Saturday, December 22, 2012

Veggie-Loaded Chicken Meatballs

A friend recently asked me about a package of chicken meatballs that she came across in her local grocery store, which reminded me that I hadn't made my famous veggie-loaded meatloaf in ages. I have to give the credit to Mommy Tiny Tummy who had the great idea to make mini meatloaf muffins (which could also be made even smaller into meatballs) for single serve options. This way, you can freeze them individually for a go-to snack or meal. This recipe made 14 mini-loaves, and I imagine would make about 20 meatballs.

To make these nutritious and delicious Veggie-Loaded Meatballs, you will need:
1 pack 98% fat free ground chicken
1 medium sized head of cauliflower broken into florets
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 small pack of mushrooms, chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
4 small carrots, diced
6 large stalks of celery, diced
1 small tomato, chopped
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 pack 98% fat free ground chicken
1 tablespoon onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, or any other spices you may desire
spinach leaves to line the muffin tins
optional: some dehydrated garlic/onion/red pepper flakes to sprinkle on top

To prepare, start by chopping all of your veggies (this takes the most time- I used my food processor to speed it up a bit), and preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Then, put the cauliflower florets through the food processor until they are finely ground, and almost resemble the raw chicken meat. (This is the secret to the meatballs!) Then, sauté onions, mushrooms, garlic, and red pepper until softened, and add to the cauliflower. Add the rest of your veggies, spices, and ground chicken, and mix everything together until well combined. Finally, line your muffin tins with spinach leaves to prevent the meatloaves from sticking, and scoop mixture into spinach cups so that they overflow slightly out of the  tins, as shown. (If you are sprinkling those extra spices on top, now would be the time to do so!) If you are making meatballs instead of mini-loaves, simply form them into small balls instead of putting them in a muffin tin, and put them on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. (You could try the spinach-leaf trick, but I can't vouch for its success, as I've never tried it). Bake the mini loaves for about 20 minutes, until fully cooked. I served mine over spaghetti squash with some homemade apple sauce on top

Feelin' Frisky? Try spreading a little tomato sauce on top of each loaf for an added "frosting"-- they are made in cupcake tins, right? Or, for a sweeter option, try spreading some sugar-apricot preserves on them!

Also, some of you have been asking for the nutrition information for the recipes, so here is the information, assuming you've made 14 mini-loaves.

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