I spy with my little eye…

a delicious dinner in the works. 



Review: Aidells chicken meatballs



First, let me stress that this isn’t a sponsored post. Much like my Daiya pizza post, I’m simply sharing something I’ve used that I really love.

I came across these chicken meatballs while I was shopping with my dad at Costco last week. Whenever I see something like these that look like they’ll be tasty, I first check ingredients for dairy. More and more premade meatballs are stuffed with a bit of cheese or whey for flavor. Obviously, that’s a big no-no for me. But these are different. No dairy, not even a whisper of it! Yay! Plus, they are made with all organic products, leaving out any weird additives and preservatives. Double yay!


So to prepare these, I baked them in a 350 degree oven for about ten minutes, and then added them to my homemade pasta sauce to have over rigatoni. I tried one before I added them all to the sauce and wasn’t disappointed. Juicy and flavorful. The garlic wasn’t overpowering and the basil was just right. So good. Then in the sauce, they transformed. I don’t mean to pay myself on the back, but I make a great sauce. When the two combined, well, it was just perfect.

I would definitely recommend these if you’re looking for good, dairy-free (or not) chicken meatballs. They could be great, too, on a toothpick at a party.

I don’t eat pasta sauce from a jar anymore

Because my home-made is waaaay better. There is a key ingredient in mine that is not in store-bought sauce that shames them into the shadows. It’s…well, I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s not a secret or anything.

pasta sauce base

My sauce recipe is as follows:

  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can petite diced tomato
  • 2 jars sliced mushrooms, rinsed well of brine
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • spices: Italian herb seasoning, granulated garlic (I also add garlic paste at the beginning sometimes, then scale back the powder), sea salt, and pepper.
  • butter and olive oil (for sauteing the onions and mushrooms)
  • Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon

That last ingredient is what I think sets mine apart, and makes the most heavenly aroma I think there is on this earth. I start by melting some butter at med-high to high heat in a medium sauce pan with a dash of oil. I got this tip from a cooking show that the butter gives it flavor, and the oil raises the smoke point, which allows for higher heat cooking. Once the butter is melted, I add the onion with a little s&p, sauteing until lightly browned and starting to turn translucent. Then I add the mushrooms and some more spices, and continue cooking for about 2 minutes. I then add roughly a quarter–a third of a cup of the wine. I let this simmer for a few minutes, stirring until the wine has been mostly absorbed by the mushrooms and onion. I tell you, if a man walked by me smelling like the aroma created at that moment….well, I probably can’t tell you! Ha!

After the wine’s been absorbed, I add the can of diced tomatoes, juice and all. I stir that for a minute or two, then add the two other cans of sauce. I then season liberally (really, you think you’re adding too much, but you’re not) with the spices. I’m guessing I add about two tablespoons of the spices, all together. I stir the mixture together and bring it to a low boil. Turn the heat down to medium or med-low, and let it go for at least 20 minutes, the longer the better, but no more than 40-45 minutes. Stirring throughout, of course.

pasta sauce 5

When it’s done, I usually add it to browned ground beef, meatballs, or sliced sausage. It is excellent with Caramelized Onion flavor chicken sausage meatballs. Pour it over pasta, or use it to top sliced and toasted bread.  Happy eating!