With school back in full swing and the lazy, laid back days of summer come and gone, getting dinner on the table every night can become a stressful part of the day for many. With daily schedules jam- packed with everything from school to work to extracurricular clubs and activities, it’s much easier to order take-out using an app like Grubhub or pop a frozen, pre-packaged meal into the microwave. However, if you’re gluten free, take-out isn’t always the best option. Moreover, it’s not healthy, in general, to eat too many meals out, or rely on sodium-laden frozen meals that lack nutritional value.
The start of the new school year is a great time to think about your family’s meals and how you will get them on the table each week. A little meal planning, and even some minimal prep, can go a long way to ensuring that you have dinner under control and on the table in a minimal, but realistic amount of time — maybe even with some leftovers to spare! My recipe for these delicious and flavorful Gluten Free Chicken Meatballs with Marsala Sauce are always a hit. Here are a couple of my tips for enjoying them on a weeknight:
- Make and fry (you can also bake them) the meatballs the day before and store them in a container in the fridge.
- Pop the cooked meatballs into a warm oven to take the chill out of them while you are preparing the Marsala sauce.
- Once added to the Marsala sauce, the meatballs will become nice and hot and your cooking time will be cut in half since you’ve made part of the meal ahead!
- Another option is to form the meatballs the night before and keep them loosely covered with plastic wrap on a plate in the fridge (be careful that they don’t get smooshed). Then, fry them up and continue with the recipe! This eliminates the time needed to make the meatball mixture and roll the balls.
Gluten Free Chicken Marsala Meatballs
- For the Meatballs:
- 2 lbs. ground chicken (not ground chicken breast)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs (I used the Aleia's brand)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. parsley flakes (you can also use fresh parsley)
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- Good pinch of salt
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Handful (about 1/2 cup) grated pecorino cheese
- Handful (about 1/2 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste (I like the Amore brand in the metal squeeze tube)
- Canola or avocado oil for frying
- For the Marsala Sauce:
- 8 oz. sliced white mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- Olive oil for sautéing
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Splash of sweet Marsala wine (about 1/4 cup)
- Splash of white wine (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup unsalted, gluten free chicken stock (I always use unsalted Kitchen Basics brand)
- 1/2 cup cold water plus 1 Tbsp. corn starch to thicken sauce at the end
- Step 1 In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatball mixture. Using clean hands, ensure the ingredients are well combined but not overworked.
- Step 2 Roll the meatballs into about 3-inch balls, which is a good dinner size. If you prefer, you can make them smaller.
- Step 3 Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, enough for a shallow dry, not a deep fry. Fry the balls over medium heat, turning them carefully so they are golden all around.
- Step 4 Place the fried balls on a plate with paper towels to drain the excess oil off. Set aside.
- Step 5 Now, begin the sauce by adding about 2 Tbsp. or so of olive oil to the bottom of a shallow dutch oven. Add the smashed garlic and allow it to sautéed gently without burning. Remove and discard the garlic.
- Step 6 Add the sliced mushrooms and butter to the infused oil.
- Step 7 Allow the mushrooms to soften a bit, seasoning with a little salt and pepper, as they release their liquid.
- Step 8 Once most of the liquid has been evaporated, add both of the wines and the chicken stock, until gently simmering. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 9 Add the meatballs to the Marsala sauce, nestling them into the mushrooms and spooning the mushroom sauce on top of the balls.
- Step 10 Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Step 11 While the meatballs are in the oven, whisk together the cold water and corn starch. It will look like a milky liquid.
- Step 12 Carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven after 10 minutes, and pour in the corn starch mixture. Whisk the corn starch into the Marsala sauce. Cover and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so. The corn starch will thicken and add viscosity to the Marsala sauce without having to use flour, keeping the dish gluten free. Top with fresh parsley, if desired.
I like to serve these meatballs over rice, but gluten free pasta would work nicely, too! Store any leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leftovers make a great lunch the next day, too. Slice leftover meatballs in half, place on a roll and spoon a bit of the sauce on top and you have an amazing Chicken Marsala Meatball sub!