One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce

These One-Pan Bison Meatballs come together in just under an hour, with only 15 minutes of hands-on time. They’re tender and juicy, and perfectly complimented by charred broccolini, an herby tomato sauce and melted Fontina cheese.

An overhead shot of a pan of bison meatballs with broccolini and tomato sauce. The pan is tied off with a hand towel and there are tomatoes and bread on either side.

If you’ve never treated yourself to bison before, you’re in for a huge treat with these One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce! They’re tender and juicy and full of flavor. In fact, you may never want to go back to regular old ground beef again.

BISON VS. BEEF

You can think of bison as beef’s fancier and more flavorful cousin, although, bison is actually lower in calories and higher in protein than both ground beef and turkey. It does tend to be more expensive, so I say save the bison for a once-in-a-while treat as opposed to an everyday thing.

You can usually find ground bison wherever ground beef is sold. In fact, I found a high-quality double-pack of ground bison at Costco. I popped one of the packages in the freezer (because we all know how helpful it is to have freezer options on hand!) and used the other one to make these delicious One-Pan Bison Meatballs.

HOW TO COOK IT

When it comes to cooking, ground bison can be prepared in the exact same way ground beef is prepared. Aside from meatballs, you could also use ground bison to make burgers (bison burgers are a favorite of mine), taco meat or even a meat sauce for over pasta.

A close-up view of One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce with some crusty bread in the background.

But today we’re here to talk about meatballs, so let’s get to it!

LET’S MAKE SOME MEATBALLS!

Making the meatball mixture itself is the longest hands-on part of the process, and you’re going to have to get a little bit dirty. After all, I find the best way to mix up some meatballs is to get your hands in the mixing bowl to blend it all together.

You’re going to throw all of the typical meatball ingredients into the mix – egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, shallots, oregano – you don’t need anything special because, when it comes to bison, it already has so much flavor.

I guess this recipe is technically a two-dish one (if you count the mixing bowl), but once it comes to cooking, you’ll only need a large cast iron skillet [*affiliate link] to make these meatballs come to life.

You’re going to place your meatballs in a piping hot cast iron skillet on the stove first – you want to give them a good sear so they have that nice crispy outside before baking – then pour all of the tomato sauce ingredients over top (with the exception of the pancetta, which goes in first so you can use some of the oil for cooking the meatballs). Top all this with broccolini and delicious grated Fontina, throw it in the oven for just under 30 minutes (boil up some pasta or quinoa while you’re waiting) and – voila! – your One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce are ready to be devoured by the fam.

A plate of pasta topped with bison meatballs, broccolini and tomato sauce.

Have you ever tried cooking with ground bison before? Let me know in the comments below!

One-Pan Bison Meatballs with Broccolini and Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

These One-Pan Bison Meatballs come together in just under an hour, with only 15 minutes of hands-on
time. They’re tender and juicy, and perfectly complimented by charred broccolini, an herby tomato sauce and melted Fontina cheese.







Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: bison, dinner, family-friendly, Italian, kid-friendly, meatballs, one-pan
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 636 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the meatballs:
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Other ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 8 ounces broccolini
  • 3 ounces Fontina cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Place all meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl and, using hands, blend together until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

  3. Begin heating 2 tablespoons olive oil in cast iron skillet on stove over medium heat. Add pancetta and begin cooking, stirring occasionally while you form your meatballs. Also add the garlic at this time.

  4. Form meatballs into 2- to 3-inch rounds and place in cast iron skillet along with pancetta (which should be mostly cooked by now.) Allow meatballs to sear (about 2 minutes) and then flip them over to get the other side browned as well.

  5. Turn heat down and add entire can of tomatoes (including juice.) Sprinkle basil over top and tuck broccolini in amongst everything.

  6. Finally, sprinkle the entire mixture with Fontina cheese and place in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

  7. Serve over cooked quinoa or pasta and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Medium

Weeknight One-Pan Apple and Herb Pork Chops

An easy one-pan meal featuring juicy bone-in pork chops, apples and loads of fresh herbs. It’s a family-friendly meal that will be on the table in 30 minutes or less!

A beautiful skillet of Weeknight One-Pan Apple and Herb Pork Chops tied off with a black and white gingham hand towel, with a pile of fresh apples off to the side.

You asked, so you shall receive. A couple of weeks ago on Instagram, I asked you all what you wanted to see more of here on CaliGirl Cooking. Responses were a pretty even split between easy, weeknight meals and more ideas for babies and toddlers, so I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to continue to bring you BOTH of these types of recipes.

If you’ve already signed up for my email list, you’ll also see I’ve changed up how I bring that content to you. In an effort to get more personal with you and keep the conversation going, I’ll now be sending out weekly updates chatting about whatever new content I’ve posted each week as well as well, #life. My hope is that it becomes more of a two-sided conversation between you and me because, after all, I’m here to make your life easier and it’s up to YOU to tell me how to do that.

