These Chicken Parm Meatball Subs are perfect for gameday!
Have you ever noticed how different areas of the U.S. have their own food specialties? I’ve had the good fortune of living up and down the east coast, and every region has it’s own foodie culture. Charleston, SC was low country shrimp and clam boils. (And Jalapeno Cheddar Grits, of course!) Southern Louisiana knows its food. Cajun food is one of my favorites…particularly these Creole Red Beans & Rice and this Cinnamon King Cake. And then there’s upstate New York. What type of food does upstate New York pride itself on? Well, there’s a pizza shop (or three) on nearly every corner. But it’s not pizza. Nope, upstate New York knows Italian food. More specifically, upstate New York knows chicken parm.
Before we moved up here, I had no idea that this area of the United States had such a strong Italian influence. Sure, I knew about the Italian influence down in NYC, but I didn’t realize that it extended all the way up the Hudson Valley into the Albany area. It took all of about 2 days to notice the Italian influence…and I couldn’t have been happier! Italian food is probably my all-time favorite, and we have access to some really great Italian markets and grocery stores here.
We moved to upstate New York in the dead of Winter several years ago, and I remember one of our first meals was at a classic Italian restaurant. (To be fair, we didn’t realize the place was a local legend until after we’d eaten there.) This was no Olive Garden, folks. The ceilings were low, and it was dark inside. There was some sort of Italian wedding reception going in a back ballroom. And there was a never-ending stream of Italian bread coming out of the kitchen. That’s how I knew it was my kinda place! We both ordered chicken parmesan, and we both came home with enough leftovers for a small army.
It didn’t take long before we realized that every restaurant in this area has chicken parm on the menu. I love chicken parmesan, but it’s kinda become a running joke in our house. Not sure what to order when you go out? Well, there’s always chicken parm! Seriously. Nice steak house? There’s chicken parm on the menu. Asian buffet around the corner? Yup, chicken parm. As plentiful as chicken parmesan is around here, I don’t order it that often. Like the rest of the world, we’ve been trying to watch what we eat around here after the holidays. That’s when it hit me. Let’s make a healthier version of chicken parm!
These Chicken Parm Meatball Subs were a huge hit in our house. We even had to mute the nightly news that was running in the background so we could comment on how delicious these bad boys were. Instead of frying the chicken, I turned it into meatballs and baked them. Once cooked, I dropped those baked meatballs into a sub roll along with some marinara sauce, mozzarella and of a bit of fresh basil. The result? Well, let’s just say these sandwiches didn’t last long around here.
With the Super Bowl coming up, these Chicken Parm Meatball Subs are a perfect gameday meal. The best part is you can make the meatballs ahead of time. Just heat ’em back up and then make the subs once your guests arrive. Easy peasy. You won’t miss any of the game….or the commercials!