Today's recipe comes upon special request from the lovely, and very pregnant, Jill of jillry. She recently contacted me in search of freezer-friendly recipes that she can whip up ahead of time and her husband can easily pop in the oven after the little one arrives. These chicken florentine meatballs have been on my 'upcoming recipes' list and seeing as how I had just taken a bag out of my freezer, they immediately came to mind. Easy to make, easy to freeze, delicious and healthy, these meatballs are an all around winner. You'll find a printable recipe card at the end of this post.
2 eggs, beaten
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 lb ground chicken, raw
In a large bowl mix the spinach, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, spices and eggs. Break up the chicken and blend it with the spinach mixture until thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture into balls about 1 1/2" in diameter. Bake the meatballs on a wire rack atop a shallow baking dish at 400° for 20 – 25 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.
If you wish to freeze the meatballs, place the rolled, uncooked meatballs in an airtight container or ziploc bag and place them in the freezer. When you are ready to bake, allow them to thaw completely and bake as directed above. When I make a batch of these, I bake half and freeze half for another meal. Each half serves about four.
These meatballs are delicious served plain (which are perfect for appetizers!) or with your favorite type of pasta and sauce. I love them with a simple mushroom marinara and whole wheat pasta but when I have the time, I serve them over spaghetti squash for something a little different.
If you've never had spaghetti squash, it's really quite fascinating and you can prepare it in so many ways - from eating it as a pasta to baking it into a cheesy casserole side dish.
To cook the squash, first cut off the stem and then cut the squash in half. Scrape out the seeds and pulp, but be careful not to go too deep into the flesh or you will start to break up the strands.
Place the two halves cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 375° for about 30 - 40 minutes until tender.
Now this is the fun part – once slightly cooled, separate the strands by scraping the flesh with a fork and voila, spaghetti! Well, spaghetti squash. Neat, huh?
Overall, it's fairly flavorless by itself, with just a slight squash/zucchini type taste, so it takes well to anything you top it with – butter, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese or mushrooms, marinara and chicken florentine meatballs!
However you serve these freezer-friendly meatballs, they are a delicious alternative to beef, make a unique appetizer and are a great way to get your kids to eat spinach!