Today: Make a quick-to-assemble dinner that will leave you with leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Don't let dinner stop your from taking full advantage of summer evenings, whether that's meeting friends or taking a bike ride. Take tonight's dinner on the road with you! Chicken Meatball Subs with Gobs of Fresh Mozzarella and Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate, & Coconut Cookies transport easily and come together quickly, especially if you already have most of the ingredients on hand (and we bet you do!). The sandwiches and cookies are easy to wrap up and take to the park for dinner al fresco if you've been straining all afternoon to be outside. And each recipe makes enough that you can feed a couple of friends (or save the leftovers for lunch tomorrow).
4 to 5 tomatoes (or one 15-ounce can) 2 onions A bunch of fresh basil 8 ounces fresh mozzarella 1 pound ground chicken 1 baguette 1 tube (or small can) of tomato paste Pepperoncini or other jarred hot peppers 3/4 cup breadcrumbs 1 jar almond butter 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
We are assuming you already have a head of garlic, olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, eggs, butter, sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, almonds, and chocolate chips, but if not, add those to your list, too!
If you prefer to plan ahead:
The night before, make the dough for the Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate, and Coconut Cookies. Line twelve 1-inch balls of dough on two parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Place the remaining dough in an airtight container in the freezer for another week. Wrap the entire sheet of cookies in plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. Make the tomato sauce for the meatballs, pour it into an airtight container, and stick it in the fridge until tomorrow.
The next evening, an hour before dinner, preheat the oven to 350° and remove the baking sheets from the fridge. Let the cookie dough come to room temperature while you make the chicken meatballs. In a large bowl, combine sautéed garlic and onion with ground chicken, tomato paste, egg, breadcrumbs, spices, and herbs. Roll this mixture into small balls with your hands. Pan-fry the meatballs on each side until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Half an hour before dinner, place the cookies into the oven; bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden at the edges but still soft in the middle, while you reheat the tomato sauce and slice the baguette and mozzarella. Layer sliced mozzarella onto half the slices of bread. Remove the cookies from the oven and preheat the broiler while you warm up the tomato sauce you made last night. Toss the meatballs in the warmed sauce while you broil the bread until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Layer on some hot peppers if you like, and sit down to dinner.
If you want to make it tonight:
An hour and a half before dinner, preheat the oven to 350° and make the dough for the Almond Butter, Dark Chocolate, and Coconut Cookies. Bake 1-inch scoops of dough cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets for 12 to 14 minutes, until they are golden around the edges but still quite soft in the middle (that’s the best part!). Place the remaining dough in an airtight container in the freezer for another week. While the cookies bake, prepare the tomato sauce for the Chicken Meatball Subs.
About 45 minutes before dinner, start to make the chicken meatballs. Sauté 1 minced onion in a tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Allow this to cool before adding to the other meatball ingredients. Mix well to combine and roll this mixture into small balls with your hands.
In the last 15 minutes before dinner, preheat the broiler (make sure all your cookies are out of the oven first). Cut the baguette in half and then into four sandwiches. Layer thinly sliced mozzarella onto half the slices of bread. Begin to reheat the tomato sauce. Brown the meatballs in olive oil in a pan over medium heat, about 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through. While the meatballs are browning, slide the bread under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Toss the browned meatballs in the warm sauce. Assemble the sandwiches and, if you’re feeling bold, add some hot peppers. Don’t forget to save room for cookies!
Photos by James Ransom and Mark Weinberg
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).