With this Weeknight One-Pan Apple and Herb Pork Chops recipe, I’m also excited to announce a feature I’ll now be including on ALL of my new recipes: Dish Density! I mean, how many of us would cook wayyyyy more often if we didn’t have to worry so much about that big sink full of dirty dishes staring us in the face when it’s all said and done? My goal with Dish Density is to both clearly outline what dishes and tools you’ll need with each recipe before you get started, and also to minimize the amount of dishes and tools needed, presenting the Ingredients and Instructions in a way that will help you reuse things when possible (food safety permitting, of course). I’m still working on the best way to present this to you, so bear with me as I feel things out and, as always, I’m open to suggestions!

A close-up view of Apple and Herb Pork Chops in a cast iron skillet, with whole apples in the background.

Okay, all that fun new business stuff aside, let’s get to talking about these pork chops. Because you need them in your life ASAP. These were inspired by the garage freezer full of meat we happen to have at the moment, thanks to my Costco- and Food Saver-loving hubby [*affiliate link]. (I mean, really though, sometimes you just can’t beat the price and quality of Costco meat and seafood.) He’d been encouraging me to use some of it up, so I started brainstorming dishes I could reasonably manage on any given weeknight.

I love the pairing of apples with bone-in pork chops (thanks, Mom!) so that’s naturally where my mind headed. I also love a dish where I can throw in all the ingredients at pretty much the same time, pop it in the oven, and pull it out to serve less than 20 minutes later.

Before I go any further, I’m going to let you in on my #1 trick for one-pan meals…

The #1 thing you want to keep in mind when cooking one-pan meals is that, no matter what method you’re using to cook them, all of the ingredients need to cook at about the same rate. I find it’s easiest to start with whatever protein you’re using (in this case, pork chops) and build the rest of your ingredients from there.

Because the pork chops would only take 10-15 minutes to cook in the oven once I seared them, I wanted to make sure my apples, onions and herbs would be at a good point after this amount of time as well. In order to achieve this, I cut the apples and onions into smaller pieces and wedges so they’d be sufficiently cooked in this amount of time. This is a great rule of thumb to follow every time you make a one-pan meal!

Another close-up look at Weeknight One-Pan Apple and Herb Pork Chops in a cast iron skillet with a black and white gingham napkin tied around the handle.

Now back to the recipe…

The majority of this dish is cooked in the oven, but I wanted to get a nice sear on my pork chops before I popped them in. I placed my pre-seasoned chops in a hot cast iron skillet [*affiliate link] with some butter, and just got them nice and brown (without worrying about cooking them through) before adding in the apples and onions (plus a little more butter and some apple cider vinegar) and popping the whole thing in the oven.

Less than 15 minutes later, the pork chops registered a safe 145 degrees, and dinner was served!

I love that these Apple and Herb Pork Chops come out with so much flavor with so little cooking time. This makes them the perfect, easy weeknight meal, and your kids are bound to love them as well. To really round out this meal, I recommend serving it with fluffy gnocchi and oven-roasted asparagus (which, hey, you could also roast at the same time as the pork chops!)

Do you have a favorite one-pan meal you’d like to see me make? Let me know in the comments below!

An overhead shot of a cast iron skillet filled with Weeknight One-Pan Apple and Herb Pork Chops, tied off with a black and white gingham napkin with whole apples on the side.

Weeknight One-Pan Apple and Herb Pork Chops
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

An easy one-pan meal featuring juicy bone-in pork chops, apples and loads of fresh herbs. It’s a family-friendly meal that will be on the table in 30 minutes or less!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, cast iron skillet, family-friendly, one-pan, pork, weeknight
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 398 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus more whole sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more whole sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 onion, cut into small wedges
  • 3 small Fuji apples, cut into thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic glaze (optional)
Dishes needed:
  • Chef's knife
  • Large cast iron skillet (12-inch)
  • Plate or meat-friendly cutting board (for seasoning meat)
  • Tongs
  • Butter knife
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Place cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and let melt.

  3. While skillet is warming up, season both sides of the pork with salt, pepper, chopped rosemary and chopped thyme.

  4. Once skillet is piping hot, place pork chops on it and sear for about 3 minutes each side. Now that the pork chops are seared, turn the heat down to low.

  5. Add the onions and sliced apples. Pour the apple cider vinegar over top and divide the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the top of each chop.

  6. Place skillet in the preheated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and garnish with additional rosemary and thyme sprigs. Let cool slightly and drizzle with balsamic glaze (if using) before serving.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake

This healthy enchilada quinoa bake features shrimp, poblanos and loads of flavor. It’s a one-pan meal that is perfect for busy weeknights!

This Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake is the perfect healthy, one-dish meal!

Who’s ready for a delicious, healthy one-pan dinner?? Meeeeeee!! Let me tell you, I’m all about the quick-and-easy meals these days. By the end of a long workday, all my eight month pregnant body wants to do is kick my feet up, watch TV and get a healthy, tasty meal brought to me in my brand new Pottery Barn Kids recliner. And if anyone wants to deliver this Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake to our door on any night of the week, we certainly won’t be complaining 😉

While we’re still working on the whole me not having to cook a thing part, the hubs has been great at at least helping out with dinner prep for the last few weeks. He’s a master at the grill, so we’ve been making most of our protein that way and then supplementing with either an easy salad or some sort of veggie. But every once in a while we crave something just a little fancier, and this quinoa bake is just the answer!

I can’t remember how it came to me, but a few weeks ago I suddenly got the urge to make some sort of Mexican-themed dish pairing shrimp and poblano peppers. I thought about it for a while, and wavered between making ACTUAL enchiladas, nachos or tacos. But then I thought about how NOT to complicate my life and instead make something that was (a) healthy and that (b) I could easily throw together and just pop in the oven. With the extra pop of protein it provides, a quinoa bake seemed like the perfect way to get the flavor combinations I was craving while also having a filling, delicious meal on hand in the refrigerator to heat up at a moment’s notice.

A Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake is a great one-pan, weeknight meal.

To be fair, if you count cooking the quinoa and making the cashew cream, this may not be considered a “one-pan dinner.” But, let’s be real, you really should have some cooked quinoa on hand at all times (meal prep Sunday anyone?) and if you haven’t yet tried your hand at cashew cream you are truly missing out on life. I’ve basically started using it in every recipe where I’m craving a creamy sauce and it is soooooo good you don’t even miss the cream. (See these Healthier Chicken Pot Pie Pockets, this Healthy (Vegan) Green Bean Casserole and this Curry Gnocchi with White Lamb Bolognese, for example.)

So here’s the scoop on how to make this life-changing Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake: First, make sure you have some cooked quinoa and cashew cream on hand. I recommend cooking the quinoa using vegetable or chicken broth to add an extra punch of flavor, and I’ve included my go-to recipe for cashew cream below for your ease and convenience (save it, make it, memorize it!)

After that, it’s just a matter of tossing all the ingredients together in a bowl, transferring them to a baking dish, topping with some cheese and popping the whole thing in the oven! The greatest thing about this Healthy Shrimp and Poblano “Enchilada” Quinoa Bake? It’s ready to devour in just 15 minutes!! Now that’s the perfect dinner if I ever saw one.

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake ready for the oven!

And, although the hubs and I EASILY polished off at least half of the bake in one sitting, I also love the fact that it reheats beautifully, which means this preggo mama can have a delicious, healthy, protein-packed meal or snack at a moment’s notice.

What do you think? Have I convinced you yet? I double dare you to give it a shot this week. And, as always, be sure to tag @caligirlcooking in any of your creations so I can share them all over social media! Xo

A heaping scoop of this Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake is the perfect filling lunch or dinner.

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

A healthier take on enchiladas featuring fresh shrimp and poblano peppers, a cashew cream sauce, cheese topping and plenty of flavor!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the quinoa:
  • 1 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
For the cashew cream:
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
For the quinoa bake:
  • 2 poblano (or pascilla) peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Dash of pepper, plus more to taste
  • 10 ounces peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed and cut in half (if large)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of an onion, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Jack cheese
  • Cilantro and avocado, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Soak cashews in water overnight at least one night before you plan to make the quinoa bake. The next morning, drain the cashews and add them to a blender with the rest of the cashew cream ingredients. Puree until a smooth cream forms and set aside.

  2. You can also prepare the quinoa one day (or more) in advance of making the dish. Simply add the quinoa and vegetable stock to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the quinoa.

  3. Once you have the cashew cream and quinoa prepped, the rest of the meal will come together in a flash. Using a gas grill or stovetop, hold each pepper with a pair of metal tongs and place over a medium flame until the skin is nicely charred. Remove from heat and destem and chop into bite-size pieces once cool enough to touch. Set aside.

  4. In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt and dash of pepper. 

  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and get out a 3-quart baking dish.

  6. In a large mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with the prepared seasoning blend, then add the cooked quinoa, charred peppers, garlic, onion and tomatoes. Finally, add the entire batch of cashew cream you prepared in advance. Stir to combine. 

  7. Transfer quinoa mixture to the 3-quart baking dish and top with shredded Jack cheese. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro and sliced avocado and enjoy!

Healthy Shrimp and Poblano "Enchilada" Quinoa Bake | CaliGirlCooking.com