The easiest weeknight dinner and you don’t have to chop an onion or mince garlic. Simple chicken meatballs and rice baked on the stovetop and topped with Mediterranean flavors like olive, parsley, spinach and feta.
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken (ground turkey would also be delicious)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (you could also use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or 1/3 cup Italian seasoned fine breadcrumbs)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or other neutral oil for frying the meatballs
For the Bake:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/3 cup white rice
- 2 1/3 cups water (sub in a splash of white wine if you’d like)
- A bay leaf
- A spoonful of dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, optional
- Sliced kalamata olives
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Red pepper flakes
- Lemon wedges
- Place all of the meatball ingredients (save for the olive oil we’ll fry the meatballs in) in a medium bowl and stir well to combine evenly. Roll the meatballs into about 12 meatballs and place on a tray or plate.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet with a tight fitting lid over medium. If you don’t have a nonstick skillet with a tight fitting lid, it’s no problem. Use a medium dutch oven with a lid or a 10-inch skillet with a lid – the lid is important to cook the rice. The nonstick is just easy to clean.
- Once the oil is heated in the skillet, fry the meatballs until browned on most sides (frying in batches if necessary) and placing cooked meatballs on a clean plate and set aside.
- After meatballs are cooked and set aside, melt butter in the same skillet. Add rice and stir around the pan until coated and just toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the bay leaf, dijon, salt, pepper, and frozen spinach. Stir in water (and that splash of wine if you’re using).
- Add the meatballs and any juices that may have accumulated on the plate. Cover the pan, reduce the heat, and allow the rice to cook for 20 minutes or until softened. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to steam with the lid on for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard before serving. Serve with any sort of easy toppings you have on hand. I like olives, feta, parsley and red pepper flakes. Leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for a few days.