Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

These hearty, spicy, zesty meatballs are lower in fat and calories than pork and beef meatballs, and adding spinach is a great way to get some healthy greens into your kids. Serve with warm bread and a green salad for a totally amazing dinner.

PREP TIME: 35 minutes
COOK TIME: 40 minutes

For the meatballs:
5 ounces spinach leaves
1 pound ground chicken
6 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

For the spicy tomato sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes with juices
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Make the meatballs: Bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain well and then wrap the spinach in a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out any remaining moisture. Finely chop and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the ground chicken, panko, cheese, garlic and egg to the bowl with the spinach. Season well with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix gently but thoroughly. For each meatball, scoop up 2 tablespoons of the mixture, form into a meatball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Make the tomato sauce: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, thyme and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and warm through. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.