Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In the Kitchen: Chicken Florentine Meatballs

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!

And find more easy and delicious recipes here.


Theresa MacNaughton said...

Yum! Thanks so much for publishing this. I adore spaghetti squash and this is such a perfect combination! Theresa

Sam @ The Ellison Family Expansion Plan said...

Bookmarked! I so want ta make this. It looks mighty tasty.

Jacaranda Designs Jewelry said...

Yummy. I think this is a must for dinner tomorrow. I am giving my teenage son cooking lessons this week and I think this is something he could manage. Thanks for sharing.

Sydney said...

This look G.O.O.D.!!!!

earlybird said...

Once again, another recipe from your blog I need to try! Thanks for this one, it looks delicious!

Jill said...

This looks AMAZING Nicole! I printed out the card and I'm going to surprise my hubby with this - I think a double batch is necessary, one for the freezer and one for next week! Thanks again! xo

Oh, My Darling said...

Oh my, this is making me so hungry!!! Definitely adding this to the recipe box.

Kristina said...

Genius! I'm always looking for freezer meals, too, and this sounds great. I've never tried spaghetti squash with pasta sauce... I'd have thought it wouldn't hold up to something so heavy, but now I have to give it a try.

Amy F said...

Thanks for the recipe! I made it for a party last night and people practically licked their plates clean. And it was super easy to make - even I couldn't mess it up, and I'm no chef!! LOL Thanks again!

Amy F said...

and, of course, I blogged about it!