Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicken Fennel Meatballs

My friends, who have been over for dinner, know that I thoroughly enjoy throwing elaborate dinner parties. Although you wouldn't know it by reading my blog, I do have a lot of great savory recipes in my repertoire. I try to cook dinner for Hubby everyday, or as often as I can.

Thus, a lot of my friends have been asking why I haven't posted many recipes for dinner-type foods. I think it's because I've perfected a lot of those dishes and they're no longer exciting to me. And in the past, I've never been much of a baker. So recently, when I've had more free time to experiment in the kitchen, I tend to go for the sweet recipes.

Anyway, this past weekend, while having brunch with Kevin and Josh, I found myself being questioned yet again about why I had so many sweet entries. So I reluctantly made a promise to Kevin that I would post savory recipes this week. =)

Ok, here goes: Chicken Fennel Meatballs! These were inspired by one of Rachael Ray's recipes (I DVR shows on the Food Network and then watch them religiously). I tweaked it to better fit my tastes/needs. These are super easy to make and are perfect for those days when you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

Fennel is strange, but awesome! You can use it fresh or in dried seed form. It's unique in flavor- some might describe it as tasting like licorice. I've never liked licorice and refuse to go near it. I personally don't see the connection between fennel and licorice, and absolutely love it in this recipe. To me, it has a deep, earthy, and savory flavor that gives the meatballs something extra.

If you're not sure whether or not you'd like it, I'd suggest giving this recipe a try.. but instead of using the fennel seeds whole, crush them up into a power form by running your rolling pin over it. This makes the fennel flavor less intense. If you know for sure that you don't like it, replace the fennel with Italian seasoning, and you'll have a great chicken Italian meatball, which is also pretty yummy!

Combine ground chicken, ricotta, egg, cheese, breadcrumbs, fennel, and seasonings.

It should look like this when it's well mixed. It will be a tad bit sticky, but will hold a good enough form so that you can grab it with your fingers and shape them into 1-2 inch rounds, using the palm of your hands.

Coat the bottom of a cookie sheet generously with olive oil. Roll each meatball in olive oil, making sure all sides are coated.

Bake in the 450 degree oven for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown (depends on how big you made the meatballs).

Then boil some spaghetti, warm up some Prego, and serve with the meatballs and a sprinkle of cheese! This is one of Hubby's favorite meals. =)

These make for a good appetizer also! Roll them into small bite sized pieces, about 1/2 inch around. Serve with toothpicks and a bowl of marinara sauce for dipping! They will definitely be a big crowd pleaser!


1 lb Ground Chicken
1 1/2 Cups Ricotta
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
1 Cup Italian Blend Cheese
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 Tbsp Garlic Salt

Combine ingredients well.

Coat the bottom of a cookie sheet generously with olive oil. Roll each meatball in olive oil, making sure all sides are coated.

Bake at 450 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.


  1. These were delicious, thanks Judy!

    -Your Neighbor

  2. These look yummy!

    My dad likes the kitchen aid pasta maker attachment. I've never used it, but he says it's pretty easy to use.

    If I were to buy 1 cookbook with decent recipes - tasty, not too difficult but yummy - what do you suggest?

  3. ooo making your own awesome! does it taste better than store-bought pasta?

    ok, what kind of cookbook are you looking for:
    *baking/sweet treats
    *savory/dinner foods
    *or combination of sweet and savory?

  4. It tastes totally different than store bought. It's actually hard to compare, slightly different texture....and you feel fancy :-) I think it tastes better, but it's probably like comparing brown rice to white rice.

    On the cookbooks - I think savory/dinner foods. I don't like to experiment with dinner foods, but I'll tweak baking recipes - so I'd rather just have a book that tells me exactly what to do for dinner.


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