Sometimes my brain works in mysterious ways, seriously mysterious. Maybe the name of the blog should be Melissa’s Mysterious Menu? What do you think? The other night I was craving some good meatballs and that craving for traditional meatballs somehow morphed into this dish. No rhyme or reason.
This dish has two components. The buffalo chicken meatballs and the buffalo cream sauce. I wanted it to be really reminiscent of eating buffalo wings but it a unique, healthier way.
First, for the meatballs, grate three carrots, three celery stalks and three cloves of garlic into a mixing bowl.
Into the mixing bowl, add one pound ground chicken, one large egg, one-half cup of panko bread crumbs, two ounces of dairy free cream cheese, a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce, and a pinch of salt. There are several substitutions you could make here. First, if you do not have ground chicken, ground turkey would work well also. Second, if you have a favorite hot sauce, feel free to substitute it. For me, Frank’s is the taste of wings. Third, feel free to substitute full dairy cream cheese or even blue cheese. Mix well until combined. Don’t be afraid to get in there with your hands, it is the best way to know when everything is mixed.
Form into small-medium sized meatballs, I made eighteen. Keep them as close in size as possible for even cooking. I placed the meatballs in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm up prior to baking.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and space meatballs out on tray. Place into 400* oven on the middle rack.
Bake for twenty minutes, turning once or twice during cooking time. The meatballs will be nice and golden brown when done.
Next for the buffalo cream sauce. Start with one cup of plain unsweetened almond milk.
Once the almond milk is warm, add in four ounces of dairy free cream cheese. Watch carefully, stirring until melted. Again, feel free to substitute full dairy cream cheese or blue cheese.
Once the almond milk and dairy free cream cheese are nicely combined, mix two tablespoons of corn starch with cold water and whisk in to help thicken the sauce. Simmer to cook out the starch. Season with salt.
Time to add in the buffalo! Add six ounces of Frank’s Red Hot, or to taste. I went for a little kick. Simmer until well combined and the sauce reaches the desired consistency.
Toss sauce with cooked penne pasta until the pasta is well coated. Any pasta you have in your pantry will do.
Serve a generous portion of the pasta topped with a few meatballs, and a few extra dashes of Frank’s Red Hot too taste. Your mind will wonder if you are eating wings or pasta or maybe both! Another serving idea would be to make the meatballs and the sauce and serve in a crock pot, similar to serving swedish meatballs, only different!