldn’t find a recipe so I made up my own.

First, peel and mince your garlic. Let’s talk about peeling garlic. I know there are a million and one garlic peelers on the market, but you only need one. Your knife. I swear it’s true. I like using a cleaver, but any wide knife will do. Just vent your frustrations of the day by pressing down hard on each clove of garlic to smash it to smithereens. They’ll look like this and you’ll be able to easily peel the papery thin skins off the garlic with no trouble at all.

Add your minced garlic, shallots, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, milk, and seasonings to a large bowl.

Let’s take a moment to talk about the shallot. I like shallots. In my opinion, they are underused. When you don’t want the sharpness of onions, use shallots, which are milder, sweeter, and are reminiscent of garlic. And one can never have too much garlic so shallots are a perfect compliment to garlic.

Add your ground meats (you’ll be using both ground beef and sausage). Mix it all up with your hands. No, you can’t get around that. All power to you if you use a cooking spoon or fork, but I never get the right results. Next, form into balls until you have about about a dozen. They might seem a little sticky, but that’s ok.

Pour the water and sauce in. If you like a thicker sauce, use more than a jar of sauce. Gently place your meatballs in your Instant Pot, without stacking them, but they can touch a little. The point is to make sure the meatballs are covered with liquid. Next, disregard the cardinal rule of making spaghetti: break the strands in half. I don’t know who made up this rule, but professional chefs on those cooking shows seem to frown on that. Whatever. Just listen to me. This won’t work unless the pasta is flat in the pot.

Add more water. And whatever you do, resist the temptation to stir! Seal the lid and cook. When it’s done, open it up and now you can stir.

What I like best about this recipe is that the mess is contained to one pot and you don’t need to babysit sauce, meatballs, and pasta. Dinner is served!

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 shallot finely diced
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 ounces uncooked ground Italian sausage
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 2 cups water divided
  • 24 ounces marinara pasta sauce
  • 8 ounces dry spaghetti
  • grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions
 

  • Lightly beat an egg in a large bowl. Mince garlic cloves and grate Parmesan cheese. Add both to the bowl. Add breadcrumbs, milk, kosher salt, and Italian seasoning. Add the ground beef and sausage to the bowl. 
  • Gently mix with your hands until well combined. Form and shape into 12 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each). Set aside. 
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and sauce to the pot. Stir to combine. Add meatballs to the bottom without stacking them and with minimal touching.
  • Break the spaghetti in half and spread them in two layers over the meatballs. Do not stir.
  • Pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water over the pasta. Remember not to stir.
  • Seal the Instant Pot. Set to cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes.
  • Open the pressure release valve (quick release) as soon as the 8 minutes are up. Open the pressure cooker and stir the spaghetti into the sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
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