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Recipe: Pasta and Meatballs

Just like most other people I’m sure, I really prefer to eat things that are light and fresh in the summer rather than consuming things that suck the energy out of me.

Chicken Meatballs

1 ¼ pounds chicken, minced

2 tablespoons yellow onion, finely chopped

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

½ cup breadcrumbs

Zest of ½ lemon

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg, whisked

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack positioned near the top; line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush it with olive oil to prevent the meatballs from sticking to the pan.

On a non-slip cutting board tenderize the chicken before mincing it into small pieces.

In a large mixing bowl combine the chicken, onion, parmesan, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, parsley, garlic, egg and salt and pepper together.

With your hands, form the mixture into 1 inch balls and arrange them on the baking sheet (be sure to thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.)

Use a brush to rub olive oil over each meatball then place the meatballs in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Note: This is gross, but while you cut the chicken some of the pieces might seem a little “stringy” and that’s okay, it will help the chicken sort of bind to the rest of the ingredients.

Pesto and Asparagus Pasta

8 ounces penne pasta

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup basil pesto

⅓ cup sun dried tomatoes, julienned

⅓ cup mozzarella cheese, cubed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil with oil.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package instructions and drain it well once it’s cooked to the desired tenderness.

While the pasta cooks, place the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet, drizzle them with the olive oil, salt and pepper then gently toss it all together to thoroughly coat all sides of the asparagus. Place the asparagus into the oven and roast them for 10 minutes or until they are tender but still crisp. Allow the asparagus to cool then cut them into 1-inch pieces.

In a large bowl combine the pasta, asparagus, pesto, sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella.

Serve immediately with the chicken meatballs.

Basil Pesto

1 cup fresh basil leaves

3 cloves garlic, peeled

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/3 cup olive oil

Combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor until they are well blended; be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Turn the food processor back on and add olive oil in a slow stream until the mixture is semi-creamy.

Note: You can easily substitute the basil with fresh cilantro and add a little bit of lime juice to make it taste a little bit closer to summer.

Fruit Salsa with Baked Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced

2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced

8 ounces raspberries

16 ounces of strawberries, diced

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons strawberry fruit preserves

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas

Melted butter

Cinnamon sugar (1 cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon)

To prepare the fruit salsa use a large bowl and combine together the kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover the mixture and refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes.

To prepare the cinnamon chips preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat one side of each flour tortilla with the melted butter then sprinkle them with the cinnamon sugar. Cut the tortillas into wedges and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

Bake the wedges for 8 to 10 minutes until they are crispy. Allow the chips to cool then serve them with the fruit salsa.

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