Need a healthy, protein-packed dinner that you can make ahead and feed the kids and possibly some teammates after practice? Or are your kids picky eaters who won't go near a vegetable or complain when you give them anything but chicken nuggets and mac and cheese?
If you're looking for versatile make-ahead meals that can be frozen for later, cooked in the crockpot for tonight, or zapped in the microwave for an afterschool snack tomorrow, try these meatball recipes. You can double or triple the recipes easily to serve a crowd. It takes a bit of extra effort because you have to roll the meat into balls by hand; however, they're ready to cook or store way faster than it takes to bake a pre-fab frozen lasagna. Serve these meatballs the traditional way with pasta—what kid doesn't like pasta—or try the suggested meal variations that accompany each recipe.
Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Meatballs
- 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 chopped leek, light green and white parts only
- 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
- 9 shitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
- 2 cups spinach, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons poaching liquid
- 1/2 piece sliced whole wheat bread
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a food processor or blender, chop bread until it reaches the consistency of bread crumbs.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, poach chicken until cooked all the way through, about 15 to 20 minutes (depends on the size of the chicken). Remove chicken from pot and reserve about 3 tablespoons of the poaching liquid.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add leeks, garlic and mushrooms and saute until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool.
In a food processor or blender, add chicken and cooled vegetables. Chop until mixture resembles tiny bits of food. Place chicken and veggie mixture in a large bowl and add seasoning, herb, egg, poaching liquid and bread crumbs. Mix well with hands.
Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Roll meat mixture into bite-sized balls (aim to get them about the same size so they finish cooking at the same time) and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the outside.